RUN THE KIDS WILD IN WINTER SCHOOL HOLIDAYSby BETH GIBSON
Visiting the Great Ocean Road region during the Victorian school holidays (29 June to 14 July) is the best remedy for tired and testy kids who need a mid-year recharge.
No matter their age - get them out for a run on the beach, a hike in the forest, or fossick along a creek to clear the cobwebs.
It’s a win for grown-ups, too, as they benefit from spending time in nature away from the daily grind. Everyone will return home rejuvenated and ready to tackle the new term!
Make sure you pack your gumboots and raincoats and plenty of warm clothes so you can enjoy the outdoors in comfort.
And, if you need a break from any inclement weather, there are plenty of inside activities, too!
It’s really easy to visit the Great Ocean Road with the kids. Here are a few reasons why:
1. The start of the road is only 2 hours from Melbourne and 1 hour from Ballarat
Many people don’t realise that the most beautiful coastline, rainforest, waterways and volcanic lands are SO close to Victoria’s cities. When you’re wrangling small kids or grumpy teenagers, the less time in transit, the better. The only thing you really need to do is book where you want to sleep. As for the rest - just let it roll!
2. It’s easier to find accommodation
Winter has a steadier flow of visitors to the region, so it’s easier to book somewhere to stay, or at the last minute. Check out our accommodation listings, which include plenty of family-friendly options.
3. There’s hearty winter food in every town
There’s no need to pack too much food and drink for your road trip (which removes a lot of stress!). From the start of the road in Torquay, right through to the South Australian border, there are restaurants, cafes and bakeries that are stocked with hearty, winter warming food and great coffee – with something delicious for even the fussiest little family member.
Find out about our towns and villages here.
4. You have the beaches to yourself
Most beaches that are packed during summer are quiet during winter. Most times, you can have the whole beach to yourself! Rug up and run (try a cartwheel; nobody will be watching!) and yell out to the wild, crashing surf. Or, sit quietly and watch the water birds do their thing, or explore the rock pools. You’ll feel totally rejuvenated.
5. There’s an abundance of fine chocolate and ice cream
Sweet treats go hand-in-hand with school holidays and family time. Chocolate, confectionery, ice cream, milkshakes and other decadent sweets and deserts are serious business on the Great Ocean Road. Here’s a round-up of places to visit:
- Cheeseworld and Museum– Allansford
- Platypi Chocolate - Forrest
- Timboon Ice Creamery
- The Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie and Icecreamery - Bellbrae
- Gorge Chocolate - Cooriemungle
- Port Fairy Confectionery
- Sweet View - Apollo Bay
6. If you’re looking for a bit of adventure…
If the weather is looking good and you want to get outside for some adventure in nature (and see some wildlife, too!), there are options for kids of all ages:
- Live Wire Park, Lorne (adrenalin rush!)
- Lake Pertobe Adventure Playground– Warrnambool (with cafés and restaurants close by)
- Whale watching – (sign up for daily reports via our website!)
- Heywood Model Trains – Portland Visitor Information Centre
- Worn Gundidj @ Tower Hill Reserve (cultural tours and wildlife including koalas and emus)
Tip: If it’s raining, head to Jumpz Angelsea.
7. Our communities host local events
The Great Ocean Road region is jam packed with events ALL year round. But in the school holidays, the locals like to add some little extras.
For a full round up, click here, but here are a few other little one-off events you might incorporate into your planning:
July 2 & 9 at 11am. Bookings essential.
July 5 at 11am. Colac RSL.
Freakshakes and Fun, Suffoir Winery, Brewery and Cidery
Open Wed-Sat 11am-5pm & Sunday 2pm-5pm in school holidays.
- Be careful driving: the roads will still be busy in school holidays and some drivers do tend to stop suddenly to look at the view.
- Watch out for wildlife: koalas, kangaroos and other animals regularly cross the roads, so please stay alert.
- Read the signs: please always read the rules before visiting a beach or waterway. Water conditions and wildlife habits are always changing.
Tag us in your school holiday fun at #visitgreatoceanroad #iamwherestoriesunfold
More family fun...
Segway Geelong commenced its operation in August 2015 at Leura Park Estate Vineyard in Curlewis , 15 minutes from Geelong on the Portarlington rd.
Heywood Model Trains
The Heywood Model Trains display at the Portland Visitor Information Centre offers large H.O layout, and N Gauge, memorabilia and a small train layout for children to use and operate.
Cape Patton Lookout
Spectacular views of the Great Ocean Road coast can be viewed form Cape Patton
Mini Golf by the Sea
Try your luck at Mini Golf by the Sea, located adjacent to the spectacular foreshore and beside Warrnambool's famous Lake Pertobe Adventure Playground.
Cape Otway Lightstation
Cape Otway Lightstation is Australia's most important lighthouse. The light established in 1848 is perched on towering sea cliffs 90 metres above where Bass Straight and the Southern Ocean collide.
Merino Old Stock Route Walking Trail
Merino is set resting in the gentle rolling hills along the main Old Bullock Track north from Portland.