"As soon as you arrive in Perth, get out of the city,” might be weird travel advice to hear, but many amazing family friendly experiences can be found beyond the city centre.
Perth’s Sunset Coast includes the stretch from Scarborough to Yanchep and Two Rocks in the north, and is a coastal microcosm of good food, land and aquatic adventures a-plenty and - of course - sunsets that stay etched in your mind forever.
So, if you’re visiting Perth with the family, here are some ideas to discover the best of the Sunset Coast, from sunrise to golden hour and beyond.
City of Wanneroo: nature trails, waterside dining and outdoor cinema
The City of Wanneroo sits about 25 kms north of Perth’s CBD and incorporates the suburb of Wanneroo to the east and the coastal townships of Clarkson, Mindarie, all the way north to the laidback beachside town of Yanchep, home to the eponymous (and very kid-friendly), lagoon.
For nature-loving families…
There’s plenty going on in these parts to suit families of all ages and interests (yep - even your teens!). For a family of nature lovers nothing beats starting the day with a visit to Yanchep National Park, where you can say hello to the resident roos and koalas, and - if you’re feeling daring - take to the trees yourselves with an afternoon of ziplining at Treetops Adventure. Older kids might also be keen to visit the Crystal Cave, the only tourist cave in the Perth city limits.
All that adventuring is bound to work up an appetite and the historic Yanchep Inn is a great stop to refuel. Don’t leave the park without getting a sugar hit at the onsite chocolate shop, located within the Yanchep Lakeside Tearooms.
When golden hour hits, stretch out on your own sandy vantage point along Yanchep Lagoon. This patrolled swimming spot is popular among tourists and locals, and if you’re there on a Friday evening you might even catch the fortnightly food truck market, complete with a silent disco to keep the kids entertained.
For families looking for laid-back entertainment…
If laid-back entertainment is more your style, make tracks for The Marina, Mindarie. This marine hub is a veritable melting pot of great dining and entertainment offerings. The Indian Ocean Brewing Company is great for hearty serves of classic ‘pub grub’ as well as beer tasting flights to sample some of the brews made on site. Alternatively, head a little further down the Marina promenade to The Boat, home of a seriously good seafood platter and stunning waterside views.
Got younger kids in tow? No worries! Life Boat is open Friday to Sunday and is designed for families who all want to have a good time. Adults can sip a drink or two and take in the views while the kids burn energy on the playground. When the sun sets, linger for the free movies that are shown every Friday and Saturday.
And if you like a bit of wildlife spotting…
Move slightly inland and Lake Yellagonga awaits. It’s a natural border between the suburbs of Wanneroo and Joondalup, and is named for Yellagonga, a leader of the Whadjuk Noongar who lived on the north side of the Swan River. Lake Yellagonga is bordered by a 16-kilometre trail that’s best explored on two wheels. As you bike around, keep an eye out for some of the locals, including kangaroos, long-neck turtles and myriad birdlife.
Neil Hawkins Park is a popular picnic spot in these parts, or you can head to nearby Leapfrogs for at Wanneroo Botanic Gardens. If you’re at the gardens on a Wednesday to Sunday evening, definitely hang around for a round of Glow Golf - you can even request to keep a golf ball to take home as a souvenir.
City of Joondalup: aquatic adventures, go-karts and more
For marine adventures above and below sea level…
Hillarys Boat Harbour is where many visitors come to take connection ferries across to Rottnest Island. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t plenty to do on the mainland! Start by beating the crowds with a morning at the very kid-friendly AQWA, complete with touch pools and plenty of interactive games to keep kids occupied throughout (as if the brilliant live marine displays weren’t impressive enough!).
Wander back along to the main promenade for lunch at any of the bars and restaurants that border the waterfront. You can find everything from coffee to fish and chips, burgers, gelato and more, and there are plenty of great boutiques to browse after your meal. Don’t forget to pack your swimmers for a paddle in the marina or take to the summer Island Aqua Park, a fun inflatable obstacle course on the water. Hot tip: book the 4.30pm session and you can stay until 7pm.
Thrill-seeker family? Try kitesurfing!
Families with older kids might want to level-up their aquatic game with a kite surfing lesson. Kite Bud offers two-hour beginner lessons at Pinnaroo Point, which you can do in the morning before heading to the newly opened Hillarys Beach Club, a short stroll away. The ground-floor Bar Cichetti is a great spot for brunch or lunch, with a separate kid’s menu available. The house-made pasta is a must.
For families looking for indoor activities…
Whether you’re a family that prefers indoor activities or want to while away a rainy day, head uptown to the City of Joondalup where there are plenty of options to keep kids (and adults!) entertained.
Burn off some energy at Bounce indoor trampoline park, with other challenges including a high ropes course and cliff jump. Got a need for speed (and kids over 10 years of age)? Bring out your competitive sides on the racetrack at PowerPlay electric indoor go-karting centre. Keen for an afternoon of classic games? Book a lane at Zone Bowling. Want to try a little bit of everything? Flip Out Joondalup features climbing walls, an inflatables course and mini golf all under one roof.
City of Stirling: sunset markets and the ultimate indoor entertainment
Burn energy at the ultimate beachside playground…
Scarborough Beach is a favourite for surfers and seasoned ocean swimmers, but there’s still plenty to do on dry land in this vibrant neighbourhood.
Start with a visit to Whale Playground along the main esplanade. Named for its whale skeleton design, the playground is inspired by Noongar culture and caters to kids of all ages and needs. It does get pretty crowded on weekends, so bear that in mind if you’re with smaller children. There are plenty of seats for parents to relax and enjoy a coffee break while keeping an eye on the kids.
When hunger strikes head across the road to The Lookout burger bar, which also doubles as a bowling centre so you can hit the lanes after you eat. (Tip: if you’re driving in, park under the adjacent Rendezvous Hotel Perth Scarborough, especially if you plan to come here on market day!).
Scarborough really comes into its own when the sun goes down, and one of the most popular spots to watch Perth’s famous sunsets is at the aptly named Sunset Hill. Every Thursday, the nearby Scarborough Sunset Markets have dinner plans sorted. You’ll want to make sure you’re wearing your stretchy pants so you can snack on everything from satay skewers and dumplings to paella, tacos and Korean fried chicken, all enjoyed with a side of live music. The kids will love the incredible desserts on offer including artisan chocolates and fairy floss sculpted into kawaii characters.
For families looking for a one-stop entertainment hub…
A ten-minute drive north-east of Scarborough takes you to Karrinyup Shopping Centre, an all-in-one hub if you’re looking for an easy day out with the kids. There is so much to entertain under one roof, including a Hoyts cinema, Holey Moley mini golf, Strike bowling, the Archie Brothers Cirque Electriq arcade centre, and the newly opened Hijinx Hotel - an immersive games space where you work as a team to complete challenges. Little kids aren’t forgotten - the ball pit, slides and role play areas at Playdate Kids Cafe are sure to keep them busy.
While all of these places have cafes on-site, you’ll find more alfresco dining options on ground level of the main shopping area. Either way, you could easily spend a day at Karrinyup with the family and still make it over to one of the nearby beaches for golden hour.
From Scarborough to Hillarys, and up to Mindarie and beyond – the Sunset Coast holds so many possibilities for quality time with the family in Perth. Wherever you choose to explore along the Sunset Coast, there is an activity to suit the whole family.