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 December 15th 2012
Recreation at the airport, why not
When we imagine an airport, we'd naturally think of a place where people go only if they have business there, either to fly out of the city, pick somebody up, or to go to work. Who would've thought that an airport might have recreational spaces that are open to the general public? But Perth Airport does, and not just one, but two of them too.
Watching a Take-Off at the Public Viewing Area
The first one is the Public Viewing Area, on Dunreath Drive (the road that links the International and Domestic Terminals). Located just 300m from the airport's main runway (Runway 03/21), it allows us to watch planes take off or land. One disadvantage of the position is that it's very near one end of the runway, so that smaller planes tend to have gone up before they pass right in front of our noses.
The Public Viewing Area is in front of Runway 03/21
More than just plane-spotting, there are also various signages that are informative and interesting. For example, there is one long sign comparing the shapes and sizes of various aircrafts, so children can look at the plane taking off and decide whether it's a Boeing 747, Airbus 380, or what?
There are historical information too, and one old photo I found interesting was the photo of the Perth Airport with a decorative pond and black swans in it. Definitely not friendly for the black swans to be in such a small pond and noisy environment, but it does look nice amidst the background of planes.
The Viewing Area itself is elevated so that you are about the right level to view the planes (and not just look at landing gears passing by). It's open from 6.30am to 7pm (October to March) or 7.30am to 5.30pm (April to September). Access is by a wheelchair friendly ramp. There are ample parking spaces here and some shaded seatings.
The second recreational area is the Kwenda Marlark Walk Trail. It's a 900m walk trail located on Tarlton Crescent (off Horrie Miller Drive, the entrance road to the International Terminal). The walk trail is surprisingly well appointed considering it is not really in a prime recreational area. Some parts are shady, other parts are more open, and still other parts are actually quite picturesque with boardwalks over a body of water and viewing platforms.
There was not a soul in sight when we visited it on a weekend morning and I thought to myself that if this sort of walktrail is located at say, Kings Park or Whiteman Park, it would surely be a very popular area instead of a deserted beauty.
One of the viewing platforms
So the next time you're too early for your flight, need a free parking space while waiting for your FIFO partner/ friend to call and inform you that they've landed, or just plain run out of ideas on where to take the over-energetic kids, think of these two recreational spaces at Perth Airport.