I'm a freelance writer and photographer living in Perth, Western Australia.
Published September 18th 2011
We all have a budget and sometimes after we have paid the bills and done the grocery shopping, there isn't much money left for fun things to do with the children in our lives. Do you have children aged from 1 to 6? Do you wonder what family fun days you can have on a budget?
Perth has a number of fantastic free or very cheap things to do with our kids. I discovered the following outings which the whole family can enjoy for little or no cost:
This is a lovely little farm where you will see chickens, pigs, sheep, llamas, rabbits, ponies, turkeys and much more. During school holidays they have damper and billy tea making demonstrations as well as cart rides.
After you have seen the animals why not go and feel, smell and look at the various plants in the beautiful herb garden. Located in the centre of the herb garden is a 'Garden Pavilion' where you can enjoy a picnic (BBQs are available).
The Herb Garden is also home to a number of Gnomes (which all have names) and a quiz sheet is available from the Canteen which will encourage you and your children to have fun trying to find them all.
The farm also has a fantastic undercover sun safe play ground which is in a safe environment. I grabbed myself a coffee from the café and sat and watched my children playing happily.
Landsdale Animal Farm is located at 80 Landsdale Rd, Darch which is a 30 minute drive from Perth's CBD. Admission is $5 per person (children under two free) and an additional $1 per person for Cart Rides and Damper & Billy Tea. It is open from 9am to 3pm everyday (except public holidays).
Hillarys Boat Harbour is a prime family destination offering numerous attractions and activities for young and old. Why not bring along a picnic or BBQ and enjoy the scenery while the kids swim or play at the playground. You may also decide to bring your bikes and take a ride along one of the convenient cycle paths.
Hillarys Boat Harbour is an exciting and unique destination which the whole family will enjoy. It is located 20 minutes North of Perth CBD is situated at the intersection of Hepburn Avenue, Whitfords Avenue and West Coast Drive in Hillarys and is accessible 365 days of the year.
Whiteman's park has a 'village' that includes children's playgrounds (fully fenced for safety and shaded for sun protection), a water playground including a paddling pool (shade shelters surround the pool), old fashioned lolly shop, craft shop, tram rides and train rides.
Enjoy a picnic at the park or a BBQ. There are plenty of electric BBQs located throughout the Park's picnic areas and are operated with a $1 coin.
After lunch you can enjoy a bushwalk or take your bike and cycle along one of the 3 trails or jump on board the Bennett Brook Railway (operating steam and diesel trains). This 6 kilometre train ride will cost you $8 Adult, $4 Kids (6-16yrs) and $2 for toddles (2-5yrs).
Whiteman Park is located in the Swan Valley (Entry off Lord Street or Beechboro Road, Whiteman) and is 25 minutes from Perth CBD. It is free to enter everyday of the year and is open from 8.30am to 6pm daily (except Christmas Day 9am to 5pm).
What child doesn't love sitting on a train pretending it is Thomas the Tank taking them on some great adventure? Why not grab yourself a FamilyRider ticket for under $10 and travel by train, bus or ferry on weekends, public holidays and after 9.00am weekdays during school holidays. The FamilyRider allows unlimited system wide travel for a group of 2 adults and 5 children and must be purchased as a cash ticket on the day of travel.
This means you can get a bus from home to a train station, Joondalup for example, take a ride to Mandurah and then back to the Perth CBD. Once in the CBD you can get a free CAT (central area transit system) bus to the Barrack Street Jetty, hop on a ferry to South Perth, have a picnic lunch on the foreshore then get a bus home. All this travel for approximately $10 (for a family of seven). What child wouldn't love this?
Are your children into Dinosaurs? The Museum includes the Discovery Centre, which offers the chance to get hands-on with the Museum's collections and learn about Western Australia, our land and our people. It is also home to dinosaur fossils which my children absolutely loved.
The Old Perth Goal is also found in the Museum and now contains many displays about Western Australia's early settler and convict history.
The Western Australian Museum is located in the Perth CBD close to public transport facilities and is open daily from 9.30am to 5pm (closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Years Day and Good Friday). Entry fee is via a donation.
I believe that the above mentioned activities are well worth doing or visiting, no matter what your budget is. Please note that prices and times are current as of September 2011.