I will never forget the first time I travelled to Europe and told someone it took five hours on a plane from Sydney to visit my family in Perth. “Five hours on a plane and you’re still in Australia?! I could fly to RUSSIA in that time!” they exclaimed.
Yes, that’s Australia. While a long way from other major cities, Perth is well worth a visit. It’s the gateway to the many wonderful attractions of Western Australia – the vineyards of Margaret River or Swan Valley, the dolphins of Monkey Mia or the Gold Mines in the outback. And there are plenty of great things to do on a family holiday in Perth itself.
Here’s my family friendly guide to a holiday in Perth:
This 400 hectare park is located on the edge of the CBD and offers beautiful views of the city skyline, Swan and Canning Rivers, and the Darling Ranges. Unless you’re keen for a very steep walk, I recommend catching the bus (Route 37) from St Georges Terrace in the CBD. It’s free and drops you right in the heart of Kings Park. Basing yourself in the CBD is not a bad idea – it’s a popular spot for Expedia’s Aussie travellers, who usually stay 2-3 days in hotels including the Kings Perth Hotel, Four Points by Sheraton Perth and the Hyatt Regency. You’ll find family friendly two bedroom apartments at the Mantra on Hay and the Adina Apartments.
Highlights of Kings Park include:
• Naturescape – best described as a “bush exploration space”, you won’t find swings and slides here. Designed to encourage children to climb rocks, build a cubby-house from branches or splash in a creek, at Naturescape the kids will get grubby having fun.
• Playgrounds – great playgrounds can be found at the Synergy Parkland or LotteryWest Family Area
• Federation Walk – this treetop walkway leads you 620m through Kings Park and the Botanical Gardens. With a mixture of ground level pathways and an elevated glass-arched bridge, it’s popular with all ages.
A day at ‘Rotto’
You can’t visit Perth without planning a day trip across to Rottnest Island. You can explore ‘Rotto’ using the Island Explorer bus, or hire bikes to reach beautiful secluded beaches.
Rottnest Island was named “Ratte Nest” (meaning Rats Nest) by the Dutch explorer de Vlamingh in the late 1600’s, after a sight of the very cute and unusual native marsupial the Quokka. Quokkas are still in abundance on the island and children of all ages will enjoy spotting them.
If you’re interested in learning about the rich history of the island, the Rottnest Voluntary Guides run free daily tours. Details available from the Visitors Centre.
Play at the Beach
Perth has some postcard perfect beaches to enjoy. Cottesloe is the most famous with the Indiana Tea House, built in 1910, perched right on the beach. The terraced grass lawn is a lovely place to relax if you’ve had enough of building sandcastles. The southern end is popular with families, as the 100m long groyne creates a sheltered cove with much smaller waves. Other popular family beaches include Scarborough, Mettams Pool and South Beach. Fish and Chips for dinner is a great excuse to enjoy a magnificent sunset over the ocean. If you prefer to be on the beach, Seashells Scarborough has a great location and offers 2 or 3 bedroom apartments with kitchen facilities.