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In Quest Of: Perth-fect playgrounds great for Western Australia travel with kids


Perth playgrounds

Often themed and designed with a variety of stimulating materials, Perth has hundreds of thoughtfully constructed playgrounds across its CBD and suburbs.

Sun shades and fine, white non-sticky sand are standout features of many play areas, as is a decent cafe or restaurant nearby.

One of our favourite spots is Freshwaters, a sleek cafe with views across a bright green lawn to sailboats moored in a peaceful suburban bend of the Swan River. Open daily from 6am to 8pm, it serves a delicious breakfast and a small selection of baked goods which we savour as our toddler rolls in the grass.

Or we grab our food to go and eat while she splashes along the bay’s thin stretch of calm, child-friendly beach – a win for water babies, for whom the cold and often turbulent surf makes most of Perth’s coastal beaches inaccessible.

Alternatively, we head for the large, shaded playground just behind the cafe, with two separate play areas of slides, rope bridges and swings for kids of all ages.

In the CBD, Elizabeth Quay’s Island Playground has a marine theme, with multi-tiered wood and steel crow’s nests accessible by rope bridges and ladders suited for older kids.Balancing logs and water-play areas provide entertainment for toddlers.

On the opposite side of the quay, at the BHP Billiton Water Park, dozens of fountains and water features are a child’s delight on a hot day.

In addition to 400ha of fields, flowers and native bushland, Kings Park has four adventure playgrounds which highlight their natural surroundings. Climb up towers, squirm through tunnels, walk across a web of rope and into a maze at Variety Place.

At the Rio Tinto Naturescape Kings Park – less playground and more nature-exploration zone – children can touch and smell the local flora, climb rocks and splash through watering holes in well-maintained native bush.

At May Drive Parkland on the western side of Kings Park, a 75m-long elevated walkway, large climbable statues of extinct Australian dinosaurs and megafauna, an island fort, and vast stretches of green lawn provide ample space to play, particularly for children six and up. The nearby Zamia Cafe offers sustenance for all.

The Ivy Watson Playground to the north is perfect for children under five, with a sandpit, pirate ship, maze, fire truck and an obstacle course all designed for littles.

At one of Perth’s best city beaches, Whale Playground in Scarborough features slides, balancing logs, rope courses, swings and a wooden fort built in and around structures designed to look like 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 favourite for swimming, and walking, riding or running along the foreshore paths. There are two playgrounds: the smaller one is shaded with a rope swing, a large sand pit and a wooden boat-shaped climbing structure, while the larger playground has two play areas, a wooden fort for older children and a blue whale-themed structure for toddlers.

Make a reservation for a meal at Swell Mullaloo Beach for unbeatable Indian Ocean and sunset views. Secure a table next to the wall of windows if you can.

The toasted banana bread and Fisherman’s Breakfast of potato cake and smoked salmon with poached eggs, capers, dill creme fraiche, and fennel and rocket salad, enjoyed next to views of the bright 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 a day.

Pop into Sistas Cafe for refreshment before heading out to soak in the salt-sprayed and windswept beauty of the coastal path. A walk to Iluka foreshore, the closest beach south, takes about 40 minutes’ return. Or continue back to Mullaloo, an hour and 15 minutes away. Keep your eyes peeled for migrating humpback whales from August to November.

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