During a time when everyone is tightening their purse strings, there’s no better place to enjoy free family fun, adventure and entertainment than in Western Australia’s extraordinary capital city, Perth.
Perth has a glorious climate, wonderful natural attractions and a relaxed and care-free vibe - so get out and enjoy the sunshine!
Pop on your snorkel and take the plunge into the crystal waters of Shoalwater Marine Park, just one hour south of Perth. Here you will find cavernous reefs, seagrass meadows and long lost shipwrecks. You won’t be the only one taking in the underwater attractions, as Sea Lions, Penguins and Dolphins frequent the waters of the park year round.
Kings Park, the largest inner city park in the Southern Hemisphere, is the perfect place to spend a sunny afternoon out doors in Perth. There are plenty of grassy spots with breathtaking views of the city so you’ll be sure to find a quiet corner for a family picnic or afternoon nap. In spring, the Botanic Gardens come alive with colourful wildflowers, and the view of the river from the Federation Walkway is unforgettable. Free guided walking tours of the park depart from the Visitor Centre daily at 10.00am, 12pm (this time available from 1 September to 30 June only) and 2pm so visitors can discover the life that abounds in the park.
Pack up the tent and head an hour north of Perth to Lancelin for a weekend getaway full of adventure. Home to the famous sand dunes - adrenalin lovers frequent Lancelin with their sand boards, motorbikes and 4WDs for the thrill of racing up and down the monstrous dunes.
Just over the dunes is crystal blue water, perfect for a refreshing dip. The crumbling waves make it an ideal place to learn the art of surfing, with some bigger waves out back for the more advanced board riders.
4. Brush up on your cultural knowledge
Right in the heart of the city you’ll find the Cultural Centre, home to Perth’s art gallery, museum, state library and the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA). This hub of Northbridge is the perfect place to spend the day awakening your cultural senses. All venues are just a gold coin donation entry so head to the State Library to find information on your ancestors, or browse through the endless gift ideas at the art gallery gift shop.
Exhibitions at these centres change frequently, so you can visit as many times as you like.
Bibbulmun Track is one of the world’s greatest long distance walk trails, spanning just short of 1000 kilometres, from the eastern suburbs of Perth, to Albany. Walkers can take a leisurely day trip from Perth, starting out near Kalamunda in the Perth hills. Those wishing to spend the night outdoors can bunk down in one of the 48 overnight campsites and shelters provided.
Stretching 332 kilometres from Mundaring to Collie in Australia’s South West, the Munda Biddi bike trail will eventually stretch the whole 990 kilometres to Albany. Make your way out to Mundaring and start cycling on a journey of unspoilt bushland, aboriginal culture and rich heritage. Camping shelters and provided for free for those enthusiastic riders wanting to make a weekend escape.
7. Sunsets in the West
The amazing beauty of a sunset over the water is not to be missed. Locals and tourists alike will pause and watch as the sun goes down in brilliant array of colour over the ocean. Cottesloe beach is a perfect spot to sit on the grassy steps with fish and chips, or at the hotel with a cold beverage in hand. Which ever way you choose to relax on a lazy afternoon, you’re sure to be impressed by the sunsets in the west.
Spend the afternoon touring the Swan Valley without even opening your wallet! That is unless you taste something you can’t go home without. With numerous wineries and producers in Swan Valley offering free samples of their best delicacies, the Swan Valley is sure to impress. Choose to ignite your tastebuds with wine, beer, cheese, chocolate, ice cream, olives and much more.
The Mandurah estuary and inlet will provide you with seafood to fill your dinner plate all year round, from river prawns in early summer to king prawns in autumn. Find a fishing spot to drop your line off the landings under the estuary bridges, or take you boat out into the 155 square kilometres of unspoilt waterways. The inlet is also famous for its blue-manna crabs which can be caught during summer and autumn, with an annual crab festival happening in March each year in celebration of this tasty delicacy.
York is Western Australia’s first inland settlement, and is one of the few towns left to enjoy Historic Town classification. Dotted with fully restored Victorian and Federation buildings, York is a beautiful town to walk through the streets and learn about Western Australia’s history at the many historic sights. With a vibrant annual events calendar, it’s not just historians who’ll be amazed by the charm of this town.