From wildlife encounters and new amusement parks, to sailing adventures and perfect bike trails, Perth makes it easy to entice young ones out of the house. These kid-friendly activities will make you wish you were a teenager again.
Rides & Slides
There’s no need to haul the family to the Gold Coast to get your fix of rollercoasters and adrenalin rushes…
Adventure World | A Perth stalwart, this theme park has a huge range of rides, from the gentle to the extreme. The latest instalment is the frightening Abyss, a custom-built coaster that features a vertical drop of 100 feet. adventureworld.net.au.
The Great Escape | A relative newcomer to the amusement park scene, this attraction at Hillarys Boat Harbour has become a fast favourite. Waterslides are the main draw, while the High Ropes course is not for the faint-hearted. thegreatescape.com.au.
Outback Splash | This brand new water park boasts six huge waterslides and
is part of The Maze family fun park, where you can get lost in several giant labyrinths. themaze.com.au.
If it’s adventures on the high seas that your kids crave, then get them on board the Leeuwin II. This mighty three-masted barquentine is Australia’s largest training tall ship, and sails out of Freo. The ship’s programs (such as the Youth Explorer Voyages for over 14s) are dedicated to challenging and inspiring people, focusing on building teamwork and leadership skills. The shorter, three-hour coastal sails are perfect for families, and run over the weekends. sailleeuwin.com.
Vroom To Manoeuvre
Kids (and adults) are spoiled for choice when it comes to go-kart racing. Kart World in Belmont has dual karts that allow you to ride with children under 10 (kartworldbelmont.com.au); Ultra Fast Karts in Wanneroo (ultrafastkarts.com.au) is also home to a V8 Supercar raceway; and Cockburn International Kartway has just had its track resurfaced (kartshop.com.au).
Sam Hill, two-time UCI World Downhill Champion, grew up in the hills of Perth and has had plenty of time to explore the most daring bike trails of the region. “I pretty much was on my bike my whole life growing up, building jumps and
messing around,” he says.
If it’s an exhilarating ride that you’re looking for, Sam recommends the Mundaring, Wellington Mills and Nannup areas. “All three of these places have a few different tracks to ride and they keep you entertained all day.”
For younger riders who need a gentler time of it, check out the family-friendly tracks at Turners Hill, the Railway Reserves Heritage Trail, or Goat Farm Mountain Bike Park. Trails are listed online at wamba.org.au, pdmbc.com or perthmtb.asn.au.
Sharks | Sending your children out around Perth looking for sharks is not normally encouraged… unless you’re at the Aquarium of Western Australia, of course. There, you can dive into AQWA’s stunning Shipwreck Coast aquarium (for over 15s) and come face-to-fin with sharks, or you can become a Reefwalker (over 12s), donning scuba gear to trek across the bottom of a living
reef exhibit. aqwa.com.au.
Dolphins | Just south of Perth, the team at Rockingham Wild Encounters offers the chance to swim with these intelligent mammals – in fact, you’re guaranteed to find some on the luxury cruise, or you get to go again for free. dolphins.com.au.
Snakes | Those with more fearless offspring (the kind brave enough to hug
a python) can head south to Peel Zoo for a slithery encounter, or north into the Swan Valley wine region to the West Australian Reptile Park. wareptilepark.com.au.
Children in this age bracket should be physically active every day for at least three hours, spread throughout the day, according to the Department of Health. Here are some places for toddlers to wear themselves out.
Kings Park Lotterywest Family Area
The Ivey Watson Playground is tailored specifically for children under the age of six… and Stickybeaks Cafe is tailored specifically for their thirsty parents. bgpa.wa.gov.au/kings-park.
This relatively new playground is fenced and extensive, with everything from a miniature rock-climbing wall to a musical play area. Access from Wordsworth Avenue.
Jungle Gym Indoor Playground
Perfect for a rainy day, this gym hosts an under-5 time slot and is seriously safe; almost every surface is covered in soft mats. Includes a giant blow-up slide and foam pit. junglegym.com.au.
Griffin Longley, CEO of Nature Play, says getting children active is not just about fending off obesity. “There are other benefits of being active that tend to get overlooked,” he says. He believes being active is part of feeling good and can also be a protective factor in the fight against mental health disorders. “Physical activity is a great way for people to connect and to feel part of something,” Griffin says. “Community, and the sense of belonging that comes from that, is incredibly important for young people.” For more ideas, research and tips, head to natureplaywa.org.au.