Harbour Town is one of the newest areas of Melbourne and is located 2km from the Central Business District. Harbour Town is part of the ongoing evolution of the former Docklands area of Melbourne. Harbour Town Melbourne is now home to apartments, a shopping centre, Costco Docklands, bars and brilliant restaurants. Docklands restaurants are very popular for dining. For the whole family, there is the amazing Melbourne Star and the O’Brien Group Arena where we were headed for an Ice skating Melbourne Docklands experience!
Obrien Arena By Icecatdriver – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19844457
The O’Brien Group Arena opened in 2010. It was formerly known as Melbourne ice house The Arena is home to two Olympic-size ice rinks. One of the rinks has stadium seating and is enclosed for activities such as Ice Hockey. The Stadium, after all, is home to the Australian Ice Hockey Team and the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia
. The day we attended the Arena there were men’s and woman’s ice hockey matches going on. We have not really seen this sport before so as we walked in we all took some time to watch for a little bit but after what seemed like seconds, the girls were well passed waiting to get on the ice themselves. Our ice skating Melbourne Docklands adventure was about to begin!
Marley ice skating in Melbourne
The second rink and the reason we went to the O’Brien Arena was for Ice Skating. Called the Bradbury Rink (after an Australian Olympic speed skater called Steven Bradbury
who won gold at Salt Lake City. All the competitors crashed out in front of him leaving him the last skater standing)
Ice skating Melbourne Docklands was loads of fun
Willow and Marley could not wipe the smile off their faces when we announced that we were going Ice Skating. The girls had been asking for such a long time to go. You see Ice Skating just does not happen in Australia. It is not cold enough for any lakes to freeze, so we would need to make a 2 hour trip in the car to reach the O’Brien Arena
. The girls have never done any kind of skating before, even on our overseas adventures, so we got our skates and hired some skating aids to help.
Docklands ice skating fun
With squeals of delight and some ‘oh my goodness, it’s cold in here’ (I am not sure what they were expecting at all) we headed over to put on our skates. At this stage, Bec and I debated who was heading out on the ice with the girls, but finally, the decision was made that Bec would be the lucky one. The rationale was that I work more so we could not afford for me to break a bone if the worst would happen! Even though there were lockers available to store our belongings in we both thought it would be a better idea to have one parent on the sidelines to rescue a child or the other adult if need be. As we were watching people slip and slide all over the place the natural instinct that Bec would do the same worried her.
Even parents enjoy Indoor Ice skating Melbourne docklands
For someone who did not want to skate, Bec looks pretty happy!
The rink was pretty full at this stage, there were plenty of adults and kids alike really enjoying themselves. There were plenty of people in groups, families together and also plenty of people who knew exactly what they were doing! Disco lights were on and the latest hits were pumping through the sound system as the girls slowly crept onto the ice. The girls both had metal frames for helping them stand up. These were a fantastic aid especially for people who had not skated before or had very little experience. It gave you some sense of balance and some confidence to go out and have a try! Willow managed to make her way around the outside of the arena while Marley seemed to drift out into the middle. Marley looked lost turning in circles. This is when Bec entered the fray on the ice at O’Brien. There were a few dicey moments for Bec but like a duck, to water, my wife took to the ice with not quite the grace of Katarina Witt
. Using the metal frame that sort of looked like a walking frame she headed out to try and save Marley from the middle of the arena where all the experts seemed to be heading!
Marley with one of the available skating aids you can hire at O’Brien Arena
Ice Skating was a great family travel activity for us
Once pointed in the right direction and guided back out to the side of the arena Marley was much more confident. Willow, on the other hand, was zipping around and had already completed a lap while Bec was struggling to get Marley to go in a straight line! Thank goodness everyone there was understanding of the complete lack of control Bec seemed to have over her and Marley’s direction! There were only tears once when Marley hit the ice hard and hurt her arm which we think she actually did on the side of the rink on her way down trying to catch herself before she fell. We were also really happy that helmets were supplied at the Arena and we had asked both the girls to wear one just in case. So tender hugs from Dad and some encouragement and she was quickly back out on the ice. As Marley got more confidence out on the ice we hired the girls a ‘seal’ This was another skating aid that both the girls loved. Marley could sit on the seal and Willow would push her around. Watching them laugh and just have a heap of fun together was great for both Bec and I. After 2.5 hours it was not the kids who did not want to leave it was Bec! She was right into the ice skating and enjoying the experience. The worries Bec had had when we first arrived had very much gone out the window once she had become a little more confident!
The Wyld Family Travel ladies having a well-deserved rest
All in all, ice skating Melbourne docklands at O’Brien Arena
is a great way to spend an afternoon in Melbourne trying your hand at ice skating. The Arena has a cafe that serves food and beers. Ice skates, skating aids such as the metal frames and sit down plastic seals for small kids are available to hire. You can hire lockers at the arena to store you personal belonging while you are on the ice. Wyld Family Travel
recommends a visit to O’Brien Arena when visiting Melbourne
5 Family Tips to having a great day at O’Brien Arena!
1. Take some extra socks! I had completely forgotten to take socks and ended up having to borrow Mark’s! Then after I had finished skating for two hours he definitely did not want them back!
2. Dress in appropriate warm clothing. I must admit I was surprised at the amount of people in skirts and short shorts who to me looked freezing! I was glad that both the girls had good clothing on and that I had a spare set of clothes in the car.
3. If you hire a seal or a metal frame look after it. Some people are not aware that you have hired them and will just come over and try to take them. Plenty of times we had to direct people over to the place where you get your skates to hire one. You also have to wear a helmet if you are using a metal frame. They are supplied and there are plenty of different sizes.
4. There are people skating around who will help you if you get into trouble. We found on the day we went that it wasn’t only the employees who were skating around that helped us it was also the skaters that knew what they were doing. It was really great to see them stop and help others who were not as confident!
5. If they are offering a free lesson try and take it! While we were there a call came over the loudspeaker that a free beginners lesson would be held. Both the girls went down the end to try and see how they went. It didn’t go for long but gave them some of the basics and had them trying out those moves for a good while after it!
We suggest you make a day of it and ride The Melbourne Star while you are at Melbourne Docklands.
Directions to O’Brien Arena Docklands Ice skating Melbourne
Catch the free city circle tram (from Flinders Street) or Tram 30 (via La Trobe Street) to the corner of Harbour Esplanade and La Trobe Street and walk along the promenade to Waterfront City to find Ice skating Melbourne Docklands at O’Brien arena.
Tram 48 (via Flinders Street) or Tram 86 (via Bourke Street) to the Waterfront City tram stop.
Take the train to Southern Cross Station (Previously Spencer Street Station) and walk over the Bourke Street Pedestrian
By Tim – Melbourne, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3865871
Bridge to Harbour Esplanade. Then follow the Promenade along to Waterfront City / Harbour Town.
Harbour Town is less than 2 minutes drive from City Link via the Docklands Drive exit.
MEL REF 2E D3 – Parking is available at:
– Waterfront City, Pearl River Rd, Waterfront Way (approx 2850 car parks)
– Limited public street parking is also available.
When staying in Melbourne we use Hotels Combined for all our accommodation needs, so should you!
Click the image for booking details
Disclaimer: The O’Brien Arena were nice enough to provide us with free entry and skate hire. Our views expressed here are our own and are no way influenced by free entry and skate hire we received