The end of winter brings warmer weather and that general sense of excitement amongst the smaller members of the family that can only mean one thing: the spring school holidays! They’re a super fun time to get out and about, and if you’re planning a visit to one of Australia’s major cities, here’s part one of our rundown on things to do that the kids will absolutely love.
Need a place to stay? Choice Hotels has fabulous, affordable and family-friendly accommodation options in each of these cities. Many properties offer family rooms or suites, or interconnecting room configurations.
1. See sea monsters at the Australian National Maritime Museum (fee applies)
The fabulous Australian National Maritime Museum in Darling Harbour runs a dedicated school holiday program, and in September, its much-anticipated Sea Monsters exhibition will open for the first time. Kids can also take part in art workshops, do scientific experiments, play dress-ups, and handle sea objects and artefacts from the Cabinet of Curiosities. They’ll also love the daily 3D film screenings.
2. Enjoy art for everyone at the Museum of Contemporary Art (free)
The Museum of Contemporary Art is always a great option for inspiring some school holiday creativity, but the Art is for Everyone Weekend on September 28 and 29 means the whole family can get arty together. Enjoy a packed programme of special events and free activities.
3. Play some beats at a School Holiday Music Camp (fee applies)
All Age Music is bringing back their hugely successful School Holiday Music Camp in September. Participants don’t need to have any musical experience. They’ll write songs, play instruments and perform their perfected pieces. The camp is suitable for kids aged from 5 to 12. Bookings are essential.
4. Learn to code at CodeSpace Camp (fee applies)
Do you have a future Steve Jobs or burgeoning Bill Gates in the family? CodeSpace Camps are designed to empower kids with the skills to blend technology and creativity, and will ensure that screen time is put to good use these school holidays.
1. Shimmy and shake at Baby Disco Dance Hall (fee applies)
September is Fringe Festival time in Melbourne, and the Wonderful Spiegeltent will once again set up shop in Federation Square. It’s hosting two shows with fabulous Monski Mouse and her dancers at the Baby Disco Dance Hall. This session of dance and play set to a soundtrack of retro classics and nursery rhymes is suitable for little ones up to 5 years of age. And yes parents, you can join in!
2. Cook up some fun at Kids Can Cook – It’s a Circus (free for kids)
Hand over the whisk to your kids these school holidays, while you relax with a Parisian-style afternoon tea (very civilised!). It’s all part of the school holiday fun at Little Collins Street Kitchen. It’s free for children to participate and they’ll learn about food decorating and much more.
3. Join the Art Party at NGV Teens (fee applies)
It can be tough to find a school holiday activity that will engage the teens, but the National Gallery of Victoria’s Art Party for NGV Teens is certainly an option. The event is happening on September 21 and offers an evening of arts immersion and after-hours access to the blockbuster exhibition: Terracotta Warriors.
1. Get a last look at deep space at the Queensland Museum (fee applies)
If the recent 50th anniversary of the first moon landing captured your kids’ imaginations, they are going to love NASA – A Human Adventure at the Queensland Museum. It’s the largest exhibition ever hosted at the museum and features a collection of more than 250 historically significant artefacts from the United States and Soviet Union space programs. The exhibition closes in October so these school holidays are your last chance to see it!
2. Catch a flick at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary (free)
As if hanging out with koalas wasn’t fun enough, on the first and third Fridays of the month Brisbane’s Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary hosts a free evening outdoor movie screening. BYO blanket and set up camp in the lawned amphitheatre. Dinner and snacks are available for purchase.
3. Light up little faces at the River of Light (free)
In September, the stunning River of Light laser and light show will once again illuminate the Brisbane River as part of the Brisbane Festival. This year’s Indigenous theme has been put together by Yuggera and Toorbal man Shannon Ruska. The show takes place at 6.15pm, 8pm and 9pm daily (except Mondays) and can be viewed from the Cultural Forecourt at South Bank.
1. Make a discovery at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (free)
The Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT) is always worth a visit, but The Discovery Centre makes it an extra awesome school holiday experience. The centre is open daily from 1.30 to 4pm and offers free arts and craft activities. The Explorer Challenge will take your pint-sized sleuths on a journey of discovery through various exhibits as they solve a set of cryptic clues.
2. Get wet at the Darwin Waterfront’s Splashfest (free)
With its wave pool and protected lagoon, the Darwin Waterfront Precinct is seriously popular during school holidays. On Sunday September 22, the precinct will host Splashfest – a morning of free entertainment and activities to promote water safety. Highlights will include an inflatable obstacle course, waterslides, face painting, stiltwalkers, and a kids’ DJ.
Book your stay at Quality Hotel Darwin Airport.
If you’re making a break for Perth, Adelaide, Hobart, Canberra, read Part 2 of our spring school holiday activities guide here.
About the writer
Emma Castle has been writing about travel, in one way or another, for over 15 years. After the birth of her son, she moved into a freelance role and now contributes to various publications. She is also baby and toddler editor at Holidays with Kids magazine and blogs at SheGoes.