A trip to Perth offers the ideal getaway for families. See moored tall ships, visit remnants of our convict past or get lost in manicured gardens just minutes from the city.
We start this action-packed family day out at of the newest playgrounds in the western capital – Elizabeth Quay (The Esplanade, Perth; mra.wa.gov.au). This $2.6 billion project launched its first stage in January with the stated aim of reconnecting the city of Perth with the Swan River via a range of new public spaces, bars and restaurants, hotels and the pedestrian bridge at its heart. You might find a night-time noodle market, fresh produce stalls and plenty of public art to explore.
Gondolas and segways
There is also a huge, maritime-themed playground for kids with a pirate ship where kids can pretend to walk the plank and ring the ship’s bell, as well make use of the ropes and climbing frames. Families can engage with the river via Gondolas on the Swan (Elizabeth Quay, The Esplanade; gondolasontheswan.com.au), a 15-minute gondola ride on the river that departs from Elizabeth Quay, or the Little Ferry Co. (Western Promenade, Elizabeth Quay, The Esplanade; littleferryco.com.au) that offers short ferry trips between the quay and Claisebrook in East Perth. Or just stroll along the newly built waterfront and stop for an ice cream, there are also Segway Tours (segwaytourswa.com.au) of the quay if older kids want to zoom around for a one-hour riverside tour.
Views from above
Take a ten-minute stroll across to the famous Perth Bell Tower (Barrack Square, Riverside Dr, Perth; thebelltower.com.au) that houses 12 bells from St Martins in the Fields in London that date back to the 15th century. Climb the tower for a great view across Elizabeth Quays and wait for the chiming of the bells that happens most days between 12pm-1pm.
That finger of greenery you can see extending out into the river is Kings Park and Botanic Garden (bgpa.wa.gov.au) one of the world’s largest inner city parks. Just a short drive from the Elizabeth Quay area you can discover huge beds of wildflowers, kids’ play areas like the Rio Tinto Naturescape and great views back over the city. Take a picnic to Variety Place or try the Lotterywest Family Area that offers Stickybeaks Café, and playgrounds for kids of all ages.
Doing time in Freo
A short drive from Kings Park is the city of Fremantle, the perfect place to spend an afternoon learning about our history. Visit the markets on South Terrace (fremantlemarkets.com.au) that offer great family fun as well as opportunities to learn – and shop! The markets have a strong commitment to promoting Indigenous and independent art products, which make unique gifts.
Overlooking the town is the imposing Fremantle Prison (1 The Terrace, Fremantle; fremantleprison.com.au) one of the best remaining examples of convict lodgings in the country. Open to the public since the early 90s, there are a range of tours on offer including Doing Time, The Great Escapes and the Fremantle Prison Art Tour, which looks at the art created by inmates while they were incarcerated.
Another historic Fremantle tour allows you to explore a replica of the Dutch ship the Duyfken, a trading ship helmed by Willem Jaszoon in 1606. The Duyfken veered off course accidentally discovering the northern coast of Australia. The arrival of the ship marks the beginning of recorded history in Australia.
Something for the adults, take a rest at the Little Creatures Brewery (40 Mews Rd, Fremantle; littlecreatures.com.au) which is a family-friendly affair offering views of Fremantle Harbour and a sandpit for the kids. They also have a wide range of craft beers and ciders for mum and dad.
Exploring past Perth
Further afield, Perth offers a range of day trips that should keep all the generations happy.
For a close encounter with a quokka take a ferry to Rottnest Island (rottnestisland.com), a car-free isle that is best tackled by a family bike ride, stopping at the pretty beaches and secluded bays that you find along the way. For just over 20 kilometres of island there is a great variety of landscape with six major habitats – coastal, salt lakes, brackish swamps, woodlands, heath and settled areas – existing on what the locals call “Rotto”.
The coral reefs on the island beg to be dived, there is a warm current that runs though the area producing a wide variety of marine life, and there is plenty of wildlife to spot.
For an action-packed day out you can spend the day at Adventure World (351 Progress Drive, Bibra Lake; adventureworld.net.au) Perth’s only theme park (with a water park attached) where there are over 25 rides and slides on offer from small kids to big kids (ie, adults). There are water sports of a different kind at the Perth Wake Park (Lot 482 St Albans Rd, Baldivis; perthwakepark.com.au), WA’s only cable wake park that tows boarders around according to their skill level. Any family members not taking part in the wake boarding can chill on the large viewing terrace with a drink and food.
Perth has a great mix of adult and kid pursuits, delicious family dining and plenty of outdoor activities, there is one simple answer to finding the perfect family getaway: Go west.
Novotel Perth Langley provides the perfect accommodation for you and your family whilst discovering all that Perth has to offer. The 4-star hotel is located near Elizabeth Quay, which makes it ideal to get around the thriving city. Relaxed rooms, family suites and apartments with city views. Upgraded suites offer separate lounges with kitchenettes, Jacuzzis, coffee makers, and iPod docks to keep the whole family entertained.
Novotel Perth Langley features an informal restaurant with a wine bar an Irish pub with a terrace. Additional amenities include a gym, a sauna, and a kids’ play area.
Entertainment and play areas for all ages in the lobby, and a gift awaits them when they arrive. Because family time is quality time.
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