While your children can learn about the natural world through books, there’s nothing like experiencing it for themselves. It’s no surprise that Perth, which is teeming with native flora and fauna, is a great place to begin that education.
Open up their eyes to the world of the quirky quokkas and friends
Just a 25-minute ferry ride from Fremantle will take you to Rottnest Island, a paradise for nature lovers. There you can introduce your children to the famous quokka (yes, that happy-looking marsupial you’ve seen in selfies) on a guided walk during your stay.
Or take a stroll along the West End Boardwalk, and watch as your kids learn about the unique habitats of some birds like the muttonbirds which burrow into the sand.
From September to December, Rottnest is also a great place to take your kids to see humpback and southern right whales spending time with their newborns in the sheltered waters off the island.
Learn how to feed a giraffe at Perth Zoo
A mere five minutes from the city centre, the Perth Zoo is home to around 1200 animals in three distinct zones: Australian Bushwalk, Asian Rainforest and African Savannah. Your children will relish seeing zebras, elephants and white rhinoceroses roaming freely in the African Savannah, or spotting koalas, wombats and kangaroos in the Australian Bushwalk.
For older children, the zoo’s Close Encounters programme offers an insight into the world of a zookeeper. They can feed a giraffe, have breakfast with an elephant or stroke the shell of a Galapagos tortoise, one of the world’s longest living species! No doubt you will enrich your kids’ knowledge of the animal world by seeing such variety up close, at such an early age.
Find out all about local flora and fauna in Kings Park
Instead of waiting for textbook chapters on flora and fauna in school, why not show your kids the real deal? Overlooking the Swan River in the heart of Perth, it is one of the largest inner city parks in the world.
Two-thirds of the park is natural bushland, which means it’s the ideal place for your children to discover some of the region’s distinctive native plants and birds. After traipsing high above the treetops on the Federation Walk, you can teach them about local fauna through a series of information plaques.
Instead of waiting for textbook chapters on flora and fauna in school, why not show your kids the real deal?
The walk also gives you a majestic bird’s-eye view of the park. And there's more – if you go along with an Aboriginal guide, you’ll be treated to the ancient Dreamtime story and some valuable advice on traditional bush medicines.
See dolphins and sea lions up close on a kayak trip
Perth sits on the banks of the meandering Swan River, and its spectacular coastline features stunning white-sand beaches such as Cottesloe and Scarborough, renowned for their clear waters and beautiful sunsets. But to keep the children active, and immerse yourself in the environment of Perth’s waterways, why not take a kayak trip?
On a half-day guided kayak tour on the Swan River, your children will learn about the wetland habitat and watching black swans glide and dolphins play. In the Shoalwater Islands Marine Park just south of Perth, they see sea lions and penguins in their natural habitat, swimming, and diving in the clear blue coastal waters off Seal and Penguin Islands. Your kids will actually thank you for the time spent away from their tablets and electronic devices indoors!
Experience Perth in its natural state
Before the British arrived and established the Swan River Colony in 1829, Perth was dotted with many freshwater lakes that the local Noongar people depended on for food. As the city grew, these were reclaimed for small farms, parks and housing.
But now both you and your kids can experience Perth in its original state at the Perth Cultural Centre. Here a former chlorinated water feature has been transformed into a freshwater wetland filled with native species, including fish, frogs and small invertebrates, so your children can discover what Perth was like 200 years ago.
Discover rural life on a farmstay and see magical underground caves
A short three-hour drive from Perth will bring you to Margaret River, where your children will be able to learn about life on a farm.
Sunflowers Animal Farm and Farmstay is a 315-acre cattle property, the ideal place to teach your children about farm activities such as feeding animals and collecting eggs. At the Animal Farm, you can pet and cuddle 350 animals, including alpacas, lambs, ducks and Shetland ponies.
While you’re in the area, a visit to some of the region’s caves are a must. Discover glittering chambers and ancient fossils deep under the ground, and learn all about the long-extinct giant animals known as Australian Megafauna.
These are just a sample of Perth’s natural wonders – if you want them to get out and discover nature, there can hardly be a better place or teacher for your kids to learn than Western Australia’s capital.
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Best Time to visit
Perth is a pleasant place to visit year-round. Summer (Dec-Feb) delivers beautiful conditions if you don't mind the heat, but the period close to Christmas can be a bit crowded. Early spring and late autumn are the optimum times to aim for.
From the airport a taxi to the city centre will take around 25 minutes and cost about AUD$40 (taxis are metered). The airport shuttle bus is AUD$15 each way. Perth's Central Area Transit (CAT) buses are free and a great way to get around the city.
The Australian dollar (AUD$) is used throughout Australia.
Fly directly to Perth from Changi Airport via Singapore Airlines, Jetstar, Scoot and Qantas. Search for airfare deals and book your tickets now!