Perth

Ultimate guide to things to do in Perth with kids

Australia’s sunniest city, Perth also one of its most remote. Having flourished into a city of excitement and entertainment over the past decade, Perth is full of great family attractions and activities.  

The city is located on the mighty Swan River, which is best explored on a family cruise for great views of the city. Learn about Perth’s first people, the Wadjuk, as well as some great bush survival tips and an introduction to the local plants with an Aboriginal Guide at Kings Park. The park, just minutes form the city centre, is rich in European and Aboriginal history and culture and there is heaps for kids to do and see. While you’re there visit May Drive Playground for some fun and go for a walk on the raised walkway through the park for views of the Swan River.

Mer-jestic Mermaids at AQWA

Take advantage of the all the city’s sunshine on one of Perth’s many stunning beaches including Scarborough Beach, City Beach, Trigg Beach, Sorrento Beach and iconic Cottesloe Beach, famous for its white sand, beautiful clear turquoise water and art deco pavilion.

Animal lovers can visit AQWA, the Aquarium of Western Australia to view sea life, Perth Zoo for 164 species of exotic and local animals or visit Caversham Wildlife Park to pat a friendly kangaroo and milk a cow.

For a hit of culture, Perth has great kid friendly museums including the Old Perth Gaol, the Western Australian Museum and the awesome Scitech, an interactive science museum and planetarium, that kids will find out of this world.

Top things to do in Perth

There is so much to see and do in Perth, it can be hard to choose, but here are our top ten recommendations.

  1. Take a stroll around Kings Park and the Botanic Garden.  
  2. Grab a selfie with a Quokka on Rottnest Island.
  3. Swim, surf and build sandcastles at Cottesloe Beach.
  4. Peruse the stalls at iconic Fremantle Markets.
  5. Sail, kayak or Sup along The Swan River.
  6. Find out who’ s who at the Perth Zoo.
  7. Get locked up at the Old Gaol.
  8. View the marine life big and small at AQWA.
  9. Snorkel or dive with the marine life along the coast.
  10. Get hands on at the awesome Scitech.

Things to do in Perth with…

From building sand castles on one of Perth’s iconic beaches to cuddling a kangaroo, little ones will love the variety of activities on offer.

The calm waters of Hillarys Boat Harbour is the perfect beach for young kids, plus there’s a playground and pontoons with slides. Head to King’s Park and the May Drive playground to explore its elevated walkway, island fort, large-scale replicas of extinct Australian mega fauna and interactive water misting forest. 

As well as being home to more than a thousand animals, The Perth Zoo offers kids aged from two to five the A to Zoo programme that will take them on a journey to learn about their favourite animals through storytelling, craft, movement and music. And at family-owned Caversham Wildlife, the kids can see a host of native animals, feed a kangaroo, cuddle a wombat and see awesome farm shows including cow milking demonstrations.

There are plenty of fantastic day trips from Perth for kids. Not to be missed is a visit to Rottnest, or Rotto as it is known to the locals. Located 19 km off the coast, Rottnest is only a short ferry ride from Fremantle or Perth, and the stunning island is perfectly set up for bike riding, scootering and exploring. You’ll find picturesque scenery, dazzling marine life and 63 of the world’s finest beaches and pristine bays. 

The island’s unusual name, Rottnest, literally translated means ‘rats nest’, a moniker it earned in 1696, when the Dutch explorer, William de Vlamingh, spotted the island’s unusual marsupial population and mistook them as rats. Today, nabbing a selfie with one of the ‘rats’, which are actually insanely cute, and relatively friendly Quokkas, is one of the main attractions on the island.

Just 30 minutes from Perth, the bustling, dynamic port city of Fremantle has long been renowned for its eclectic multicultural population, gorgeous beaches, a thriving art scene and an abundance of eateries. And there is loads for kids to do.

