Things to do around Perth with family
Now that I’ve covered off what you can do within Perth City Centre, there are sooo many more activities outside the city. We had the luxury of a car while we were in Perth, but at times we did use local buses which was easy and frequent. Although some suburbs also benefit from a good train network so getting around is easy.
Once we knew where we were going, it was easy to find places to explore to. Here’s what we got up to:
Swan Valley National Park
This area is known for its wineries but there are also lots of parks, chocolatier warehouses, cafes and walks. However, even with a map it felt confusing on where to go and what to do. We are, after all, on a budget so wine tasting doesn’t really appear on our ‘most likely things to do’. Then, I saw a car treasure hunt for the area advertised. As we had the car it was a great way to explore the area. Plus… It’s FREE!!
We picked up our clues from the Tourist information centre in Swan Valley. The lovely lady gave us some top tips on things to see, where to stop or parks to enjoy. We set off and the boys were excited and leaping out of the car like Anneka Rice (you’ll have to look up Treasure Hunt!).
They had to find a plaque and write down the letters they found. This would eventually spell out a phrase and then you receive a prize at the end if completed.
But most of all it took us to unknown areas, through national parks and allowed us to pop in to shops and areas that we wouldn’t have normally chosen too.
Half way during the immense chase we stopped at a place called Bells Rapids Park. We took the opportunity to have a picnic we’d brought and enjoy a quick walk around the area.
All in all it was a great day out for the family.
If you don’t have a car then an alternative in Swan valley is to just head to Whiteman Park. Within this area there are a number of activities within a more walkable area:
Caversham Wildlife park, Motor museum of WA, Whiteman Children’s Park, Heritage tram rides, parks and lots of walks. Check out the link here
How to get to Swan Valley
Located just 25 minutes outside of Perth, Swan valley is better accessed by car. But it can be accessed by train on the Midland line and get off at Guilford Station and arrange a taxi or uber to take you there.
Once you arrive there is a Swan Valley hop on/hop off bus. There are two routes available, you can get more information from the swan valley visitors centre.
However, in all honesty – the best way to see this area is by car!
Freo, as its sometimes known is like the Brighton of the UK. It’s got lots of quirky shops and has a chilled out vibe. You can guarantee that there is always something going on in Freo! But for the most part people enjoy coming to stroll the streets and walk along the waterfront, and enjoy a cold one in the Little Creatures Brewery.
For us, the boys enjoyed walking up to the round house and looking back up the street to see the yellow paint illusion. They also really enjoyed the huge play park at Esplanade Park.
We planned one visit during the Fremantle performing Arts festival and it was fantastic. A completely outdoors and free event with acts taking place at different venues all over Fremantle. The artists were unbelievable! The boys favourite was the sword swallowing Space Cowboy! Eeek… not something I hope the boys inspire to become.
How to get to Fremantle
It takes just half an hour to get from Perth to Fremantle by train with regular departures throughout the day.
We drove and found a relatively cheap car park next to the Fremantle Prison and Fremantle markets, it’s only a short walk into the town from there.
We were recommended to visit Mettams pool as a great beach area but also for the small reef which sits just off the beach. However, Mettams pool is just one of a string of beaches along this stretch of coastline. They are joined together by a long promenade which you can walk or cycle. It was always busy with people & families.
Unfortunately, the day we visited was a bit choppy and made for difficult snorkelling conditions. Plus the wind was whipping up the sand on the beach, so our friends suggested we head to another destination close by….
Hillarys Marina and Beach
It’s a man made beach situated next to a lovely grass area (for non sand lovers) and with a marina full of shops sheltering you from the coastal breeze! It was packed! But a perfect place for families. The car parking was free.
Within the marina there was a jetty that kids were running and jumping from as well as a pontoon with 2 slides which the kids loved. A great decision to move and we all had a great day out with ice-creams to finish!
Known as the sunset beach of Perth, & they weren’t wrong!!. We packed a BBQ picnic and headed off around 4pm. There were a few groups around and quite a few surfers too over the otherside of the headland. But as we looked around we couldn’t spy any of the Aussie BBQ’s – wahhh!! Instead, we had to head back to the car and race to another park just to have dinner. We then raced back just in time to watch the sunsetting.
