Perth is located on the west coast of Australia. It’s the capital of the state of Western Australia and a long way from the main cities of Australia’s east coast. In fact, Perth is closer to Singapore than it is to Sydney and is one of the most remote cities of its size on earth.
This is why it’s taken us so long to visit Perth with our kids. It’s cheaper for us to have a trip to Asia than stay at home in Australia and when you throw in a long flight and a 3 hour time zone change, it’s easy to think we are better off flying for a few more hours and hitting Asia.
However, we finally made it a priority to visit Perth as both Josh and I have visited Perth in the past individually and have had a great time. Josh has family in Fremantle and I have friends in Perth and we were excited to visit again with the kids.
When a long weekend came up with a student free day at S’s school tacked on and $89 flights were advertised on Tiger, we knew we had the perfect excuse.
Below you will find my guide to what to do in Perth with kids, a Perth attractions map, where to stay in Perth with kids, getting around Perth and other information you need for an easy (and fun) visit.
Kings Park is a huge park located on the edge of Perth’s CBD in West Perth. It is easy to visit here from the centre via the free CAT buses.
This park is home to the Western Australian Botanic Gardens and the State War Memorial. For families looking for kids activities in Perth, there is the Lotterywest Family Area.
This is a big playground area with a cafe. It’s a lovely playground with some cool things like a pretend plane, and a boat area with a castle.
It’s aimed for kids under 6, but I think kids a bit older than this will love it too (as did our 6 year old). There are areas for toddlers in the playground. There are also some flying foxes and a big climbing frame nearby too.
I was a little bit disappointed by this family area. This is because my expectations were wrong. I expected something beyond a playground (maybe because the Children’s Garden in Melbourne’s botanical gardens is quite creative), and it is just a playground. However, it is a great one.
If you are like us and up way too early after flying from the east coast, it makes for the perfect place to start the day.
The kids absolutely love science museums, so Scitech was high on our list of things to do in Perth for kids. It’s also a great choice if you are looking for indoor activities for kids in Perth. We loved it.
By now, we have been to a lot of science museums in many destinations. I must admit that they start to blur and, although I can find good in all of them, they stop standing out to me much at all. Scitech Perth was different.
The exhibits are fun and interactive. Although it’s on the smaller side for a science museum, there is plenty to do and it’s good for young kids.
What really makes this science museum stand out for me, however, are all the shows.
They have three types of shows: the planetarium, puppet shows and science demonstrations. They are all superb and there are 2-3 different shows for each category running throughout the day. These are all included in the entry price.
The planetarium was a highlight for us especially as the kids are very interested in space at the moment. They were mesmerised (as was I!) and it was fun to learn about where everything is in the night sky right now. That night, we went outside and tried to find the things mentioned.
The puppet shows and science demonstrations were also a very high quality and I congratulate Scitech for having such fabulous staff and shows.
We visited on a weekday during school term and if you can do this, it’s great! There’s enough people around so you don’t feel strange but not many people at all.
Find more information on their website. We paid $52 for a family ticket which I think is very good value. Kids under 4 are free but cannot visit the planetarium. We took the free CAT bus from the city centre.
Hyde Park is a big park area to the north of the city. It’s perfect on a hot day if you are looking for things for kids to do in Perth because it is home to a water playground. I recommend taking a picnic and spending a couple of hours.
There is also a water playground at Rainbow Waters, Ellenbrook.
Elizabeth Quay is a controversial development at the waterfront in Perth. We found it a lovely place with a few fun things to do in Perth with kids.
If it’s a hot day, you will want to head to the water play area. Our kids (even 9 month old baby J) loved splashing around here and it entertained them for hours.
Other family activities in Perth located here include a playground and carousel. When we visited, there was also a big open air beer garden with food stalls which made for a perfect stop for lunch.
If you need suggestions of where to take kids in Perth, Perth Zoo a place to start. Spread over 42 acree, it is located in South Perth. It’s a great place offering loads of activities for kids in Perth and a chance to see some of the most iconic Aussie animals and ones from around the world.
The zoo is large enough that spending a day here with the family is easy and there’s loads of suggested itineraries. Popular ones include the Awesome Aussie Icons where you can see iconic Australian wildlife and the Heritage Trial where you’ll learn about different periods of the zoo’s history making it one of the best places to go in Perth for kids.
Also, if you don’t have time to head over the Rottnest Island then the zoo is a great place to see a quokka – definitely one of Perth’s most iconic animals.
The zoo also has a souvenir shop open daily and the Wild Bites Cafe making it a great place to relax and enjoy a coffee and a bite to eat.
You may want to look into purchasing your tickets before you visit – especially during busy periods like school holidays. You can purchase a Mini Group pass for 2 adults and 2 children, but if your children are under 4 it can be cheaper to just purchase two adult tickets as children under 4 are free. You can buy tickets from their website.
A recent addition to the Crown Casino complex in Burswood, the Crown Theatre is a large theatre that plays host to many big stage productions and concerts. S and I (Josh) went out to see Matilda the Musical which had just opened in Perth when we visited. S had already seen it but was keen to see it again and it was a great night out. It’s a great venue for seeing shows.