Kids can visit The Western Australian Maritime Museum, home of iconic Aussie yacht, Australia II, the famed winner of the America Cup in 1983, amongst other maritime treasures. Or they can go to prison. Though only for a visit, of course. The world heritage listed Fremantle Prison is now one of Western Australia’s most fascinating and significant cultural attractions. Skater kids will love Fremantle’s dedicated skate parks, especially Esplanade Youth Plaza, which is rated as the best skate spot in Australia. And visit the city’s historic Fremantle Markets, where you’ll find 150 stalls along with entertainment from the city’s best buskers and street performers.

Water loving teens will love Perth’s waterways and beaches. Sail, kayak, stand up paddle board or jet ski along the Swan River. Snorkel and dive with abundant marine life and amongst the numerous shipwrecks just offshore. Or hit the waves at the excellent surfing and kiteboarding beaches. And, if you are a first timer, you’ll find excellent surf schools for beginners.

Above the water you can go into battle with pain ball, explore the bush by horse or mountain bike, zip through the tree tops at Trees Adventures, or take to the sky in a hot air balloon. 

If you’re seeking thrills, head to Adventure World to slide down the Kraken, an enormous water funnel with dark twists and turns. Defy gravity on the Rampage and Freefall. Twist and turn on the Abyss, Australia’s favourite roller coaster.  Or take on the theme park’s newest ride, a terrifying 15-metre pendulum that is said to be like a swing on steroids.

Perth is a fun, easy city to navigate with kids. Photo: Shutterstock

Best time to visit Perth as a family

Perth, the capital city of Australia’s most western state, can be visited all year round and boasts a warm, dry climate most of the year. 

Summer is when there is the least rainfall so any planned outings in the great outdoors are almost guaranteed to be dry but many consider spring, from September to November, the optimum time to visit with sunny days, warm evenings and fields of gorgeous wildflowers. 

Winters are relatively cool and slightly wetter. Temperatures may fall to around eight-degrees Celsius, climbing to 20 during the day. There may be an occasional storm but the clouds can mean a fabulous sunset over the ocean.

Christmas and Easter are busy, especially in Fremantle as locals flock to the port city, so you’ll need to book ahead. But Perth’s distance from other capital cities in Australia means good deals on accommodation, tours and activities can be found all year-round.

Fremantle Fisherman’s Monument was unveiled in 2005 and celebrates the men and women who contributed to the development of the industry

Family-friendly places to eat in Perth

Eating out in Perth with kids is easy as there is an excellent selection of family-friendly eateries including cafes, restaurants and pubs catering for all ages.  Leapfrogs, in the Wanneroo Botanic Gardens on the shores of Lake Joondalup, not only has good kid-friendly food but also really good coffee. The Carine Tavern at Duncraig is another top spot as there’s a great kids’ menu as well as outdoor seating and play equipment.

Families who are fans of seafood are spoiled for choice and there’s a huge array of multi-cultural options including Indian, Thai, Italian, Greek and Japanese, for dining with a cultural twist.  Don’t forget the local weekend markets for freshly made treats and to stock up on fresh produce if you are self-catering. Kaila Community Farmer’s Market, Subiaco Farmer’s Market and Perth City Farmer’s Market are especially good for families as there’s entertainment for kids.

There are lots of walking trails at Kings Park where you can go exploring in the bushland to see Western Australian trees and wildflowers.

Things to do for free in Perth

  • Perth’s iconic Cottesloe Beach cannot be missed as it’s perfect for snorkelling, swimming and sunsets. And glorious Kings Park is a great place for kids to explore.
  • Entry to Rottnest Island, 18 kilometres offshore from Perth is also free, however there is a fee to catch the ferry over. Take the ferry from south of Perth and visit Penguin Island with the star attraction the little penguins, the smallest species in the world. You are also likely to spot dolphins, sea lions, stingrays, pelicans and many seabirds.
  • Lesmurdie Falls, located in the national park of the same name, east of Perth, is where you will find one of the more spectacular waterfalls on the Darling Range escarpment. The moderate two-kilometre circuit meanders down to the base of the falls and is quite special. Lane Poole Reserve has an extensive array of bushwalking tracks and places for swimming, fishing, canoeing and rafting.

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