Looking for a winter family vacation? Then you should definitely be thinking about Western Australia. While you get to enjoy winter holiday activities such as sitting by log fires, eating hearty meals overlooking the green hills and warm cups of tea on misty mornings, the weather is still temperate enough that there are plenty of reasons to go outdoors too. In the south west of the state, the scenery is picture perfect and (some would say) at its most beautiful during the cooler months. If you’re looking for winter family vacations that are a break from the tropical heat and involve fresh air, sunshine and beautiful natural scenery (whale watching anyone?) then it’s time to head to Western Australia with kids.
Australia might be known for its long hot summers, but did you know winter is actually one of the best times to visit Western Australia, especially in the south west? The famous fresh produce is readily available to cook up into delicious warm meals, there are festivals and activities on offer, the scenery is lusher and greener, the wine is perfect in front of a log fire and there are plenty of great deals to entice those looking for winter family holidays.
In the winter, Western Australia’s stunning natural scenery can become a private playground for your kids as there are less tourists and traffic. Put on a few scarves, beanies and mittens and walk the deserted beaches, drive among the huge forests and amble along the quiet country roads. It’s all just waiting for you to arrive.
Winter Activity Holidays in Western Australia With Kids
Winter is actually the ideal time of year to spot native Aussie animals as they are more active and the dawn and dusk hours (when they are notoriously the busiest) are at more realistic times for little kids. When you’re out doing your family holiday activities in Western Australia with kids, don’t forget to keep a look out for kangaroos, wallabies and the stunning local birdlife all around you, especially on those country roads. Keep your camera ready – you may even get to capture a family snap or two with a kangaroo!
[For more family travel tips on how to take the best travel photos, see the suitcases&strollers story here.]
Whale Watching in Western Australia
Whale watching season has started and the south western part of Western Australia is one of the best places in the world to witness the magnificent humpback and southern right whale migration. The gentle giants of the ocean will get suprisingly near to shore which means you have a very rare chance to get up close with them.
There is even a southern right whale nursery, one of only two in Australia, located at Fitzgerald River National Park where the whales typically calve from June to November.
Depending on which part of south west Western Australia you choose to visit, you can see the southern right whales through until December. Expect them in Augusta between June and September, Albany between June and October and Dunsborough between September to December. To read more about whale watching in Western Australia with kids, see the suitcases&strollers story here.
Family Friendly Festivals in Western Australia With Kids
If your kids love to play knights and princesses, then let them experience medieval life first hand at the hilarious Balingup Medieval Carnival. On the weekend of August 22 and 23 the residents of Balingup and surrounds gather together for fun filled days of medieval combat sports, live entertainment, birds of prey demonstrations and market stalls. And, of course, everyone wanders around in medieval costumes. There is also a specially dedicated children’s area with face painting, craft and story telling.
The highlight of the carnival is the burning of the dragon on Saturday night – a huge wooden dragon is erected and then set alight bonfire style.
This is a family friendly festival so there is no alcohol allowed at the carnival and kids under 12 are free.
[For more family travel tips on traveling on a budget with kids, see the suitcases&strollers story here.]
Or to sample some of the delicious food offerings Western Australia has to offer, head to Truffle Kerfuffle in Manjimup in the Southern Forests. This region is famed for its truffles hidden amongst the hazel and oak trees that are exported worldwide and are discovered, not by pigs, but by the very cute local dogs. Take the kids on a truffle hunt demonstration through the glorious woodlands or attend a masterclass (some specifically designed for children) or wander around the farmer’s market looking at the craft and produce. Several local chefs will be attending and there is live entertainment and face painting. Truffle Kerfuffle runs from 26 to 28 June.
Family Friendly Food in Western Australia With Kids
Feedings kids and fussy eaters on family holidays can be difficult but this is unlikely to be a problem in south west Western Australia. There is plenty of healthy food for kids everywhere – and it is all beautifully fresh and delicious.
Get the whole family really involved in sourcing healthy food for kids by purchasing your products straight from the farm gate or marron or trout farm as a family excursion. You’ll often find pop up fruit and vegetable stalls along the roadside, even in the most unlikely of places. Then take off your winter woollies and head indoors to the comfort of your wood fireplace in your family friendly accommodation for a real feast. For the kids the region is famed for its gorgeous cheeses, fruit, honey, nougat and, of course, everyone’s favourite – chocolate.
And don’t forget, parents get to indulge in fresh marron and trout alongside a bottle of famed Western Australian red, perfect for a winter warmer.
This story is sponsored by Australia’s South West; Images: Australia's South West, Gillian B Photography