The ever-easygoing Mornington Peninsula is a great place to grow up, and never is that more evident than when school holidays roll around. This spring, the region’s school holiday programs are all about heading outdoors again to explore the natural world.

Take a walk on the wild side at The Briars

The Briars is one of the Peninsula’s true gems. The 230-acre property includes a National Trust-listed homestead and has a school holiday program that invites little ones to learn more about Australia’s native flora and fauna.

“Spring is the perfect time to re-energise in the outdoors and to enjoy the range of fun family activities at The Briars,” says visitor experience coordinator Joanne Fyfe.

“It’s time to emerge from the chill of winter and replenish as the days grow longer and the weather warms. Little critters, including the gorgeous Microbats, come out of their semi-hibernation... for food and breeding. It is the season when all of our animals are usually at their most active.”

Microbats – along with species the little forest bat – call the Briars home. These tiny bats have a body length of up to five centimetres and a wingspan of up to 15 centimetres.

“They are great visitors to invite to your garden as they help to pollinate plants, and their diet of insects helps to keep the creepy-crawly population down,” explains Joanne.

On September 25, children aged from six to 10 can learn more about them and build their own bat box to take home at the ‘Briars Bat Box Building’ workshop. This age group can participate in a junior rangers program on October 1, too.

On September 24 and October 3, there’s ‘Get Batty at the Briars’, where three to five year olds will look and listen for signs of wildlife waking up after winter and make their own bats to take home.

Many of the animals that reside at the property are nocturnal, so there are also some after-dark wildlife walks on September 25 and 30 where children can spot kangaroos, emus and sugar gliders. Daily events include scavenger hunts especially designed for spring. Families can grab a map from the visitor’s centre and puzzle over a series of clues. Teams with the fastest times go in the running to win a free night walk in the summer.

“The Briars is also the perfect place to sit and feel the warmth of the sun on your back,” Joanne adds. “The Homestead Gardens, Wildlife Sanctuary and general grounds all come to life with nature’s fresh growth and beautiful blooms.”

The Briars, 450A Nepean Highway, Mount Martha. For more information, visit mornpen.vic.gov.au/Activities/The-Briars

Family wellness at the hot springs

Take some time out to focus on your family’s wellbeing at Peninsula Hot Springs, where there are a number of relaxing and rejuvenating experiences that all ages can enjoy.

The venue’s regular Body Clay and Bathe workshop introduces visitors to the benefits of detoxifying clays that have been selected from all over Australia. Kids can have fun painting themselves and their families with clay, while they learn a thing or two about its advantages as well. Recommended for ages 12 and over.

On Friday evenings, the setting turns into a movie theatre, courtesy of Bathe in Cinema. Guests can soak in the warm mineral springs under the stars while a film plays on the big screen. Upcoming family-friendly screenings include Storm Boy (September 20), Paper Planes (September 27) and Oddball and the Penguins (October 4).

And on September 21 to 22, the springs is dedicating itself to World Wellness Weekend; an international event that will see wellbeing take the spotlight in places all over the world. In addition to their regular wellness program, there will be complimentary activities such as hot springs yoga, sound bathing using underwater speakers, a tea workshop, and live musical performances.

Peninsula Hot Springs, 140 Springs Ln, Fingal. For more information, visit peninsulahotsprings.com

Images courtesy of Peninsula Hot Springs & The Briars

image courtesy Peninsula Hot Springs

image courtesy Peninsula Hot Springs


image courtesy Peninsula Hot Springs

image courtesy The Briars

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