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How To Become A Tourist In Your Own Town

Written by Cerise Canon

As a child, visiting the city was such an exciting experience. Exploring all that my bustling hometown of Melbourne had to offer brought joy and rich memories that have stayed with me.

Today, heading to the city with my little family brings back a flood of memories. As I wander through the arts precinct in Southbank, I reminisce about the countless shows I saw with Mum, and think back to the nervous glee I felt as a little dancer performing at the Arts Centre. As I walk along Swanston street and slip into a laneway, I think about the hours I spent hanging out at the State Library with my sister and friends. Strolling along Bourke street and seeing the beautiful architecture above the street line, reminds me of running excitedly to the Hill of Content Bookshop to trawl the books and find a new read.

All cities have something special to offer and provide opportunities for families to create lifelong memories. You need not travel far to build family traditions and memories; sometimes, exploring your own backyard (city) is as far as you need to go.

Just like finding out how to plan what to do at a holiday destination, exploring your home town offers the same hidden gems for you to discover.

Explore Inner City Parks
toddler walking in park

Chasing a nature experience doesn't necessarily mean driving long distances to a secluded beach or bush. Some inner cities provide the tranquillity and natural experience you seek nestled in the heart of the town. Learn about different plant species in your local botanic gardens, go bird spotting at a nearby creek, or have a picnic next to a waterway.

Head To The Arts Precinct

Many cities have a thriving local art scene, and Australia has an abundance of incredible culture and arts hubs. In Victoria, if you visit Bendigo city you will discover museums, libraries, and galleries, including Australia's oldest and largest regional art gallery. Take time to discover Fremantle in Western Australia which has countless artist studios, street art and galleries to explore. A trip to Hobart Tasmania is a must as it is home to the world-renowned MONA and has many smaller galleries plotted around Hobart, and across the whole state.

Taste The Flavours Of The City's Cuisines

Melbourne is known for its coffee and the Bellarine has a taste trail showcasing the region's finest growers and makers – from cheeses, bakeries to fresh catch seafood. Almost every town across Australia has the go-to destination for a delightful variation of the traditional hot pie. Find the best eatery in the city and join the queue for a taste of your town.

Enjoy the Beauty Of The Local Architecture

Some cities offer walking architecture tours, while others have historical buildings open for the public to explore. Take photos, feel the materials with your hand and imagine the people who lived or visited there many years before you. If you are looking for a spooky time, some buildings have late-night ghost tours with stories of the past and why the buildings are haunted.

Take In The CIty Views From Above

Head to the highest building, hillside or lookout in the area and take in the views of your beautiful city. In Castlemaine, a small, culturally rich city in Victoria, there is a great lookout at the Burke & Wills Memorial. Canberra offers several lookouts of the city, including Black Mountain and Mount Ainslie. If you want to aim even higher, some cities have ferris wheels overlooking the town or sightseeing helicopter rides.

toddler looking out window
Visit The Library

Libraries are unique to the city they belong to and exceptional each in their own way. Local libraries provide a variety of books, information and activities specific to the local area, which helps readers learn more about local history and develop even more of an appreciation for the city.

Venture Out To Local Festivals

You will be surprised at what festivals your local city may host and find they are enjoyable for the whole family. Whether it's an arts festival, laneway festival, music festival, food festival, family festival, ride and play festival, flower festival or writing festival, there is sure to be something to fulfil everyone's interests.

Experience Your Local Markets

Your local market isn't just where you get fresh fruit and veggies; some local markets have an array of offerings for your family to take your pick of. Try a new cuisine, buy some local memorabilia, get a caricature family portrait or purchase a local artist's work to display in your home. You never know what treasure you will discover.

Listen To Live Music

With many talented musicians across Australia, venues often have live music playing, creating an enjoyable atmosphere for all. Prahran Market in Melbourne has live music on the weekends where children dance on the makeshift dance floor. Local cafes have afternoon acoustic sessions and many music festivals have family areas where children can experience live music in a family-friendly environment. Having children in tow does not mean you have to miss out on the live music experience.

Make A Night Of It

After a day of playing tourist and seeing all that your city has to offer, settle in for a night at a local hotel. Put on your pyjamas, order room service or local takeaway, watch a movie or play a board game for some extra bonding time.

Support Local

Staying in your city and supporting locals is a great way to help the community while also building wonderful family memories.

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