I'm a freelance writer living in Perth. Having 2 young kids with endless energy, we are always on the lookout for new outdoor activities.
Published February 25th 2014
So many options to choose from
Free Activities in Perth - March 2014
See Lucy Durack at South Perth Fiesta this month
Summer is officially finished and some people might think that marks the end of the festival season too. However, we can still catch the tail end of the Perth International Arts Festival. On top of that, there are also more local but not less fun festivals such as the South Perth Fiesta. Also, there are always one-offs and regular weekend activities you can take your family to. So it's all just a matter of choosing which one suits your interest and availability. Enjoy.
The so-called Family Spectacular Events as part of the Perth International Arts Festival are finished. However, there are still interesting exhibitions going on which could provide inspirations and provoke your family to think outside the box. These include:
Bali – Return Economy (Fremantle Arts Centre; until 27 Mar, 10am-5pm): An exhibition of videos, paintings, and Balinese arts, exploring the relationship between WA, its people, and Bali.
Paramodelic – Graffiti (John Curtin Gallery, Curtin University, Kent St, Bentley; until 17 Apr, Mon-Fri: 11am-5pm; Sat-Sun: 1-5pm): Rooms decorated with toys and plastic train tracks with the result looking like artistically designed alien landscapes
The Tenth Sentiment (John Curtin Gallery, Curtin University, Kent St, Bentley; until 17 Apr, Mon-Fri: 11am-5pm; Sat-Sun: 1-5pm): A room of everyday artefacts caught in the headlight of a model train, causing a moving shadow play.
Shadow Land (Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery, UWA, Crawley; until 19 Apr, Tue-Sat: 11am-5pm): Photo arts made in response to the disbanded library at the Fremantle Prison.
The Refusal of Time (PICA, Perth Cultural Centre; until 27 Apr, Tue-Sun: 10am-7pm): An installation combining videos of drawing, film, music, animation; and a sculpture representing a 'breathing machine'.
Embassy (PICA, Perth Cultural Centre; until 27 Apr, Tue-Sun: 10am-7pm): A recreation of the 1972 Aboriginal Tent Embassy, a controversial trilogy of his recent videos, and some of his paintings
South Perth Fiesta When: 8-22 Mar. Where: Various locations in South Perth. More info here.
This major festival by the City of South Perth have both the free and paying components and this article is listing out the free-of-charge portions that suit families.
Going Yellow (Sat, 8 Mar, 8-9am; Neil McDougall Park, Clydesdale St, Como): This is a one hour morning bike ride before the Itty Bitty Picnic (see below). Wear your brightest yellow clothing and come early to register prior to the event. (All ages.)
Itty Bitty Picnic (Sat, 8 Mar, 9am-12noon; Neil McDougall Park, Clydesdale St, Como): A morning of miniature fun, including storytelling, a petite morning tea, kids activities, games and plenty of itty bitty amusements. (Suit 2-8yrs).
Angelo Street Marketplace (Sun, 9 March, 10am-4pm; Angelo St, South Perth): This is the official launch of the Fiesta 2014, with quality wares by local designers, food options, two stages (including a kids' stage), music and entertainment, fashion parades, a pet corner, and photography exhibition. There will be road closures and gold coin donations for some parking areas.
PJs and Popcorn with the Library (Fri, 14 Mar, 5.30pm for a 6pm start; South Perth Community Hall, Cnr Sandgate St and South Tce, South Perth): Wear your brightest pyjamas to watch The Muppets (2011). Bring some comfy cushions if you wish and popcorn will be provided. Registrations essential here.
Waterford Plaza Street Festival (15-16 Mar, from 11am; Waterford Plaza Shopping Centre, Cnr Kent St & Manning Rd, Karrawara): Waterford Plaza's outdoor promenade will host this cultural, food and entertainment showcase, featuring market stalls, fresh produce, samples, cooking demonstrations, roving and stage entertainment. Alternate parking will be available in the Curtin University D1 Carpark (access of Beazley Avenue) with a shuttle bus to and from Waterford Plaza.
Colours of Our Culture - Film Night (Sat, 15 Mar from 6.30pm; Waterford Plaza Shopping Centre, Cnr Kent St & Manning Rd, Karrawara): Straight from the Waterford Plaza Street Festival, you can just spread your blanket and cushions and watch movie selections from Colourfest Films including Bran Nue Day (PG), an Australian comedy which tells the story of a young man's youthful rebellion and his journey of self-discovery that ultimately leads him back home.
Colour Wrap (8-22 Mar; various locations in South Perth): Some street furniture and other objects will be wrapped with coloured ribbons to create a colourful temporary art installation. Contact 9474 0708 for wrap locations and times and collect ribbon pieces from nearby businesses to contribute to the artwork. (All ages.)