Obviously it wasn’t as relaxed as we planned but the boys got chance to dip their toes in the water and we got to watch the sky turn to fire!
A lovely spot – just make sure you bring a cold picnic or grab something from one of the local eateries nearby!
This is a little further south past Fremantle but is a beautiful sandy beach & amazing blue waters. It has a large netted area for safe swimming and gentle waves so perfect for families.
For the more adventurous there is a snorkel trail, situated only 25m offshore, and based around the Omeo Shipwreck. You don’t necessarily need a snorkel a pair of goggles will do fine! check out www.trailswa.au/trails/coogee-maritime-trail for more information.
However, it’s better to visit this beach in the morning as Perth’s coast is renowned for its wind and can get a bit choppier in the sea later on. So for better visibility, go earlier.
Indoor swimming pools
Perth has literally swimming pools everywhere. However, some of them are only outdoor and close around April time. As we were there at Easter we had a look around at some of the indoor pools. We visited:
Leisure pool in Thornlie – it was a fairly small pool, but the water was warm. There was an indoor 25m pool as well as the leisure pool. Unfortunately though as they were linked it made the lane swimming too warm! Not ideal for us but great for the kids.
Bayswater waves – this was a much bigger complex with a slide and wave pool. There was an indoor and outdoor pool which was great. The boys had a great time in here, but it was cooler than expected.
The Arc – fantastic facility and for a great price. There is an interactive pool for younger children with snake slides and water buckets. There are 3 huge slides, one with a double ring. There’s a 25m indoor pool and a 50m outdoor pool. Plenty to keep all the family occupied.
Lucky for us our friends lived in the hills and meant we had access to many great walking trails within Kalamunda, Mundaring and the nearby areas!
As we were staying in Kalamunda we visited the local town often and found it was very well equipped and had a great little pub ‘Kalamunda Hotel’ where kids ate for free throughout the school holidays and every Tuesday! They also had regular markets throughout the month. Check our their website for dates.
Close by you will also find a number of wineries. One night we visited Lawnbrook Winery where they have a small cafe serving platters and have specific evenings with wine & music. It was fabulous and very relaxing. The kids had the lawn area to go crazy in which was great.
Other things to do
Cycling – is a popular activity in Perth. For a family there are lots of cycle paths around Perth, such as Burswood, Swan Valley Heritage Cycle Tail, South Perth Foreshore & Kings Park.
For the more adventurous mountain biker then the Perth Hills, around Kalamunda, Mundaring . Have a number of cycle routes for you to enjoy!
Fremantle Prison – another popular activity in Fremantle and a good way to get some Australian history and about the convicts. However, we decided against going here as there were other areas we wanted to see and our budget was being stretched already. The entry includes a tour of the prison, so you need to time your visit. The cost to enter is A$62 for a family of 4.
I was however intrigued by the underwater night tours, but the minimum age is 12 years.
Rottnest Island – another must do activity in Rottnest but we never found ourselves with enough energy or time to do this one. Lots of tourist information booklets offer you a discount so if you are interested then check them out to get money off.
Otherwise the island is a popular way to see the local inhabitants, the Quokka. There are lots of sandy white beaches, secluded coves and its known for being a great snorkelling site.
How to get to Rottnest Island?
There are several companies offering a ferry to the island. Again, check your tourist booklets for the best deals. It may also be your location which determines which boat you get. It takes 25 minutes from Fremantle, 45 minutes from Hillarys boat harbour and 90 minutes from Perths Barrack Street Jetty. Check out this link www.rottnestisland.com/the-island/getting-here/by-ferry
If you are in Perth for an extended period of time then I highly recommend a few days further south in the Margaret River region. It’s a stunning area with some beautiful beaches and a number of activities to do. Read my separate blog post (to follow shortly) about what we got up to in the area.
But in a nutshell… It was awesome!!
Most people tend to skip Perth or only spend a few days with the aim of getting to the East Coast of Australia. But Western Australia has some absolutely stunning areas to rival any of the East Coast. In fact, because they are less crowded it makes them even better!
So if you get the chance I would look to spend more time in Western Australia and definitely hire a car to get out of the city and see so much more!