If there is something you’re interested in seeing and you’re in Perth then a trip to the Crown Theatre or one of the smaller theatres is worth adding to your Perth itinerary for family.
The Crown complex has a few restaurants but most are high end and not budget or particularly family friendly places for kids in Perth if you’re after a pre-show meal or post-show supper.
Crown Theatre is to the rear of the casino in Burswood, just across the Swan River to the east of the CBD and just off the Great Eastern Highway. Buses 36 and 39 (and some others) run from St. George’s Terrace and through Burswood leaving a short walk to the theatre. A taxi back to the CBD at night cost $20.
Perth has some gorgeous beaches and Cottesloe is one of them for some kids fun in Perth. It’s also easy to visit this beach by taking the train if you aren’t driving. It’s located about 30 minutes outside of the CBD. It’s a great place to add to your Perth itinerary with kids when the weather is a bit warmer, plus there’s some good restaurants and cafes nearby to make the most of your visit.
Fremantle is my favourite part of Perth and definitely worth a day (or more!) of your time in Perth.
South of Perth lies the city of Fremantle. Originally a separate city in its own right the spread of Perth’s suburbs has seen it become an outlying part of Perth. That said it retains its own character and still feels quite distinct.
Fremantle has a strong cafe and food culture and along St. George’s terrace there is a vast array of cafes, coffee shops, pubs and restaurants covering every meal of the day. Many of its original streets are well preserved with old but well maintained buildings giving central Fremantle a historic feel that central Perth lacks.
Although not as big as central Perth, Fremantle has a lot of attractions for kids or for those without kids. Fremantle suited us better than Perth and personally I like it more. It feels more relaxed and is easier to get around thanks to its smaller size.
Fremantle is accessible by both train (lying at the end of the Fremantle line) and ferry. You’ll find loads of kids activities that Fremantle offers below.
The Maritime Museum is located on the water’s edge in a very cool looking building in Fremantle. It was the first of the fun things for kids to do in Perth that we visited in our day in Fremantle.
The WA Maritime Museum is swish. The building is spectacular and there’s lots to look at including numerous boats hanging in various positions and a big shark with an amazing amount of teeth. The exhibits are well labelled and there are some interesting parts.
Kids will enjoy looking at some of the exhibits and there are also some special Perth kids activities including photos of some parts of the museum that the kids have to find, a special area where they could make origami sea creatures and another part where they could design a plate.
When we visited, kids were free and adults were $15 each. WA Maritime Museum is walking distance from Fremantle station.
To the north of Fremantle’s Esplanade Park is another of the fun places for kids in Perth. The WA Shipwrecks Museum is a branch of the Maritime Museum dedicated to things found in shipwrecks. The coast of Western Australia was the final resting place for many ships including the Dutch ship Batavia.
The museum is small but has everything from ships’ bells to cannons to steam engines (that still work apparently) salvaged from the sea floor. Most famous are the remains of Dirk Hartog’s voyages and things from the Batavia. It’s an eclectic collection but interesting enough for a visit if you’re passing by.
The museum is spread over two levels (there’s an elevator if needed) plus there are baby change facilities. Our stroller was able to get around fine.
Entry is free although there’s a suggested donation of $5 (per person maybe – it wasn’t clear). The free Fremantle Cat bus (red route) stops about 100m away.
In Esplanade Park, near the playground, is a forty metre Ferris wheel that will give you a great view over central Fremantle. While we were content enough with the playground if you’re after something else to do while lazing around on the grass in Esplanade Park then taking a gentle ride might fit the bill. One of the best things to do in Fremantle if you’re in a slow exploring mood.
You can find more information on their website.
Western Australia can make the argument for doing more than any other Australian state when it comes to bringing craft beers to the mainstream. Fremantle in particular has a long tradition of microbreweries and beers available in just one pub.
Perhaps most famous, (once) small brewery, Little Creatures, is a great place to head. It started as a pub and microbrewery and is now a much larger beer hall and microbrewery (one of many). In the “great hall” you’re in the middle of the brewery, surrounded by pipes and vats. It’s a big space and can get quite noisy. Luckily, there are a few other smaller places to drink in the building next door which are a bit more intimate.
Fremantle being Fremantle this beer hall has a family friendly edge. Out the back is a large sandpit and on a warm day (like when we visited) it was full of parents drinking beer and kids playing in the sand. A stroller won’t be out of place here although if the weather is good try and get there early as it gets busy.
There’s food to go along with the drink at not too bad prices.
Not your typical family attraction in Fremantle but the kids enjoyed the sand while we enjoyed a not so quiet craft beer.
Read more on their website.
Being a port, Fremantle has no shortage of waterfront. Some of it is rocks or sea wall but there’s plenty of beach too – both in central Fremantle and nearby to the north and south. In the summer going to the beach is perhaps one of THE things to do in Fremantle with kids (or without)!
