Struggling to keep the family entertained this school holidays? Here are five outdoor destinations in Perth perfect for a day trip with the kids this summer.
Cape Peron, Rockingham
Cape Peron is a gorgeous family-friendly picnicking and snorkelling spot in Rockingham and familiar to many due to its use for school camps. The stretch of sandy beach is sheltered by limestone cliffs and offshore reefs, providing calm shallow waters for less confident swimmers. Close to the shore, snorkellers will find small caves and swim-throughs while remnants of the Second World War can be seen further up the headland.
For history buffs (and kids that like big guns), the Point Peron Gun Battery is worth a visit. Originally built to defend the southern entrance of garden island in World War II, the Battery can be accessed by the trails winding through the bush from one of the three main carparks.
Heirisson Island, East Perth
Heirisson Island, between Victoria Park and East Perth, is a fun and easy island day trip with parking and no entrance fee.
Barbecues, shelters and playgrounds make it perfect for family picnics. The enclosed southern part of the island homes five western grey kangaroos which can be best spotted in the mornings and as the sun goes down.
The island also has a rich history and is of great cultural significance for the Noongar people. The mudflat area, formerly known as Matagarup, was a main crossing point from one side of the river to the other. Erected on the island is a statue of Noongar warrior Yagan, which recognises his leadership in the resistance of the early Swan River Colony.
Marmion Marine Park, Marmion
Marmion Marine Park stretches from Trigg Island to Burns Beach, including popular surf and SUP spot Mettams Pool. The park is home to a diverse array of wildlife and multiple picturesque bays, welcoming sightseers and a variety of water sports.
Outside of sanctuary zones, cast a line off the beach to catch some smaller species like whiting and tailor, or for the hardcore anglers, hop on a boat charter from Hillarys to reel in some dhufish and pink snapper. If you’re not keen on fishing, follow the snorkel trail near the Marmion Angling and Aquatic Club. 136 different species of fish can be spotted around the 400m trail alongside 20 submerged informational plinths to guide you as you explore the underwater paradise. Additionally, Australia’s endemic sea lions bask on the beaches of Little Island, where you’re welcome to anchor off, however, it’s advised you keep your distance.
For the adrenalin junkies, tackle the surf with the family off Trigg Beach. Surfing WA offers both group and private lessons with exclusive holiday programs to keep the kids occupied.
If you miss out on a visit to the marine park this school holidays, make sure to return from September through to November to see the migrating humpback and southern right whales.
Penguin Island, Rockingham
Penguin Island is part of the Shoalwater Islands Marine Park, a chain of limestone islands off the coast of Rockingham, and is a stunning marine playground and home to approximately 1200 little penguins. It’s also one of Perth’s most popular coastal day trips for kayaking tours, snorkelling through shipwrecks, swimming with bottlenose dolphins and of course, visiting the park’s most popular attraction, Penguin Island.
The island is the most northern location in which the Little Penguin species can be found. It’s worth catching one of the three daily feedings at the Discovery Centre as they tend to hide in their burrows during the day. Boardwalks and viewing platforms are dotted around the island so visitors can spot the rare local Australian sea lions and colonies of fairy terns. The island is accessible via a five-minute ferry ride from Mersey Point Visitor Centre, which runs daily every hour from 9am to 3pm.
The local tip is to pack your own lunch and bring your snorkel as there’s plenty to see, including subtropical species such as sea stars, urchins and molluscs nestled into the reefs.
More info and ferry times here.
Make the most of the 9pm late ferries this summer and enjoy the ultimate day trip adventure on Rottnest Island. Begin your day with breakfast and a coffee. There are a number of options, starting with the Dome as well as the Bakery and Frankies in the Settlement area. For our money, the best coffee is at the Lane.
To properly enjoy Rottnest, you need a bike. You can bring your own or book one through your ferry service or at the Pedal and Flipper, which is just a five-minute walk from the ferry.
Many of Rottnest’s charms are beneath the surface. With five marine sanctuaries and the benefits of the warm Leeuwin current, the island is a giant natural aquarium with the most incredible array of fish, corals, limestone caves and reefs to explore. Morning is a great time to snorkel before the wind picks up and the crowds arrive. Take a look at our guide to wreck snorkelling.
There is plenty of summer entertainment on the island including movies, mini-golf, the golf course and bowls, plus tons of tours. You need to book ahead for the tours as they tend to sell out.
There are over 10 places to enjoy lunch and dinner. Stop in at Long Reach or head back to the Settlement and take your pick from a host of options. Isola Bar e Cibo is the new restaurant near the jetty and worth a try.