There are some great places to visit in Perth when your wallet is open. It’s no secret the city is pretty pricey. But can you get by with no money at all? We think so.
In no particular order here are our kids’ favourite things to do in Perth, Western Australia that won’t cost a cent.
There are beautiful beaches all over Perth. Pristine white sand, cold blue ocean and great facilities. Some of our favourites north of the river include:
- Hillarys – This is a marina with restaurants and a truckload of attractions. But free to use is the enclosed beach with jetty for jumping off, slide from a pontoon and a shaded playground on the white sand in front of the warm water.
- Mullaloo – A beautiful green area, great for BBQs with friends and several playgrounds.
There are some countries that just don’t do public playgrounds, for instance finding one in Bali was a mission. But Australia has plenty of free, outdoor playgrounds that the kids will go nuts over. Our favourites are:
- Rotary Park, Wanneroo – this park is huge with forts, climbing structures, spinning teacups and, of course, swings. Bring a picnic and let the kids go wild. Also perfect for parties with several shelters with tables, free BBQ facilities and benches.
- Heathcote Reserve, Applecross – A giant pirate ship sits on a hill overlooking the magnificent Swan River. It’s fun for the kids and a feast for parents’ eyes.
- Pitstop Playground, Banksia Grove – Bring the kids bikes and scooters and let them drive around at this park like a regular car, complete with signs, stop lights and some very big hills for climbing.
The malls all seem to come with small play areas these days, so when the kids’ whining becomes to much it’s time for a break. Some of our favourite shops that cater for kids are:
- Bunnings – our local hardware store holds a decent size playground for kids. There is a café next door and they even have free face painting on the weekends. It will cost you a few bucks for a hot dog treat as well if they behave. Visiting Bunnings is like visiting an Australian institution.
- Joondalup Lakeside mall – is set to become one of the largest in the state. Upstairs are a number of small areas for kids to watch a movie, colour or climb. Parental supervision is required so grab your coffee and rest those weary shopping feet. In Joondalup you will also find a supermarket, IGA, on the top floor with a crèche that offer to take the kids for you for free while you grocery shop!
Perth has many open spaces so public parks are plentiful – you won’t have trouble finding one. There are small parks with green grass and playgrounds or you can opt for the really big parks like:
- Whiteman Park – The largest parkland in Western Australia where you’ll find museums, trams, a wildlife park, BBQs, picnic shelters, dog park, mini water playground, and more.
- Kings Park - Synergy Parkland is a wonderful area for kids to run and play in. They even have a playground in the middle of a lake, that’s almost like visiting a castle surrounded by a moat. Along with this is Rio Tinto’s Naturescape. If your kids love sticks, rocks, water and climbing they are going to love this place. It’s made for adventure and fun.
The Margaret River wine region and the Swan Valley region are scattered with stores that offer free tastings. I’m not talking about the ones in the supermarket, I’m talking gourmet. From free cheese, honey, fudge or chocolate at the Swan Valley Chocolate Factory. Your kids will have a blast trying all the free food and you won’t pay a dime, unless you are tempted to buy a whole lot more.
Public libraries around Perth offer many activities for kids, from story time to rhyme time to reading time. Take the kids indoors out of the heat or rain and cosy up with a book yourself. Most of them also offer free Internet access and a range of other services.
7. Water Playgrounds
It’s hot in Perth and water playgrounds are thankfully popping up all over the place. You can now find kids playing in a labyrinth of water fountains in the centre of the city at Forest Chase. Otherwise you could also visit:
- The Ellenbrook Water Playground – there’s no pool here so it’s perfect for even the little ones. There are plenty of colourful water guns, buckets and more.
- Hyde Park Water Playground - cannons, sprays and buckets that fill up with water and tip out their contents creating ensuing screams of delight! Great play for parents and kids.
8. Outdoor Cinemas
While there are plenty of cinemas you have to pay for, local councils and community organisations hold free cinemas in suburban parks from time to time, particularly during the warmer months. You can always ask a local which one is happening near you.
9. Free Trials
During the holidays or the beginning of the calendar year many different activities entice parents and kids with free lessons. You can take a month in karate, a lesson in gymnastics, or some prancing around at Fairy Dancing. These are a great way to keep the kids amused during holidays and, maybe, even find out your child’s passion.
While it’s hard to find a list of restaurants in Perth that offer kids facilities, we have been working our way through them. You can find restaurants that cater for kids like Café Elixer, Wanneroo that offers colouring books and pencils for free. Or perhaps you want them really out of your hair so check out Portofinos, Quinns Rocks where they can play on the gated playground while you sip a coffee. Lastly there’s even restaurants like Hog’s Breath that offer to eat kids for free (yes that’s not a typo) Monday to Friday from 5pm – 6:30pm with any main meal purchased.
Whatever your budget there is always something fun to do when planning your family trip in Perth – you just have to know where to go. We hope this list has helped eradicate some of your concerns when visiting Australia’s most expensive city, and you’ll find out why so many people love this beautiful place.
If you are looking for more opportunities South of the River, read our guest post!