It’s not the destination that matters, it’s the journey. Central Victoria has some amazing day trips and places that you may not have explored!
Here are some of the Jenny’s ELC Staff favourite day trips or fun experiences around Bendigo.
21km West of Inglewood (approx. 45 minutes drive from Maiden Gully) is the Melville Caves. An area famed by Captain Melville the Bushranger who used the large granite boulders as a hideout – it’s a great place to explore.
There are open fire places in which to cook up a BBQ with the family and for the older children a track (750m return) weaves it’s way through the boulder’s to the lookout and back again via the road (you can also cheat and drive to near the lookout). Exploring around the bush, beautiful views and a BBQ lunch – well worth a drive!
Located approx 30 minutes drive south from Bendigo through Kangaroo Flat is the beautiful Castlemaine gardens. Gorgeous all year round, Autumn and Winter are great times to take a plastic bag and collect Autumn leaves for Art and Craft activities.
It’s an easy drive or for something different you can always catch the train – Children under the age of 5 are free on Vline and a 5 minute walk you are in the gardens. We would love to encourage looking for different road signs, different transport types and even take some photo’s ‘through your child’s eyes’ and let them use your iPad or Smart Phone.
How many local play grounds can you ‘tick off’ over the holidays? Did you know that there are over 100 playgrounds in Bendigo covering almost every suburb from Huntly in the North, Strathfieldsaye (or even Axedale to the east) and also some of the hidden gems around Bendigo Central. We are truly lucky in Bendigo to have so many child friendly spaces but at times (as is human nature) we tend to go back to the same parks that we are familiar with – we think a change is as good as a holiday, so maybe try a different park or playground each morning or afternoon or even one a weekend.
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Planning Road Trip Activities
Here are some ideas:
Free drawing with crayons and a blank sketch pad is a great place to start and many kids are happy with you just leaving them to it. For a more focused activity, take the time to think about a topic that connects or communicates with a current interest in your child’s life. For example, if your child is particularly interested in insects, build connections between insects and the environment you are travelling through, as well as your destination when you arrive. A local bird, insect, or marine life guide book will feature species unique to your area, and this can be an exciting discovery for kids.
If you are taking a trip to the city with a planned trip to the museum, building on conversations about dinosaurs or other extinct species will build anticipation. Talking about “what we know already, what we are yet to know, and what we can imagine” will encourage your child to think in the abstract while watching the world go by. This is a starting point for more conversation when you get to the museum!
Audio stories, word games, rhyming games and songs are all part of family road trip traditions for a reason. They can be modified for all age groups and with a bit of planning and some patience, parents can really enjoy them too! Kids CDs can be great and if you seek out a contemporary recording, they’re often very listenable for adults as well. Getting a little bit organised and learning a song before you go will make singing in the car much more enjoyable. If you’ve come unprepared, try rounds of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”. It’s a simple song, but once you get the harmony it sounds great, and it sets up a nice dynamic for the holiday.
Surprise activities work well when concentration is waning. If your child loves pink ponies or slime monsters, but you don’t usually buy this kind of thing, a holiday colouring or sticker book can bring loads of joy. Alternatively, have a little break from these things prior to the holiday to make them feel special again.
When you’ve thoroughly exhausted all your wonderfully balanced activities, let them be bored. It’s natural, it’s a part of life, and it teaches resilience, mindfulness and appreciation!