Freelance writer and photographer with an interest in science communication. Always looking for new experiences and discoveries! Find out more at www.lagom.com.au
Published December 20th 2015
Where to explore with kids in Toodyay
Toodyay is a great place to visit with kids. Being so close to Perth and major centres such as Midland and Northam, it's ideal for a day trip.
If you're travelling from Perth take advantage of the AvonLink or Prospector train, a gorgeous trip. The train is under-used but is an ideal way to travel with children as you can interact and relax on the journey. A train ticket is also valid on the TransPerth network, so you can catch a connecting service for free all the way to Mandurah, Joondalup etc. The town centre is very compact and the train station gets you practically to the main street, so you won't miss the car.
The Old Newcastle Gaol (Toodyay was known as Newcastle until 1910) is an easy walk from town over the train line, however you may choose to drive. A family pass is $10 and you can explore the courtroom, cells and prison stables for yourself. The building was constructed using convict labour and is a fascinating piece of European settler history. Some of the historical artefacts may only interest the adults, but the opportunity to look inside an old gaol cell is always popular for the kids.
Back across to train line to Duidgee Park you'll find Toodyay's miniature railway, loved by locals and visitors alike. For a small fee ($3 adults, $2 kids) you can take a trip around the 1km loop track. You can also hire a train for a birthday party then make use of the surrounding park for a picnic party. The train runs on the first and third Sundays plus Wednesdays in school holidays, but only from April to November.
If you come at another time there is still plenty to do in the surrounding Duidgee Park. The skatepark features quarters, flat banks, fun box, ledges and rails and the new stage two bowl is complete. The skatepark is nicely located amongst the rest of the park so if you have a range of ages everyone can still be close by. There is a range of play equipment, BBQs, ample lawn and picnic tables. The park also leads down to the banks of the Avon River, which flows during winter and recedes in the drier months.
If you walk under the traffic bridge you'll find yourself back on the main street, via Stirling Park. If you happen to be in town on the third Sunday of the month, the Toodyay Farmers Market is held here from 8am-noon in summer and 9am-1pm otherwise. There is plenty for all ages here, the kids might enjoy an ice cream or a look at the alpacas.
Toodyay Bakery is a great place to stop in for lunch. They offer a great range which is affordably priced. The quality is above-par with all the classics plus sourdough bread, pies with local Macabee lamb, madras goat curry pies and much more. The upstairs seating was a real surprise- a spacious area with a dedicated kids play area and great views. There are also plenty of interesting historical photos to peruse upstairs while the kids play. Prams are accommodated via a lift from the ground level.
Shopping with kids isn't always fun but Toodyay has a few treats for the whole family. It's always Christmas at Christmas 360, WA's largest Christmas store. It's a wonderland that is sure to delight anyone. There are also some mesmerising window displays which can be viewed from the street. The retail store is closed January-March but otherwise open 7 days.
Toilets are always needed when out with kids! Toodyay has some public toilets located right in the centre of the main street in the Town Hall building, so you don't have to deviate far. They are very well maintained but do have stairs, so not so easy with a pram.
Toodyay is a popular weekend destination so you should find most things open seven days, but always check when you plan your visit. If you want to stay longer there are a few farm-stay accommodation options that would be an ideal experience for kids.