The Western Australian capital of Perth deserves a place on the family travel bucket list. It is filled with a great selection of child-friendly attractions, eateries and activities to help to keep the little ones entertained. From pristine beaches to the chance to get up close with nature; fun-filled and educational activities to traipsing around the great outdoors, Perth certainly has every member of the family covered.
Below, we share some of the best things you can do to make your Perth jaunt a trip to remember.
1. Take a stroll at Elizabeth Quay
Soak up the sunshine with your tots by wandering along Elizabeth Quay, a picturesque waterfront precinct located on the banks of the Swan River. Take a ride on the whimsical carousel or get a family photo at the Elizabeth Quay Bridge – a suspension bridge that’s an iconic feature of the area. The kids will especially love the free water park, which boasts lighting effects and choreographed water jets, and the nature-inspired playground that includes a sand pit, a slide, log steppers and climbing ropes. Take some time to admire the public art installations dotted around the area, then wind down with a meal and a tipple at one of the many alfresco restaurants.
2. Discover your inner scientist at Scitech
From interactive galleries covering themes such as the earth, nature and sustainability to science performances, puppet shows, a planetarium and a hands-on science lab, Scitech fuels the curiosity of both kids and adults alike. Its permanent exhibition boasts more than 40 engaging and interactive exhibits, ranging from a plasma ball to whispering dishes that amplify sound waves.
3. Go sandboarding in Lancelin
Just an hour and a half away from Perth by car, Lancelin is a favourite among water-sports lovers for the wave and wind conditions, pristine beaches, abundance of marine life and sheltered fishing spots. The charming fishing town also boasts towering snow-white sand dunes that are some three-storeys high. Entry to the dunes is free, but do reserve a sandboard before you go (note: surfboards won’t do) and bring along a pair of shades. Take your pick from smaller and gentler dunes to larger and steeper ones, decide whether you wish to sit or stand, then proceed to enjoy the ride of your life!
4. Have a blast at Hillarys Aqua Park
Bounce, swim, slip and slide – you can expect all this and more at Hillarys Aqua Park. The inflatable obstacle course can be found floating in a sheltered marina within Hillary’s Boat Harbour, located some 30 minutes away from Perth by car. Suitable for children ages six and up who can swim. The kiddos will be suitably exhausted from the various stations, which include climbing walls, monkey bars, slides and a rodeo splash.
5. Snap a photo with a quokka at Rottnest Island
A protected nature reserve just 19km off the coast of Perth, Rottnest Island is home to a population of tiny wallaby-like marsupials called quokkas. Besides a selfie with the adorable smiling critter – deemed the world’s happiest animal – a snorkel in the crystal-clear blue waters is a must, and you’d be hard-pressed to finish exploring the 60-odd beaches on the island. Join a four-hour electric bike tour as an entire family or embark on various free guided walking tours. Note, however, that it’s illegal to touch or feed the quokkas, so do keep a respectful distance.
6. Head out to the countryside of Avon Valley
With rolling green hills and picturesque landscapes, Avon Valley is a peaceful hour-long drive from Perth and is a lovely destination for a day trip. Seven towns make up the whole region – which is Western Australia’s first inland settlement – and each has its own intriguing story to tell, as well as fun-filled activities for the whole family. Take to the skies in a hot air balloon, go white-water rafting in the winter, or explore the terrain on horseback. For a more laid-back experience, you can sup on locally produced food and wine and spend afternoons at restored historic buildings, browsing curio shops or picnicking beside the Avon River.
7. Explore the port city of Fremantle
This charming waterfront precinct is known for its maritime history and has loads to entertain the kids. The Esplanade Youth Plaza has a playground as well as spaces for bike-riding and skateboarding, and you can follow that up with a ride on the Tourist Wheel. A visit to the Fremantle Prison – a World Heritage Site that used to serve as a maximum-security prison from 1887 to 1991 – is also not to be missed. Sign up for tours where you can explore prison cellblocks, cottages and prisoner-built tunnels and view artefacts as well as actual footage of prison life. Be sure to also make a pit stop at the Fremantle Markets, a buzzing affair where you can sample local delights, admire street performers, buy Indigenous crafts and chill out in a hammock.
Please check the establishments’ respective websites for opening hours as well as booking and seating requirements before visiting, and remember to adhere to safe-distancing measures while out and about.
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This article was originally published in November 2020.