A delightful day out in Perth doesn’t have to be a strain on the purse strings. Whether you’re local or just visiting, a family-focused, budget-friendly blend of ocean and bushland, culture and adrenaline, day tripping and staying put awaits any herd hungry for adventure in a city that lounges on both coast and riverside. Make your way through our list of top free activities for families and you’ll come away an expert on the attractions and atmosphere of the Western Australian capital – all without spending a penny!
1. Enjoy a nice day at Cottesloe Beach
A Perth icon, especially in summer months when the heat drives crowds to the coast in droves, this city beach is well worth a visit to get wet. Wannabe waxheads can catch a wave, budding biologists can snorkel over underwater marvels, and aspiring architects can get sandy and build some fabulous castles on the kilometre of pure white shore. Land in March and you’ll catch the annual outdoor exhibition, Sculpture by the Sea.
2. Take part in the Swan Valley’s Great Valley Rally
A treasure hunt trailing past Swan Valley’s favourite foodie haunts and historical havens makes for a great day excursion. Kick start your free family adventure at the Swan Valley Visitor Centre, where you can pick up the map to the Rally or to the Amazing Valley Chase at no expense. Take your time following the clues and when you’re done, collect your certificate from the Visitor Centre!
3. Visit Kings Park and Botanic Gardens
This inner-city oasis is saturated in settlement history and proud Indigenous culture. Free guided walks are available in the no-admission garden attraction, but you can easily make your own way beneath the Perth skyline and alongside the Swan River. You can see thousands of flora native to Western Australia, a giant Boab tree, a Water Garden and a treetop walkway.
4. Visit the Perth Cultural Centre
Smack bang in central Perth, this handy precinct encompasses every arty, musical or dramatic delight you can dream of. Start off with the big guns like the Art Gallery of Western Australia, PICA (Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts), the State Theatre Centre, State Library and WA Museum. Then branch off into the curious and quirky, with pop-up and street-style eats like Polly coffee and Flipside Burger Bar, outdoorsy retreats like the Wetland and Urban Orchard and backstreet boutiques like Noise Pollution, dedicated to new and old records.
5. Step inside the Fremantle Markets to experience the unique atmosphere of almost a century of thriving culture and tradition
Operating with the same hearty, community feel since 1897, follow your nose, taste buds and sense of fashion to what has become a local establishment. The aroma of coffee and fresh-baked bread and delicious samples of fresh fruit and veg will fuel your survey of the textiles, homewares and knick-knack stores in funky Fremantle.
6. Snorkel at Shoalwater Islands Marine Park
Less than an hour south of the CBD in Rockingham, this marine park is perfect for snorkelling and bird-watching. In fact, the protected offshore Penguin Island (accessible by paddle or foot at low tide – there is also a ferry at extra cost) is manned by flocks of its namesake, as well as silver gulls, cormorants, pelicans and terns, all of which can be viewed from a beach or picnic table. Otherwise, snorkel the shipwrecks in search of a dolphin or sea lion!
7. Enjoy a family hike at Lesmurdie Falls
A quick and easy wander will take you to viewing platforms overlooking these mighty falls and surrounding coastal plains. Several trails of varying durations and degrees of difficulty leave from the large car park, which also has picnic and toilet facilities.