Bringing you the best of Perth. If you like this article, click the heart below and subscribe for more. If you have an event/place that you'd like to see on WeekendNotes, let me know!
Published July 3rd 2017
A Mostly Free Day of Fun
Is it a totally crazy to take two kids on a tour of Perth? It might seem so, but I've done it, and I'm here to tell you that it can be done. Shocking as it may seem, it can even be fun! But here are my top tips, including the places I went, and the things I would do differently. By using public transport and a packed lunch, it was a cheap (the biggest expense was a very large coffee), and very exciting day out for the kids.
We started out the day in Darlington, which is well out of the city, and as I didn't have access to a car, we were public transport the whole way.
Any parent knows preparation is key. Before we left I made sure we had food, snacks, water, sunscreen, bathers and hats packed. All of this went under the pram. Packing a simple sandwich lunch meant that the whole day cost next to nothing.
A hit with the kids. Image Courtesy of the DFES
We took the bus and then the train, arriving at Mciver station. I was recommended to a great place for everyone with kids- the DFES Education and Heritage Centre. This was a short walk from the train station (long enough I was glad to have the pram, though). The city, with its big buildings, was eye opening for the kids and they enjoyed the walk. The centre is located in a defunct fire station, and was a win-win, being completely free and something both educational and fun. For teachers it would make a great outing, and the kids certainly had fun when we went. On the ground level, there is an old fire engine which the kids can climb all over and take photos in, as well as small hard hats and safety jacket for dressing up. Upstairs was an interactive level with walkthrough games, a tsunami simulation, and heaps of information on natural disasters and safety. There is also a small reading and colouring room. The kids had so much fun there, and I can't believe how great value it really was.
Image Courtesy of Wikipedia / By Dcoetzee - Own work, Public Domain,https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6832253
Next, we went to the Supreme Court gardens- the pond with the ducks and statues provided entertainment, and there's plenty of shade for having lunch and a bit of a relax. Parks in the city break up the day and give small legs a bit of a break. The Supreme Court garden links nicely with the barracks street jetty and Elizabeth Quay. The Belltower costs money to go inside, but we just looked around the shop and took some fun photos before moving on to Elizabeth Quay.
Elizabeth Quay was one of the highlights of the day. It is designed especially as a kid-friendly space, and there was so much for them to see. If you wanted a shorter trip or simpler itinerary, you could easily cross on the ferry and spend a morning or afternoon just at Elizabeth Quay. The playground on the island was a lot of fun, and because it is enclosed, you can rest easy knowing they aren't going to run away. The cafe next to the playground was a little pricey, but has an undeniably great location. We crossed back to the mainland on the bridge, which was a little vertigo inducing for one of the kids!
The Rio Tinto water park was closed when we there, but on the warmer days is great for kids to cool off and have some fun. Forrest place Water Labrynth is right next to Perth train station, so we trekked up there for a cool off before getting dressed and heading home. All of these activities- the Fire Station, the Belltower, Elizabeth Quay, and Forrest Chase Fountains could have lasted longer. I'd recommend keeping it to only two or three places- the kids were very tired by the end. Having the pram helped a lot, as well as taking breaks to relax.
The way back also didn't go as smoothly as I had hoped- one of the risks of public transport is that some buses are not wheelchair or pram friendly- there was an awkward wait while the apologetic driver wrangled our pram onto the bus (and off again). I'm sure Transperth are phasing out these buses with more inclusive ones, but it is something to keep in mind!
All in all, it was a great day and the kids kept up really well. Keep in mind, as you may already know, that kids will be having fun right up until the point they have an exhausted meltdown! And that was it, the only costs were my coffee (if you want to do the full day you'll probably need one too), and public transport in and out- for two kids and a student it was pretty cheap.
Final tips? Pack plenty of snacks, go with the flow and don't overdo it. Hopefully, this guide is useful for planning your own city excursion and remember that even if its sounds exhausting - you can make it as relaxing or exciting as you like!