Begin in Belgrave
Adventure begins at the end of the (train) line – celebrate the advent of spring with a trip to the Belgrave Food garden for the Belgrave Food Garden Connect & Grow Spring Picnic, a family-friendly event on Saturday, September 17th. Enjoy live music, craft activities and a sausage sizzle, or pop into a nearby eatery to pick up a picnic. Book in for a Kokedama workshop – some tickets may be available on the day.
If you aren’t yet familiar with the garden, it’s conveniently located right next door to Belgrave icon Cameo Cinema, who are hosting the Lantern & Light International Children’s Film Festival the very same day – a festival of films made by young people aged 6-18. Buy a ticket at https://www.cameocinemas.com.au/events/lantern-and-light-international-childrens-film-festival-2022 and support the next generation of filmmakers
Afterwards, keep the festival atmosphere going with dinner at Babaji’s Kerala Kitchen – and while you’re there, see if you can nab a spot in one of their school holiday classes.
Puffing Billy Holiday Fun
It’s just a quick hop from Babaji’s to Puffing Billy Belgrave Station, where you can jump on board and explore all the way to Emerald Lakeside and Gembrook. From Monday 26 September to Sunday 2 October, passengers travelling to Lakeside Station will discover a free spring-themed arts and crafts activity zone at the Lakeside Visitor Centre for little ones to enjoy. Visitors can also stop in at the Centre’s free Lakeside Hall Museum, home to a collection of steam artifact displays, including Puffing Billy Railway’s first ever locomotive, 3A, or see the ‘Animal Tales’ photographic exhibition, currently on show from award-winning artist Karen Alsop.
Train services available during the school holidays:
Monday – Friday
10.00 am Belgrave to Lakeside return
11.15 am Belgrave to Lakeside return
2.15 pm Belgrave to Lakeside return
Saturday – Sunday
10.00 am Belgrave to Lakeside return
11.15 am Belgrave to Gembrook return*
12.20 pm Lakeside to Gembrook return*
12.45 pm Belgrave to Lakeside return
*Leg dangling is not permitted from the Lakeside to Gembrook section of the railway line.
Passengers aged 2 – 15 and travelling on Friday 23 September are encouraged to wear their favourite footy colours to celebrate the AFL Grand Final and redeem a special prize from the Lakeside Visitor Centre gift shop.
While you’re lapping up the lakeside views, take advantage of the various outdoor activities available in Emerald Lake Park, including hiring a COG Bikes Australia bike and riding through the Eastern Dandenong Ranges Trail, paddleboat play on Lake Treganowan, a visit to the Emerald Lake Model Railway & Miniature World for a look at one of the largest model railways in Australia, or taking to one of seven walking tracks through the lush green foliage of the precinct, with plenty of picnic spots along the way.
The Tesselaar Tulip Festival runs over four weeks from September 10 – October 9, with themed weeks and weekends. Festival highlights include live entertainment daily, children’s activities and delicious food from around the world.
Dutch Weekend – September 16-18
The Tulip Festival’s Dutch weekend sees the festival transformed into a mini-Holland. The Festival will recreate a performance of the famous Alkmaar Cheese Market in Amsterdam with cheese carriers as well as Dutch Clog Dancing displays visitors can join in on. There will be Sjoekbak (Dutch shuffleboard) competitions, and delicious Dutch treats including Oliebollen (Dutch dumplings), Bitterballen, Croquettes, Poffertjes and Tesselaar’s very own Double Dutch ice-cream.
Tesselaar Tulip Festival is open daily from 10am – 5pm at the Tesselaar Flower Farm, 357 Monbulk Road, Silvan, Victoria, 03 9737 7722.
Children 16 and under are free to ensure the Festival is accessible for all to enjoy, especially during the September school holidays, with Children’s Weeks running September 19-22 and September 26-29. Visit the website for daily updates, ticketing information and full program of events at www.tulipfestival.com.au
Blue Hills Blossom Festival
Join Blue Hills Berries and Cherries for their first ever Cherry Blossom Show taking place this spring from 20 September – 2 October. Cherry blossom only lasts a short time, so make sure you don’t miss this stunning show of flowers. The Blue Hills Cherry Blossom Show will have a magical fairy theme – perfect for kids. There will be a roaming blossom fairy, music and face painting for the kids – a gold coin donation is required for face painting. Discover the new fairy garden and even dress up as a fairy or elf for beautiful blossom photos. Flower crowns and fairy wings will be available to purchase on the day. Don’t forget your camera for some beautiful Instagram-worthy photos.
Prebooking your tickets online is essential – reserve yours at https://www.upickberries.com.au/products/cherry-blossom-melbourne/
Adult $10 Children 5 years – 14 years $6.00. Children under 5 years – Free
Enjoy the Arts
Burrinja has a range of theatre performances, exhibitions and workshops for everyone – for a family-friendly day of culture, try Escape from Trash Mountain, a puppet-making workshop or Whalebone on for size. Tickets and details for all of Burrinja’s offerings are available at https://www.burrinja.org.au/
Sassafras Art Walk, Onsite workshops and meet the makers.
On September 24th, enjoy a community walk and gathering along the recently opened section of Ridgewalk joining Olinda and Sassafras villages. The first temporary artworks are in place, so come and see the sculptures, Tawny Frogmouth by Renate Crow and Pathmarker Birds by Peter Mcilwain. Meet the makers, chat about the process of making, meet other people in your community, enjoy the forest and artworks and join in on these activities.
Peter will run an activity with path marker templates so you can make your own designs and record it with a photo. Renate will be running a weaving activity where you can learn to make string from plant fibres, you are then invited to contribute to the sculpture by weaving your piece into the tawny frogmouth’s outer feathering, before it flies away on 10th October to Redhill to be part of the Montalto Sculpture exhibition.
Details and booking by donation at Eventbrite – https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/sassafras-art-walk-onsite-workshops-and-meet-the-makers-tickets-420361461447
Cheap and Cheerful
We’re spoiled for choice when it comes to bushwalking opportunities, but if you want to uncover a new dimension to a familiar walk, explore Parks Victoria’s Junior Rangers activities – limited spots are left in the Rainforest Secrets September 29th session – Rainforests are one of the most ancient ecosystems on earth. Join in to discover why rainforests are so special and what connects them to the dinosaurs. https://juniorrangers.com.au/event/rainforest-secrets-dandenong-ranges-national-park-15/
Eastern Regional Libraries have a plethora of free and low cost activities all year round, but school holidays are where they really shine when it comes to fun activities for the kids. View and download the complete holiday guide at https://www.yourlibrary.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/Holiday-Program-SPRING22-updates.pdf
Yarra Ranges Council also have a dedicated School Holiday events guide. Stay up to date with the latest news for families and children 0-12 by liking and following them on Facebook at Yarra Ranges Families. After all that If you’re still looking for things to do, it’s worth checking in with your local Community House – many run programs and workshops over the holidays.
The Victorian September School Holidays run from Saturday, September 17th to Sunday, October 2nd (dates may differ depending on your school).