2016 Tesselaar Tulip Festival - Review

Kate and her little ones were on the road again this week - this time at the Tesselaar Tulip Festival in the beautiful Dandenong Ranges for Childrens Days. They truly lucked out with the weather and the tulips look amazing - they remind me of the fields of tulips at Monet's Garden in Giverny. Only this time in beautiful Victoria - how lucky are we! Thank you Kate for the beautiful review and pics and for the Tesselaar Tulip Festival for having us. x Catherine
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There’s nothing quite like seeing Spring flowers blooming after a cold, wet winter.  Set on 25 acres in the magical Dandenong ranges, visitors to the 63rd Tesselaar Tulip Festival can wander the gardens and enjoy a spectacular display of over 800,000 flowering tulips, showcasing 120 different varieties.  

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For those who have been following my Busy City Kids reviews for a while, you would know that my little ones absolutely love Melbourne children’s musical entertainers The MikMaks. So it will be no surprise to you that when I heard that they would be performing on stage every one of the Children’s Days at Tesselaar Tulip Festival, I was as happy as Drums the Panda playing a drum solo!

Perfectly coinciding with the Victorian school holidays, Children’s Days at Tesselaar Tulip Festival offer free entry for all children plus extra kid-friendly activities including craft activities, petting zoos (farm animals and reptile), face painting, a gnome hunt, fairy storytelling and a host of children’s entertainers.  

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We arrived as the gates were opening and headed straight to the Holland Stage to see The MikMaks first of four performances for the day (we managed to see two of them!). From the moment they hit the stage, the poppets- along with their cousin Miss Ruby - were up on their feet, shaking their hips, clapping their hands and waving energetically to their hero, Panda. Throughout the day this stage also hosted a reptile show by locals Black Snake Productions as well as crowd favourites Ben and Holly (Hoot and Hootabelle will replace Ben and Holly next week).

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After moving and shaking to The MikMaks we wandered through the market stalls, Dutch games, formal show gardens and past replica Dutch windmills adjacent to the Holland Stage before making our way over to the Animals On The Move petting zoo.  Ruby and Macy enjoyed cuddles with the cute bunny rabbits while Arlo loved watching the cheeky piglets run around nearly tripping people over!

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Next stop, down the hill to Tulip Station where we jumped into a carriage behind a shiny red tractor for a ride around the colourful fields. Of course this was a particular highlight for Master Arlo who loved not only going for a ride but also watching the tractor go past whilst he was in the fields. “Again, again Mumma”!

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By the time we finished our tractor ride it was almost midday, which meant The MikMaks were about to start their second performance.  We headed back up the hill (Mumma sure had worked her gluteus by the end of the day pushing the double pram!) and found a spot in front of the stage to have our picnic lunch and dance along to all our favourite songs. 

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Ruby and Macy (who were pretty much inseparable the entire day!) were in the centre of the ‘mosh pit’ for most of the performance but it didn't take long for my little explorer to notice the elves and gnomes in the nearby Fairy Hollow. I followed Arlo through the garden under the big trees as he spotted a colourful rainbow, magical wishing well, clay toadstools and other enchanted creatures.

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With full tummies and a quick photo opportunity with The MikMaks it was time to visit the undeniable stars of the show, the tulips! On our way down we passed food stalls with many offering delicious Dutch treats, a clog shop, markets stalls with tulip souvenirs and buckets and buckets of fresh tulips for you to purchase to take home.  

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Despite the muddy conditions underfoot (thank goodness for our waterproof overalls!), the poppets absolutely loved running through the rows and rows of tulips. Even with two toddlers who kept dashing off in separate directions, there was something so peaceful and so serene about being surrounded by the flowers. Naturally the fields are full of people trying to capture the perfect photo against the stunning Dandenong Ranges backdrop.

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The Tesselaar Tulip Festival is an absolute magical place that is perfect to experience with your family.  Whether you just wander amongst the gardens and soak in the beauty of the grounds or if you want to enjoy the exciting activities, attractions and live music during Children’s Days, then I highly recommend you heading to Silvan.

 Our tips:

  • Don’t forget your camera!
  • No matter what the weather forecast, pack your wellies (adults + children!) and a change of clothes for the little ones. 
  • Pre purchase your tickets online to avoid the queues.
  • Arrive at 10am and visit attractions that will get busier throughout the day -  Animals On The Move petting zoo, face painting tent and tulip tractor ride.
  • Bring extra cash as some of the activities incur a small fee.
  • This event is pram friendly, however I wouldn't recommend taking your pram into the tulip fields, there is ample pram parking available around the grounds. The farm is on a bit of a slope, so be sure to hold on tight and use the break when parked!
  • There is a designated baby change and feeding area opposite the information centre.
  • Bring a picnic to enjoy in the gardens or in one of the many designated picnic areas. There is a large range of food options available on site, however with such a delicious selection you may encounter long queues. We found the stands we visited served people quickly and the wait times were minimal, despite the long line.
For more info on the Tesselaar Tulip Festival, head to their website

For more school holiday ideas, checkout our Melbourne list.

For more activities, checkout our blog or Melbourne Daily Spots.