Perth with kids is a pretty perfect city. Beaches, blue skies, parks, brilliant weather and that charming Aussie laid back vibe – what’s not to love? suitcases&strollers chatted to blogger Amanda Kendle of I’m Not A Ballerina – I’m A Traveller and a Thinker and mama to a four-year-old son about Australia’s west coast and her insider tips for the best things to do in Perth with kids. Here is the suitcases&strollers Perth city guide.
Why should parents plan a family holiday in Perth with kids?
Perth is the sunniest city in Australia – we usually have the record for the highest number of sunny hours – and we have so much to do outside in Perth so we make good use of those sunshine hours. Being so far from the main population areas of Australia on the east coast makes Perth a bit unique and a bit less well-known – but therefore (and of course I'm a little bit biased ...!) the best!
Where is your favourite place to take kids in Perth?
We love to head to the Perth Zoo regularly. It's just south of the city centre and we sometimes take the ferry which adds to the fun. No matter what the weather, the zoo is a great day out – it's full of huge old trees which keep either the sun or the rain out. Since my childhood they have renovated many of the animal enclosure areas to be more natural. They also have a range of really cool experiences. When my son turned four he was finally old enough to feed the giraffes and we booked into that experience on that very day.
For animal lovers the Caversham Wildlife Park is also a great place to visit as you can interact with Australian animals like kangaroos.
Where is your kid’s favourite place in Perth to hang out?
My son adores the various parks at Kings Park right in the city centre; I think his favourite part is the Rio Tinto Naturescape area which is a very special nature play park. He loves that he can paddle through the brook there and try and dam it up with rocks and sticks; there are also climbing areas, branches to build tents with and so much more.
What is the best free activity to do with kids in Perth?
Heading to the beach is the best way to enjoy Perth with kids without spending any money. Perth is a long, stretched out city so you are rarely far from the coast and there is no part of the coast that isn't gorgeous – we have beautiful white sandy beaches and you will rarely have to share them with too many other people.
Read about Free Things to do with Kids in Most Cities.
Where is the best place to take kids in Perth when the weather is bad?
My son adores the Scitech Discovery Centre, a science museum just outside the centre. There are lots of really fun activities there even for toddlers and my son has just become old enough to enjoy the Planetarium shows too.
What are some of the city secrets that tourists might not know about but shouldn’t miss on a family holiday in Perth?
Recently Perth has become full of farmers' markets – usually held on Saturday or Sunday mornings at all kinds of places but especially at schools. They definitely are not on the tourist list but they are always fun and they don't just sell fruit and vegetables to the locals. They have some amazing food vans to eat something tasty on the spot, many have buskers or other entertainment and the atmosphere is always cheerful. It's a great way to mingle with the locals. [You can find lists of the farmers’ markets in Perth here.]
What’s the best way for children to have an authentic Perth experience?
Try and stay in the suburbs and head to the local playgrounds. Perth has an abundance of small local parks with playgrounds and you'll get to meet the local kids. Playing with them is definitely the best authentic Perth experience. We're a state full of immmigrants so chatting with locals at the playgrounds can be like doing a bit of United Nations trip.
Which is the best place to stay if you are on family vacation in Perth with kids?
Ideally, hunt down some great self-contained apartments – there are a range of these in the Scarborough area (next to the beach) and I'd also recommend the Fremantle region as well.
What is the ideal time frame for a holiday to Perth with kids?
Around a week is a great amount of time to spend in Perth and I'd recommend adding a couple of days at Rottnest Island, just a short ferry ride away from Perth.
Read about Rottnest Island in Family Days Out In Perth.
When is the best time of year to visit Perth with kids?
Perth has pretty great weather all year round, although in February and March it can be very hot. Rain can delay some of your plans in June and July but we also still have many sunny days then. The long school holidays are from Christmas through January and it can be a busier time at tourist destinations.
Where are your top 3 places for family-friendly restaurants in Perth?
1. Dome cafes are great spots. They have a good kids menu and always have some colouring-in pages and crayons or pencils on hand to amuse the kids. You can find Dome cafes in many locations now.
2. We have lots of Asian restaurants too and my son loves to go to Han's Cafe – a chain of simple Asian foods – or to a sushi train. His favourite is Sushi Wawa next to the huge Ikea store in Innaloo, north of the city centre.
3. In Fremantle, the Little Creatures Brewery has great meals for adults and kids (and beer for adults!) plus a good playground.
What is the best way to move around Perth with kids?
The train is best way to get around Perth and if you make sure your accommodation is close to a train line then getting around is easy.
What are your top 3 tips for families travelling to Perth with kids?
· Bring your sunscreen and a hat because the Perth sun is much stronger than you'd imagine and it's so easy to get burnt here! How To Be Sun Smart.
· Use self-contained apartment accommodation over a smaller hotel room so the kids can spread out. If it's near the beach, that's even better.
Images: Amanda Kendle of I’m Not A Ballerina – I’m A Traveller and a Thinker, Tourism Western Australia