In Quest Of: Perth-fect playgrounds, ideal for traveling with children in Western Australia
Often themed and designed with a variety of stimulating materials, Perth has hundreds of thoughtfully constructed playgrounds in the CBD and suburbs.
Parasols and fine, white, non-sticky sand are prominent features of many playgrounds, as is a decent cafe or restaurant nearby.
One of our favorite places is Freshwater, an elegant cafe overlooking a bright green lawn at sailboats moored in a peaceful suburban bend in the Swan River. Open daily from 6am to 8pm, it serves a delicious breakfast and a small selection of baked goods which we enjoy while our toddler rolls in the grass.
Or we grab our food to eat while she splashes around on the bay’s thin, calm, kid-friendly beach – a win for water lovers, for whom the cold and often choppy surf makes most Perth’s coastal beaches inaccessible.
Alternatively, we go to the large, shaded playground just behind the cafe with two separate play areas with slides, rope bridges and swings for children of all ages.
Elizabeth Quays Island Playground in the CBD has a nautical theme with multi-story wood and steel crow’s nests accessible via rope bridges and ladders suitable for older children. Balancing logs and water play areas keep toddlers entertained.
Across the wharf, at BHP Billiton Water Park, dozens of fountains and water features are a delight for children on a hot day.
In addition to 400 hectares of fields, flowers and native bushland, King’s Park has four adventure playgrounds that highlight their natural surroundings. Climb towers, wind through tunnels, walk a web of ropes and into a maze at Variety Place.
At Rio Tinto Naturescape Kings Park—less a playground and more a nature exploration zone—kids can touch and smell local flora, climb rocks, and splash through watering holes in manicured native bush.
At May Drive Parkland on the west side of Kings Park, a 75m elevated walkway, large climbable statues of extinct Australian dinosaurs and megafauna, an island fortress and sprawling green lawns provide plenty of play space, especially for children aged six and up. The nearby Zamia Cafe has food for all.
The Ivy Watson Playground to the north is perfect for under-fives, with a sandpit, pirate ship, maze, fire engine and obstacle course all designed for little ones.
On one of Perth’s best city beaches, Scarborough’s Whale Playground features slides, balancing logs, rope courses, swings and a wooden fort built in and around structures designed to resemble giant, sun-bleached whale bones.
A 30 minute drive up the coast from the CBD, Mullaloo Beach with its sparkling soft white sands is a popular spot for swimming and strolling, horse riding or jogging along the shore paths. There are two playgrounds: the smaller one is shaded with a rope swing, large sandpit, and a wooden boat-shaped climbing structure, while the larger playground has two play areas, a wooden fort for older kids, and a blue whale-themed structure for toddlers.
Reserve a meal below Schwell Mullaloo Beach for unbeatable views of the Indian Ocean and sunset. Secure a table by the window wall if you can.
The toasted banana bread and fisherman’s breakfast of potato pie and smoked salmon with poached eggs, capers, dill creme fraiche and fennel and arugula salad enjoyed alongside views of the brilliant blue sea are what Perth dreams are made of .
From there, walk an hour or drive 10 minutes north towards Burns Beach, where a large shaded playground provides hours of entertainment for dozens of children daily.
Dive in Sista’s cafe for refreshment before heading out to enjoy the salt-sprayed and windswept beauty of the coastal path. A walk to the foreshore of Iluka, the closest beach to the south, takes about 40 minutes. Or drive back to Mullaloo, an hour and 15 minutes away. Keep an eye out for migrating humpback whales from August to November.