Melbourne Moomba water festival


There is a king and queen, rides, performers, birdmen and water skiing stunts – it’s loads of fun and it’s free to attend, the best three March days in Melbourne!

When: 7 – 10 March 2014, Kids Zone Activities run 11am – 5.30pm (but Moomba activities continue until each day closes with the 9.30pm fireworks)

Where: Yarra River Banks – Alexandra Gardens and Birrarung Marr, from St Kilda Rd to Swan St Bridge

Cost: FREE (except for carnival rides and food)


A few years ago, as a bit of an after thought, I took Immi along to watch the Moomba Parade.  It was actually much more fun than I had anticipated – some of the floats were really well done and the marching bands sounded fantastic.. one float did break down and cause a hold up for 15 minutes (which was kind of a bummer, and since no one knew what was going on it was a bit confusing – especially to Immi who was 5 at the time).  But despite the hitch we really enjoyed the parade and decided to wander down into Alexandra Gardens afterwards to have a “quick” look around….

I hadn’t been to Moomba since I was a kid.. I reckon I was about 13 or so the last time my parents took me; maybe we grew out of it or were always away that weekend.. but I can recall it being quite a dodgy carni kind of experience.  So I was absolutely delighted to find that my expectations were completely eclipsed back in 2011 when we ventured down – Moomba these days is a fantastic event for both young and older families and it feels safe, professional and well planned.  We’ve been back every year since, and the awesome thing about it being in the city and FREE – we can hop on a tram (or ride bikes part of the way) and go back again and again.

There are marquees with under cover activities set up for toddlers as well as school aged kids, there is a dedicated stage for the kids with a constant stream of performers – in short it is really well done.  Over on the river was the water skiing and other water sports (make sure you check the event time table if you are keen to catch some competition, as it is only on at certain times).

On the other side of the river along Birrarung Marr there are loads of fun rides and ArtPlay host activities too.  We went back in 2012 and 2013 and it’s now a calendar highlight of the year.  In fact last year we went a few times – sometimes by public transport and once we parked our car near the Bot Gardens and the kids rode their bikes from there.  Being free it was nice to just come and go – check out the water skiing, come back later for fireworks, do the parade and have a few rides – you get the drift.

In short don’t miss:

  • Kids events and activities on Saturday – Monday
  • The Moomba Parade Monday 10 March, 11am, along St Kilda Rd
  • The fireworks, Sat – Mon at 9.30pm
  • The Birdman Rally, Sunday 10 March, 12 noon, on the river
  • The waterski competition and more, various times daily
  • Scooter, BMX & Skateboard clinics at the skate park, daily from 11am – 3pm, FREE. Register with one of the YMCA staff.  All equipment is provided.

View some footage we took at the 2011 Moomba Parade

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