Introduction: Mystery Expedition - a Fun Day's Outing

Here’s a fun outing idea for any age group, but especially with kids during school holidays. It’s cheap and lots of fun. It would probably work best in a mid-sized city with a reasonable transport system, where you can buy a daily ticket to use on all the transport in the city (here in Melbourne, we can buy a pass for train, bus and tram, for 1-3 zones).

Step 1: What You Need

Here's all you need:
  • A willing adult or 2 with a sense of fun
  • 2 or 3 children
  • Daily tickets for your transport system, to cover most or all of your city
  • Drinks, snacks etc; picnic lunch if you like (everyone can take a backpack)
  • Extra spending money if needed (but you may not need to spend anything after your tickets).
  • Hats, coats, sunscreen etc…
  • A basic first-aid kit is a good idea
  • A map of your transport system/street directory or digital map is handy so you can get home again. Take a compass if you like
  • A camera or phone camera is also fun to take

Step 2: What to Do

Decide on a start/finish point- somewhere with good transport. We live way out of the city so we drive to a train station a bit closer in (with more frequent trains).

Decide on a “Choosing order”- who’s going to be first “chooser”, then 2nd, 3rd etc.

Catch the first train/bus etc that comes along. Then the fun starts.

The first “Chooser” gets to decide when you all get off the train/bus. It might be the next stop, or 3 stops, or the next town….
When you get off, it’s the turn of the next Chooser to decide what you’ll do next. It might be to walk to the next main road or the next bus stop, or to get on the next train…

The next Chooser might decide that you’re all going to get the next bus going south (or left/right), or the next one you see….
Then the next Chooser will decide when to get off….

Continue taking turns to choose what to do, all day.  Stop for snacks, lunch etc. when you feel like it, and at some stage you need to decide it’s time to head back to your transport home (you may want to start your final leg before rush hour).

You’ll find you’re discovering parts of your city that you didn’t even know existed. Remember to take photos as you go! If you want, you can take a notepad and write down where you go- it’s fun to read through afterwards and even look up on a map.

The only “rules” for the expedition are that you take turns, you respect each other’s choices, and that you don’t decide in advance where you’re going to (until you need to go home).

It’s best to go on a week day when there’s more public transport running frequently.

If you can swing it that you go on a day when your kids’ school has a “pupil-free” day, it’s even more fun- there’s something wonderful for a child about going past other schools and realising that all the other kids are working at school while you’re roaming around fancy-free on an Adventure!)

We’ve done this with our kids when they were young, just with family and with friends as well, and everyone’s loved it each time. It’s been good to have photos to look back on, years later. Can’t wait to do it with the grandkids when they’re old enough!