#2 Polly Woodside Built in 1885 in Belfast, Northern Ireland by Workman Clark & Co, the Polly Woodside operated as a cargo vessel before being bought by the Australian National Trust in 1968 and painstakingly restored by volunteers. You can take a look around the gallery to find out how Polly was built and where she travelled, see navigation tools from other ships and learn about the history of Melbourne’s docklands. Children and adults can also sign up as crew members for an induction tour of the ship; see for scheduled dates. #3 Edgars Mission Just over an hour away fromMelbourne is Edgars Mission ( set on 153 acres. It’s a not-for-profit sanctuary for rescued farmed animals. The mission seeks to create a humane and just world for humans and non-humans alike. There are sheep, cows, donkeys and pigs plus a little shop and café – and you know you’re giving to a great cause. #4 Puffing Billy Departing from Belgrave in the Dandenong Ranges, Puffing Billy is a 100-year-old steam train that travels through picturesque countryside to the Emerald, Lakeside or Gembrook station ( If you’re feeling daring, sit on the window ledge and dangle your feet over the side of the carriage – just don’t look down as you go over the trestle bridge! You have to book tickets online, which does save time queuing – a particularly good thing if it’s a freezing or sweltering day (this area experiences both!) and you have children with you. Belgrave is accessible by train from Melbourne (70 minutes); or, if you have a car, it’s a one-hour drive east of Melbourne.

#5 Healesville Sanctuary Another good day trip to the Dandenongs is to Healesville Sanctuary (, home to many Australian animals including platypuses, dingoes, koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, kookaburras, bilbies and Tasmanian devils. If you prefer to stay in the city, Melbourne Zoo is a good day out and has many Australian animals. There’s also the Werribee Open Range Zoo, where you can go on safari and observe the animals as they roam freely in the grounds.

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