We recently visited Perth for a family holiday, and to catch up with old friends. While we were there, we managed to fit in a few great kid-friendly activities and I thought I’d share them with you! I’ve also listed some other great places/things to do that I know of from living in the WA capital some years ago.
What’s so great about Perth?
- The weather! Summer goes FOREVER in Perth so the weather is usually pretty spectacular. Having said that, sunscreen is a handbag essential.
- The beaches are incredibly beautiful
- The Swan River is perfect for picnics, kayaking, cycling or playground action
- Amazing wine regions close by, Margaret River (3.5 hours away) and Swan Valley (30 minutes from the city)
Where should I visit in Perth?
- Perth Zoo, South Perth (see if you can find the cage in the cave where there used to be a real bear!)
- Kings Park– This is a MUST VISIT location when you hit Perth. For us, we could’ve gone every day for a week and still found more spaces to enjoy.
- The Rio Tinto Naturescape Playground is amazing at Kings Park! And there are plenty of other playgrounds for kids to explore, enjoy and relax in. Plus, the grounds are just magnificent (and extensive!).
- Rottnest Island. Rottnest Island is very close to Perth and an easy day trip. You can stay for a weekend if you choose, or hire bikes and ride around the island, stopping for a swim as you go. It’s just beautiful! There are quite a few hills so not good cycling for young riders, but perfect for approx. ages 8 and up. Rottnest ferries take approximately 25 minutes from Fremantle, 45 minutes from Hillarys Boat Harbour, or 90 minutes from Perth’s Barrack Street Jetty.
- Mundaring Weir Hotel– This hotel is worth a visit to the Perth Hills. There’s often a roast and live music (check website for details and dates). There’s a children’s playground, table tennis and basketball rings.
- Perth to Fremantle Ferry– I would strongly recommend this ferry! It’s a duration of 1 hour 15 minutes, so it might depend on the ages of your children, but there’s SO much to see along the Swan River. The houses are just spectacular, and the river is wide and serene. (A little different to our Torrens!)
- Hillary’s Boat Harbour– this is a great spot for the kids. The harbour has a manmade swimming beach where the kids can avoid the waves of the Indian Ocean! The Aquarium is at Hillary’s too (AQWA), plus there’s icecream all year long and a carnival with sideshow during the Summer months.
- Cycle around the Swan- this is really fun but does require a certain level of fitness. You can cycle from the City to South Perth and back around (“bridge to bridge”), or perhaps up to Kings Park, which would be beautiful to ride through. The Kings Park ride also some decent hills to get to it, so not great for little legs. There are a few big hills in the 27 km ride from Perth to Fremantle, the one way ride would take about 2-3 hours and is really worth it if you have bigger kids who can cope! About Bike Hire have bikes available, plus some information on the rides that are most interesting and popular around Perth and beyond.
- Cottesloe Beach- a beautiful part of the world, the beach is lovely at any time of the year. Just beware of those big dumping waves that are unlike our South Australian metro beaches.
- Fremantle- Freo is a lovely place to visit. The train is the easiest way to get there, and there’s lots of shops and cafes once your arrive. Little Creatures is great for lunch, the Markets (open Fri/Sat/Sun), Maritime Museum and Fremantle Prison are also ones to visit.
- Scarborough- the new outdoor lap and leisure pools at Scarborough are spectacular! And the newly opened Nature Playground is extremely popular. Next to the playground there’s a climbing wall, basketball court and skate bowl. Please note that the playground is NOT fenced, the slide is high and fast, and the area is quite busy due to it’s recent opening. I didn’t get a chance to take any photos because I didn’t want to take my eyes of the kids! In other words, if you are a solo parent with multiple children then this is probably not the playground for you! Although I think the buzz will die down a bit soon. There isn’t much shade at the playground, but there is still lots of grass and shade under the amphitheatre. Scarborough is a lovely beach, with the area around it currently undergoing some serious infrastructure developments. Check out the review from buggybuddys for more info.
- Kalamunda- Zig Zag Cultural Centre (trains, picnic spaces, historical village)
- Mosman Park Bay lookout is spectacular and there’s a river by there for the kids to splash about in with a little cafe
- Scitech– this science centre is full of interactive science displays and activities for a range of ages
- And if you’re heading south of Perth, then pop into Mandurah to experience some nice play spaces along the canal or Busselton to ride the Jetty Train (the kids LOVED this!) or play in the playground along the foreshore, or there’s always beautiful Margaret River to explore caves, beaches, cafes and more!
Where to eat with the family?
- City Beach- Rise pizza. This is right on the beach and the kids can build their own pizza
- Claremont- Claremont Pizza is awesome for kids in the summer. It’s at Claremont Showgrounds and they have marquees, live music, face painting and/or a jumping castle for free. Everyone just sits in the lawn, it’s BYO and very relaxed
- Burns Beach Cafe and playground are amazing with shaded trees and a lovely walk along the coast
- Claremont- The Goods Shed
- Swanbourne- Edition Cafe and The Shorehouse
- Peppermint Grove- Gill St Deli and Cafe
- Cottesloe- Daisies
Where should I stay in Perth?
There are so many great parts of Perth, so it really depends on what or who you want to see. For us, we loved staying in South Perth and found a really affordable place Quest South Perth apartments. Our apartment was on the ground floor (perfect with a pram) and had two bedrooms, kitchen, living area and a small courtyard.
There is a secure parking, fenced pool and lush gardens that are very good for playing ‘PJ Masks Hide and Seek’!
We chose this location because it is so close to the city (just a ferry ride across the river or a 7 minute drive) and walking distance to the Swan River, with Sir James Mitchell Park stretching the length of the swan in South Perth. The Park has playgrounds, picnic areas and the South Perth Eateries all really close by. There are also toilets and bbq facilities all along the river for easy use.
PLUS it’s really close to the Zoo, which was ideal for the kids. South Perth is also a lovely little area, with all the amenities you could need just a short walk away from Quest.
Date Nights in Perth
If you’re lucky enough to get a night off from the children, then here are some great places to try out…
- South Perth- Mr Walker
- City- The Petition or The Post (both in the newly refurbished Treasury Building)
- City- C restaurant for high tea or dinner. It has a revolving restaurant for great views of all of Perth
- City Beach- The Odyssea or The Hamptons
Things to be aware of in Perth….
- The wind! It can get pretty breezy in the afternoons at the beach, so if you’re planning an early evening picnic, it’s best to have a Plan B in mind just in case you don’t want too much sand in your sandwich.
- Avoid driving in peak hour. The traffic is usually pretty conjested on the freeways during peak hour, due to the city of Perth stretching so far along the coastline.
- The beaches are beautiful, but the waves are much bigger than SA Metro beaches (they actually have waves!) and the waves can dump onto the beach quite heavily, meaning there isn’t really a gradual walk out into the water like we have here. Please be very mindful of this, particularly with children as it’s much more dangerous than our beaches.
- Check out the following websites for other great ideas for kids and families in Perth…Buggy Buddys and Kids Around Perth