My family was looking to do a day trip and I got online to suss out the prices of getting to Rottnest Island. Far out. Even if we left from Fremantle (instead of Hillarys which would be more convenient), used our Entertainment Book voucher for 25% off and pretended our four year old was only three, it was still going to cost over $100.
The options were to find a friend with a boat... or find a different day trip. A family friend suggested we try Lake Leschenaultia which is a 50 minute drive from Perth. It's in Chidlow (in the Shire of Mundaring). So we thought we'd give that a go.
It's free to get in to the lake, there's heaps of room to relax, plenty of wooden picnic tables, shelter and barbeques. When we were there the crowd included families with American accents to an Aussie family of Bintang-singlet wearers. Seriously - one group, EIGHT Bintang singlets.
We loved seeing all the ducks hanging around Lake Leschenaultia. They wandered on the sand, then ran and dived into the water.
First up we went for a swim and I was pleasantly surprised with the temperature of the water. My four year old grabbed his noodle and we swam out to the pontoon where I showed him how to jump off. He wasn't so keen but he liked the swim out there.
Meanwhile his younger brother was happy just splashing on the edge of the water. Although the temp of the water was nice, it wasn't a really hot day when we were there and if you took your shoulders out you started to get cold.
After our swim we set up on a picnic table for lunch. I won't be getting any Mum of the Year awards for what I packed - VitaWeats for me and homemade cheesymite scrolls for the boys. Far out, the ducks were friendly as soon as they saw the food. And they called to all their mates to come join the picnic. The boys loved it though. One of the first times they were keen to share their food. We had to stop them because I don't know the health benefits of cheesy mite scrolls are for birds.
After lunch the kids had a quick play on the playground while Dad packed some of our supplies back in the car and we applied another layer of sunscreen.
Next was canoes. Unfortunately it was three to a canoe so we couldn't all fit in one. But not to worry we hired two for half an hour. Paddling was hard. A breeze meant the canoe wanted to go in circles.
We also found that it was hard to get back into a canoe once you fell out. Luckily that wasn't us though - it was a group of three teenagers on the lake. One fell out then pulled the others in when he tried to get back on board. Then they just couldn't coordinate flipping the canoe and having all three jump back in. So the young canoe hire guy had to motorboat out to firstly, empty all of the water out of the canoe and then hold it still for them to get back in. Glad it wasn't us.
After the canoeing we went for a nature walk - can't say we saw much other than a dragonfly. But you did get a sense of being in the WA bush with the contrast of the orange gravel, the blue sky and the green, brown and grey nature.
And then we were stuffed and ready to go home.
So what did we spend for our awesome day out? Well you can count the petrol to get there (50 minutes each way), nothing for parking, nothing to get in, nothing to swim, nothing for lunch given that I went super thrifty and took stuff from home (but there is a kiosk for pies, ice creams and coffees), $25 for the canoeing and that's it.
I was really impressed what was on offer at Lake Leschenaultia and we look forward to going back. Next time we're going to camp. It's just $20 for a campsite and $8 per person over two years old. Find out all the details here.