Hugh is a lover of all things outdoors, and enjoys finding adventures with his two young kids in Perth, Western Australia.
Published May 2nd 2018
Beating boredom with nature in Perth's Southern suburbs
A miserable April day found us huddling inside with two bored kids vegging out in front of the TV. They'd been at each other all afternoon and my threats of selling them to the circus were completely ineffective. In a fit of frustration, I grabbed dog leads, three apples, raincoats and plastic aeroplanes and bundled everyone into the car. Despite clear evidence of a storm on the horizon, we headed to Manning Park for a leg stretch.
Manning Park is situated on Azelia Road in Hamilton Hill. We parked at Azelia Ley Homestead Museum and walked past the museum to the start of the Davilak trail. The 2km walk is a well-maintained gravel path that winds it's way up the hill through the bush. It's enough of a challenge to get your heart pumping, but easy enough going for short little legs. The bush always has plenty of nature on offer with seasonal flowers, bugs and spiders to hunt, and a variety of bird life, but it's the view from the top that makes the hike well worth the effort. Two newly renovated lookout points afford spectacular views: east towards the hills, back over the park and lake, where you can watch Carnaby's Black Cockatoos come home to roost on most evenings, and west out towards Garden and Rottnest Islands.
There are a multitude of little side paths that meander here and there before joining up with the main path again - great for letting the little guys follow their noses and get a little lost. Our detour on that day led us up an overgrown path up the side of the hill and it delivered us to the western viewing platform, where we raced each other to the top up the spiral paths while the sky darkened around us and the smell of rain filled the air.
The approaching storm looked ominous; dark clouds racing towards us over a shimmering Warnbro sound. Shafts of light played on the ocean's surface and bathed the abandoned Fremantle Power Station in gold. Our aeroplanes where launched time and time again into the face of the bracing Southwester, which whipped them around, lifted them, turned them this way and that and delivered them deep in into the bush to be retrieved by two very much non-bored boys. Faces that were pale and grumpy 20 minutes earlier were now glowing pink and full of wonder at the sight of nature about to unleash itself on us.
The first misty spray ahead of the storm sent us scampering towards Manning stairs. The stairwell was devoid of the regular crowd of fitness junkies, save for one lone runner determined to slog it out come rain or shine. Fat raindrops chased us down the stairs and back to the car in a damp steaming heap.
Less than an hour later, we were home, energised and all friends again. Thanks to fresh air and a bit of adventure, the circus could wait.