Centrally located, roughly located between the Maritime museum and Little Creatures, is Bathers Beach which lines the shore of Bathers Bay. There’s toilets and other facilities around the place and it’s a short walk to places for food, drinks, ice cream or into the centre of Fremantle. Nearby is the sculpture park and Kidogo art gallery.
Being so close to the centre of the city it is popular with locals.
My favourite Fremantle beach is South Beach, not far to the south of Bathers Bay. There are cafes, toilets and other handy facilities. Nicest of all is an adjoining strip of shade and grass underneath tall pine trees. There’s a playground somewhere along this strip and although a bit more effort if swimming is on your list of top things to do in Fremantle then South Beach is a great choice.
Off the coast from Fremantle and easily visible on a clear day is Rottnest Island. The island is reached by ferries departing both Fremantle (in ~30 minutes) and Perth (in ~90 minutes).
Rottnest Island has some great diving and snorkelling and a day trip out is one of the best Perth kids attractions if this is your thing. On land there is little motorised transport so cycling is the main mode of transport.
The quokka, a small wallaby like marsupial, is Rottnest Island’s most famous attraction. Seeing these animals is definitely a one of the truly fun things to do in Perth for kids. Without any natural predators on the island, the quokka is unafraid of humans and you can get up very close to them.
In addition to the list of what to do with kids in Perth listed above, these are some other Perth attractions for kids that I came across when planning our trip that didn’t fit in for us but might suit your family:
If you are looking for more things to do, read this list of suburbs to visit from Perth native, Amanda.
There are lots of accommodation options in the city. We stayed right in the middle of the CBD and it was great for getting around and access to food (during business hours – most things shut early, open relatively late and have limited hours on weekends if you are used to east coast cities).
Next time we visit Perth, we want to base ourselves in Fremantle. It’s a lovely area and a valid alternative to staying in the city.
Here’s some suggestions for the best place to stay in Perth with family:
City Stay Apartment Hotel – Offers affordable one and two bedroom apartments for families and is positioned close to Perth family attractions. Rooms are well equipped and the property has a pool, fitness centre and BBQ equipment. Click here to see the latest prices.
Rendezvous Hotel Perth Scarborough – A step up, Rendezvous Hotel offers family rooms which include two double beds and are suitable for families of 4. Positioned outside of Perth’s CBD and away from family attractions Perth offers, the hotel does have 2 bars and a restaurant onsite as well as an outdoor pool, fitness centre and spa. Click here to see the latest prices.
Broadwater Resort Apartments – South of Perth’s CBD is the Broadwater Resort Apartments. With both one and two bedroom apartments, rooms are large and comfortable. The property also has a decent pool and garden. Click here to see the latest prices.
Tradewinds Hotel – Modern and trendy, located in Fremantle this hotel offers two bedroom apartments for families, a spa pool and free car parking. You can enjoy the best of Fremantle here. Click here to see the latest prices.
Getting around central Perth is a dream. There are a fleet of CAT buses that are free and run various routes around the CBD and surrounding area covering most kids attractions Perth offers. There are also CAT buses around Fremantle. My only tip is to avoid peak hour if at all possible.
I did not get a great first impression of Perth when we caught one in peak hour and no one allowed Josh to have a seat who was holding Baby J. One kid standing near us even took a nasty fall as he was too small to hold on properly. Still, no one stood up and gave him a seat!
We caught a train down to Fremantle which was easy and efficient. The staff at the train stations were super friendly and helpful. It’s possible to catch a boat to Perth Zoo from Elizabeth Quay.
Getting to and from the airport is easy and cheap on public buses. The airport one comes equipped with baggage racks.
We arrived late so we caught a taxi in and had a dodgy taxi driver who did not believe where we wanted to go and wanted to take us elsewhere! I suggest having Google maps and being very firm if you have a similar experience. It was very frustrating at what was 3am in our timezone.
Perth is a nice place to visit and spend some time. We enjoyed our time here but we also did not find it that interesting and I can’t see us rushing to return except to visit family and friends.
I know this is probably going to get me crucified by my Perth friends and followers, but I found it hard to even find things to do for kids in Perth that really appealed that much beforehand to either me or the kids. In fact, when I asked friends who live in Perth for suggestions of places to take kids in Perth, they struggled to come up with suggestions!
Hopefully, my list of what to do in Perth for kids will help you. There are quite a lot of things to do in Perth for families. The problem is that there aren’t many standout activities and for a city of over 2 million people, it seems very quiet.
We did enjoy Scitech a lot, Fremantle is a beautiful area and the coastline is pretty, but otherwise, I feel there are better places to visit in Australia. Sorry Perth.
My impressions are probably tainted by the fact that we arrived late at night and the kids never gave us a chance to catch up on this sleep. Add this to the fact that Baby J doesn’t sleep well and I was exhausted. Combined with our experiences on arrival with the taxi and bus ride the next morning and it put me in a grumpy mood.
We hear a lot in Melbourne about how expensive Perth is and, as a visitor, I did not notice this. We found it cheaper than Melbourne.
All in all, we did enjoy Perth but mainly because of the people we know that live in Perth.
Disagree with my thoughts above? What are we missing? What do you love about Perth?
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