Floral Combustion (19-22 Mar 7-9pm; Scented Gardens, Sir James Mitchell Park, Mill Point Rd, South Perth): The trees of the Scented Gardens will come alive with light in this sculptural video projection by Roly Skender. The audience could interact with elements of the projected imagery to influence and transform this large scale artwork.
Paint Box... Focus on Flora (15-23 Mar, 10am-4pm; Heritage House, 111 Mill Point Rd, South Perth): The first solo watercolour painting exhibition of local artist Kerry Henry whose passion has been drawing and painting flora.
Fiesta Concert Showcase (Sat, 22 Mar, 5-9pm; Sir James Mitchell Park, Mill Point Rd, South Perth): This concert will be the official conclusion to the 2-week celebration. The evening will feature Perth's own international star Lucy Durack, the Western Australian Youth Orchestra, aerial dancers and stilt walkers, and at 9pm the event will go out with fireworks.
Regulars and One-Offs
Cruelty Free Festival When: Sat, 1 Mar, 10am-4pm Where: Princess May Park, 92 Adelaide St, Fremantle More info here.
If asked for an opinion, I think we'd all agree to the principle of cruelty-free life. The debate if any is more on the definition of cruelty itself. Does eating roast chicken constitute cruelty? Hmm.. The jury is perhaps still out on that one. Anyway, keeping just the general principle in mind, we could celebrate the cruelty-free notion and attend this festival and have fun at the same time. Other than the expected information on various ways we could live cruelty-free, there will also be cooking demonstrations, food stalls, fun activities for children, live music, and raffle prizes.
When: Sun, 2 Mar, 12-6pm Where: Northbridge Piazza, cnr Lake & James Sts, Northbridge
More info here.
This monthly event has a theme of "Innovation and Sustainability" for the month of March and to that effect, the two movies presented will have something relevant as moral of the story. The first one to open the event will be The Lorax (2012) at 12pm. And to close the event, it will be a Danish animated movie titled The Great Bear (2011) at 4pm. In between the two movies, there will be some children activities (usually one or two physical activitities like bouncy slides or mini golf, plus another one or two stall-type activities like decorating cupcakes or airbrush tattoo), face painting, balloon artistry (forget sausage dog and sword, think octopus complete with 8 tentacles, goggly eyes, and air bubbles). All in all, not a major festival but definitely a pleasant way for the whole family to spend a Sunday outdoor without breaking the budget.
Hyde Park Fair
When: 2-3 Mar, from 10am. Where: Hyde Park, Vincent St, North Perth.
More info here.
Similar to previous years, Hyde Park Fair will occupy the greater part of the March long weekend, so we have no excuse to spend three days being a couch potato. Hyde Park is a good size park, so this event will be able to spread itself, with plenty of space for the stage, rides, sideshow alleys, and stalls. Not everything is free of charge, but even if you have a budget of $0, at the least you would be able to enjoy some free children entertainment, both on and off stage, a walk in the park, plus the opportunity to poke your noses into the various stalls on display.
Sculpture by the Sea
When: 7-24 Mar Where: Cottlesloe Beach, Cottlesloe
More info here.
Enjoying the beach and Sculpture by the Sea at the same time (2013)
Another annual event not to be missed. Everyone in Perth should spend at least a day on the beach while admiring the various artwork presented. And don't forget to bring your kids into the indoor exhibition too. Simply name "Sculpture Inside," it opens from 9am to 6pm daily at the Cottesloe Surf Life Saving Club building. Although the sculptures there are necessarily smaller, they're not less interesting than the outdoor ones.
Music by Moonlight
When: Sun, 9 Mar; from 7pm
Where: Burswood Park Foreshore, off Resort Drive, Burswood
More info here.
Music by Moonlight is a popular annual event which is always well-attended and for a good reason too. When concert tickets cost in the hundreds, it is not often feasible for us to take the whole family to such events. This one though, is one of just a few free outdoor concerts featuring an orchestra in the area of Greater Perth. On stage, Western Australian Youth Orchestra will bring us music from all over the world while we enjoy our picnic dinner or simply close our eyes and listen.
When: Sun, 30 Mar. Where: Your neighbourhood.
More info here.
Do you know that for the last ten years we have a day dedicated to celebrating neighbours? If you can't think of anything else, that question is as good as any to break the ice with the people living next doors to you--your so-called neighbours. And if you find yourself keep putting off that dreaded knock on your neighbour's door just to introduce yourselves or ask for a favour while you're away (what if they're horrible people, or worse, what if they think we're horrible people), this last Sunday of March could be your saving grace. Armed with Australia's Neighbour Day Celebration as an excuse, you can go and do this few minutes courtesy. Who knows: They may be very nice people, and they may think you're very nice people too.