City views, fairy lights and open air – ice skating at River Rink is a beautiful way to soak up Melbourne and embrace the winter chills by making your own heat on the ice.
When: 18 June – 17 July | Daily | 10am – 10pm
Where: the river side of Federation Square, MELBOURNE
Cost: Purchase in advance a family ticket (2 adults + 2 kids) $67.00 (or on the day $71), children 5 and under must be accompanied by an adult, Adult $22 (on day $24.50) more details here. Cost includes skate hire, helmets and entry onto the rink for 45 minutes, sessions start on the hour. Seals and penguins can be hired for $10.
Before our 45-minute skating session at River Rink we had breakfast at the nearby Riverland (down on the river – you can access via stairs, lift or ramp) and it was delicious – definitely worth building into your day if you want to start fueled!
Out on the ice kids aged 10 and under are required to wear helmets (we already had ours as the kids were on their scooters) and children under 5 need to be accompanied by an adult skater. To help new skaters there are penguins and seals available to hire.
Open-air skating is quite romantic given there are pretty lights and a beautiful city view to take in – and the cold winters morning helped create a frosty atmosphere! We came quite rugged up (given the day before had been the coldest day in 30 years) but found that by the end of our 45 minutes layers were shed. (Worth noting that in the morning the rink is in full shade).
The thing I love about the River Rink is that it’s quite small – so not really going to attract (or even allow for) speed skaters that you might find at a full sized rink – this is great if you’re not a super confident skater as it allows for space and time to just puddle along without feeling too anxious. Immi (10) and Charlie (8) have both been ice-skating a number of times – they can make their way around the ice unaided, but it doesn’t mean they don’t love getting their hands on a seal for support = confidence, a bit more speed and less fear of falling = fun.
Our Saturday morning session was bustling but certainly not crowded – 45 minutes gave plenty of time for non-stop skating, and by the time we finished the kids were ready for a snack… there are plenty of food options in the form of Pop Ups – we couldn’t go past our favourite Munich Brauhaus for a giant pretzel and kids sausage.
I guess the only downside of being outdoors is that it can be a little weather dependent – skating does continue in the rain (and is only cancelled if the conditions are unsafe) so do take that into consideration when booking ahead.
Disclosure: we were invited to experience Riverland, River Rink and snacks from Munich Brauhaus as guests of the Yarra River Melbourne. All views are my own.