Looking for some inspiration for where to take the kids this spring? We’ve got you covered with a list of our favourite attractions and activities within an hour of the boutique Hillstowe community.

Image Credit: Puffing Billy Railway Facebook

Explore the mountainside with Puffing Billy

Emerald Lake Rd, Emerald, VIC 3782 – 25 minutes from Hillstowe

Located just 30 minutes from Hillstowe, Puffing Billy is a historic attraction showcasing the beauty of the Dandenong Ranges from inside an authentic steam train. For more adventurous families you can even sit on the carriage sills and let your legs sway in the breeze as you chug through the scenic landscape. While you’re there be sure to visit the Lakeside Visitor centre, grab a bite at the Railway Café, and stroll through the Animal Tales Art Exhibition in between train rides.

To view the train timetables and book your tickets, head to the Puffing Billy website here.


Image Credit: Chesterfield Farm Facebook

Chesterfield Farm

1221 Ferntree Gully Road, Scoresby, VIC 3179 – 25 minutes from Hillstowe

Immerse yourself in the countryside and farm life at Chesterfield Farm. This historical spot is just a short drive from Hillstowe and is open 7 days a week as a tourist educational farm. Chesterfield has everything you need to keep the whole family happy. Get up close with farm animals, hop on a tractor or camel, and even purchase some locally made goods. Parents and kids can also learn how to milk a cow, hand-feed a range of animals, watch a farm show or two, and cuddle some cute chicks at the baby animal nursery. When you’re feeling peckish, head to the Farmhouse Café for a fresh meal or bring your own picnic lunch and relax amongst the beautiful scenery.

All tickets must be pre-purchased and can be found here.


Image Credit: @michellejarni from Enchanted Adventure Facebook

Enchanted Adventure: Arthurs Seat

55 Purves Road, Arthurs Seat, VIC 3936 – 60 minutes from Hillstowe

Enchanted Adventure located in Arthurs Seat is perfect for the whole family and is guaranteed to keep the kids engaged. Get your blood pumping on treetop adventures fit for explorers of all ages or stroll along the tranquil Canopy Walk. If you’d rather stay on the ground, Enchanted Adventure also has tube slides and multiple hedge mazes, giant puzzles, and breathtaking gardens. This is a great place to get the littles ones trying new things and learning important problem-solving skills in a fun environment. Make a day of it and stop in at a beach or two on your coastal drive to Enchanted Adventure.

Learn more and grab your tickets here!


Image Credit: Botanic Gardens Victoria Facebook

Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne

Ballarto Road and, Botanic Dr, Cranbourne VIC 3977 – 20 minutes from Hillstowe

Open daily from 9am-5pm and with free admission, marvel at the expansive flora on display at the Cranbourne Gardens. On your way in, pick up a free Seek and Find Nature Card to set the kids off on an expedition throughout the wonderous landscape and architecture. Once a sand mine, this award-winning garden has been transformed into a blissful escape worth exploring. With Hillstowe only 30 minutes away, you could spend the day looking for rare species and enjoying the beautiful florals or just drop in to satisfy your appetite at the Boon Wurrung Café or grab a souvenir at the Gardens Shop, both located within the Gardens.

Find out more about the Cranbourne Gardens here.


Image Credit: Phillip Island Nature Parks Facebook

Phillip Island Penguins

1019 Ventnor Rd, Summerlands VIC 3922 – 60 minutes from Hillstowe

Enjoy a scenic drive from Hillstowe to Phillip Island, home to the world’s largest Little Penguin colony. From the Phillip Island Nature Parks’ dedicated viewing platforms and boardwalks enjoy the Penguin Parade, where your family can witness a special part of nature and meet some new feathery friends. If you’re wanting a more immersive experience, ranger-guided tours are also available, giving visitors a chance to learn even more about these incredible creatures. Why not make it a weekend and explore more of Philip Island’s wide variety of beaches, eateries, and other wildlife experiences!

For more information on the Penguin Parade head to Philips Island Nature Parks’ website here.

Be sure to share with us where you’ll be heading for some spring family adventures by tagging Hillstowe in your posts or sharing this list with friends.