So school holidays are here and what better way to celebrate and spur you onto greatness, than with a list of “the top three family friendly things to do in Emerald and surrounds.” Let’s go.
Now, finding family friendly things to do is harder than you might think. The clue is in the wording. Family and friendly. So the whole family has to enjoy it. I can think of many things that leave me completely cold, but that my kids love doing. Hanging out at a public swimming pool and visiting a busy playground being two of them. I can also easily think of things that give me a thrill, that leave my kids feeling bored and restless. I present; attending art auctions and and lingering in antique shops. Been there, done that, it did not go well.
So I am well pleased with myself when I manage to find things that we can all do together, and all enjoy.
Here is my list of Top Three Family Friendly Activities in Emerald and Surrounds.
1. See Puffing Billy or be seen on Puffing Billy
So a lot of people love to step aboard the elegant old Puffing Billy for a day. They sit in her open window, legs dangling down the side, waving as she swishes along. She will tour you through the Dandenong Ranges and past some of the most gorgeous, luscious scenery as you go. Riding aboard Puffing Billy is great fun and the small ones will be smitten.
You probably won’t want to do climb aboard more than once a year though. But if you have already been on the train this year, this does not mean you need to wave her adieu. Try coming to Emerald, Gembrook or Belgrave for a day trip. Bring a picnic, or visit one of the great Cafe’s on offer. Take your kids to the local playground or explore a walking track. Then when the time is right, visit one of the Historic train stations and watch her swish by.
So my tip is, visit Emerald, park your car somewhere in the town. Grab a coffee & sandwich from The Emerald Bakery, tootle down to the playground with your children and let them have fun while you sip your coffee and get lulled into contemplation or conversation, by the gorgeous scenery. Then when you hear that iconic whistle, head down to the train track and watch the gorgeous Puffing Billy steam by.
From there you could take a walk through sweet Emerald Village, or take one of the sweeping tracks that follows alongside the train.
After you have gone for a brisk walk, you might like to stop by Elevation at Emerald, for a family friendly lunch or dinner, with more amazing views.
Day sorted. 🙂
2. Visit Emerald Lake Park.
Emerald Lake Park is such a beautiful, peaceful spot. I have written before about how it is one of my “happy places.” Luckily for me, my kids really like it too. The Lake sits right in the middle of the park and depending on the season, it will afford you the choice of walking, paddle boating, running, gazing, swimming, listening to jazz, fishing or meandering.
Puffing Billy also has a station here too and you can see her run through the edge of the park. If you are mad keen on trains then you might like to drop into the miniature railway museum. Otherwise there are a couple of different playgrounds to visit including one with outdoor gym equipment.
There are also walking tracks criss crossing their way throughout the park. If you are lucky you might lock eyes with a Kookaburra.
Take your camera, a picnic and a treasure box for collecting, and be there.
3.Now this is a special one for slightly older children. Ever dreamed of being an Astronaut? Well a visit to Mount Burnett Observatory might be the next best thing.
Nestled just outside of Emerald, in picturesque Mount Burnett, is the Southern Hemispheres only community run and owned observational telescope. Originally built in 1974 by Monash University for the use of their Physics department, the telescope was handed over the group of amateur astronomers in early 2011 to be opened to the public in 2012.
Once a month they run the Young Observers Program, but there is something happening at the Observatory every Friday night. Entry is free for members, but visitors are welcome if you book in advance. Visiting the Observatory is such a unique, exciting and educational experience, for young and old alike. Plus the volunteer members are friendly, their enthusiasm is contagious and they are willing to share their chocolate biscuits.
Now I was a little nervous about attending the Observatory for the first time. You could say I was scared that the massive black hole that is my knowledge of Astronomy, might be publicly outed. But, this did not happen. In fact they seemed to not mind that I am a dolt. At the least, they were not surprised. So give it a try, I think it was an amazing and unique experience and I had fun! I think that you will have fun too. Who wouldn’t be excited about the opportunity to take a sneak peek into space?
So I hope you and your whole family are able to find something fun, adventurous and interesting to do in Emerald and Surrounds.
Enjoy your holidays, and let me know how you go on your adventure.
Dani B xx