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 January 31st 2016
Nature, history and leafy streets
Woodbridge is suburb steeped in history, with the best of modern conveniences. Nestled between Guildford and Midland, Woodbridge has its own train station on the Transperth line, which will place you not far from the action.
From the train station, cross the road and head for the lights of The Junction Ice Creamery, an award-winning ice creamery that was opened in 1986. Stepping inside is like a throwback to a good old fashioned milk bar. They also have waffles, ice cream cakes and other desserts on offer. As well as this they also have a surprising range of savouries, which make an ideal lunch. If you're keen to keep moving you could grab lunch to takeaway and keep heading down First Ave towards the river.
Woodbridge Riverside Play Space is located off the end of First Ave. This is a fantastic play space which incorporates all abilities play features. You'll find a riding track for scooters or bikes, a mix of heights and things to climb, swing on, spin on and more. Another nice feature is the water play-space where kids can experiment with dams and water flow. As with many nature play spaces, the adults can't resist joining in the fun. There are also plenty of family sized tables to use.
Flying foxes at Woodbridge Riverside Play Space. Pic: Lagom Agency
times. The regular sound of milk frothing suggests they do a consistent trade of caffeine. There are plenty of toilets located in the park, although on the day of our visit they were needing maintenance. One good feature is that the park is fully fenced, so you can relax a little.
Being located right next to the Swan River, you can also explore under the shade of large trees and read a bit more about the history of the area. This also incorporates part of the lovely shaded John George Walk Trail .
If you stroll west along the John George Walk Trail for 1km you'll come to Woodbridge House, tucked away behind the high school (if you're coming by car you will enter from Ford Street). This site was originally taken up by the colony's first Governor, Captain James Stirling. It was later purchased by Charles Harper, who demonstrated his position and wealth by building the home that stands there today.
As well as being home to the large Harper family, it had many reinventions, and now is thankfully managed by the National Trust. You might not expect history and kids to be a great match, but just ask the friendly volunteers about their activity sheets; the kids will be busy spotting 'rats' downstairs as well as solving a puzzle upstairs in no time. Everything of importance is safe behind glass cabinets and the rooms with furniture are viewed behind a rope barrier. For the adults this is a fascinating piece of WA history. The grounds are also yours to explore, with rolling lawn, gardens and some stunning views of the Swan River. Woodbridge House is open Thursdays-Sundays 1pm-4pm (closed July and over Christmas). Entry is $5 for adults, $3 for children or $12 for a family.
Woodbridge also extends to the other side of the train line, where there are some more treasures to explore. Just over 800m from the station you'll find Coal Dam Park. This dam previously stored coal stocks during the Midland Railway Workshop days. It now has a boardwalk around it so you can walk the loop. Some of the original track and bridges have been retained (in their state of disrepair) which adds to the fascination for kids. So, pack your walking shoes and plan a day in Woodbridge!