18 free or cheap things to do in Perth in winter
Brave the weather and enjoy exploring your city.
No matter the time of year, there are countless activities in and around Perth that are sure to keep kids of all ages entertained. Whether it’s free or cheap, adventurous or tame, indoors or outdoors – there’s an activity on this list that your kids will love.
It might be anything but snorkelling weather outside, but AQWA has made it easy for you to see the wonders of the sea while staying completely warm and dry. There are mesmerising tanks full of glowing jellyfish and colourful corals and a touch pool where kids can safely hold sea stars, sea cucumbers and other sea life. Arguably, the most exciting exhibit is the underwater sea tunnel, where stingrays larger than a dinner table, turtles and reef sharks glide overhead.
A family of four (two adults and two children) can access AQWA for $90, with a 10 per cent discount given to valid RAC member card holders. Entrance is free for children under three.
2. Scarborough Sunset Markets (winter edition)
It was too hard to say goodbye to the beloved Scarborough Sunset Markets at the end of the summer season, so instead of pausing the wildly popular event, the organisers have tweaked a few things and continued them throughout winter.
The markets have shifted from their usual Thursday night time slot to a Saturday but will still showcase a varied range of cuisines and creators. Head down between 3.00pm and 8.00pm with the kids for a hearty dinner and some outside time, set against a backdrop of turbulent winter ocean.
3. Explore the Swan Valley Kids in the Valley Trail
After significant rainfall, the rushing Bells Rapids are a sight to behold, and they’re just one of your pit stops on a day out on the free Swan Valley Kids in the Valley trail. The rapids join nine other stops on the drive route, starting at Whiteman Park and winding up with chocolate freckles and peanut brittle at Whistler’s Chocolate Co. Along the way, kids can meet native wildlife at Caversham Wildlife Park and WA Reptile Park (stops two and five, respectively), and parents can indulge in a hearty lunch while the kids play at stop number three, The Henley Brook. Download the trail map at swanvalley.com.au.
4. See Lightscape at Kings Park and Botanic Garden
See Kings Park as you’ve never seen it before at the internationally acclaimed Lightscape. From 16 June to 30 July 30, the tree canopies will be glittering with lights, and the lawns will be peppered with glowing light tunnels and enormous illuminated flowers. Rug up and head down to see the spectacle after dark.
5. School’s Out Winter Fest
Set aside some time during the winter school holidays for snow sliding, ice skating, and dodgem car riding. The best part? You can do it all under one roof. The Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre will be transformed into a winter wonderland for the School’s Out Winter Fest from 1-16 July, complete with all your favourite carnival rides.
Tickets start from just $39 (plus booking fee) and include entry for one child and one adult, one ice rink experience, three snow slides, ten rides, and four adult rider passes.
6. Go ice skating
With Perth’s mild winters, strapping on your skates and gliding across a frozen lake seems as foreign as seeing snow-dusted trees. But it doesn’t mean you should abandon the thought of ice skating in Perth completely.
Head to Cockburn Ice Arena, where you can rent a pair of skates to slide and spin your way across one of their two large ice rinks. Follow up a session on the ice with a warming hot chocolate at the cafe or a bowl of wings at Cabin 401 Bar and Grill.
RAC members can save on platinum ice skating vouchers when pre-purchased online.
7. See a movie
Rainy days are the perfect time to cosy up with some fresh popcorn or a choc-bomb at movies. Get out of the elements for a few hours and settle in to watch the latest blockbuster from the comfort of the heated cinema.
The good news? RAC members can access discounted tickets to Hoyts, Ace Cinemas, Palace Cinemas, Grand Cinemas, and Event Cinemas.
8. Visit WA Museum Boola Bardip
If you haven’t yet seen WA Museum Boola Bardip’s tremendous facelift, now is the time. Find some respite from the rain beneath Otto, the blue whale skeleton, and amongst the ancient wildlife fossils in the gallery on level three. If, somehow, that’s not enough to convince you to pay the museum a visit, perhaps the limited-time exhibition of ancient Egyptian mummies and artefacts will do the trick.
It’s an affordable day out for the family, with a standard entry of $15 per person and free entry for anyone 15 years or younger.
9. Go indoor rock climbing
Burn off some of that pent-up energy from staying indoors with a lengthy session on a rock wall. There are plenty of indoor climbing centres around the metro area, including Portside Boulders and Adrenaline Vault, which have ample support for beginners to the sport. Harness up the kids, clip on a helmet, and join them or watch them as they scramble up the wall with seemingly no fear.
10. Tee off at mini golf or go bowling
You don’t have to be the next Tiger Woods to enjoy swinging a golf club, though you may want to start smaller than your local golf course. Instead, tackle a specially designed indoor mini golf course, like Northbridge’s extravagantly-themed Holey Moley. Putt your way through Hogwarts with ‘Harry Putter’ and take your photo on the Nine Iron Throne before changing tack and heading into the city to knock down a few pins at Strike.
RAC members can get a package including a round of mini-golf (nine holes) at Holey Moley and a game of bowling at Strike for just $30 per adult and $20 per child.
11. Head to the Morley Rollerdrome
Roller skating is having a retro resurgence, and the Morley Rollerdrome is one of the best places in Perth to dip your toes into the pastime. There’s a half-hour session run at 9.30am each Saturday to familiarise newbies with the art of skating, followed by a morning ‘free skate’ session, where there’s music, games, and plenty of friendly staff roaming around to assist should you need.
At just $15 for entry and skate hire, it’s an affordable activity for the whole family to join in on.
12. See the WA Maritime Museum exhibitions
When one museum visit isn’t enough this winter, add a stop at the WA Maritime Museum to the hitlist, too. You’ll get to explore hundreds of significant historical objects that showcase WA’s maritime heritage, including the America’s Cup-winning yacht, Australia II. Until 16 July you can also see a special exhibit on giant prehistoric reptiles, Sea Monsters: Prehistoric Ocean Predators.
Entry is $15 per person and free entry for anyone 15 years or younger.
13. Take a family-friendly bike trail
Make the most of those beautiful blue-sky winter days that Perth so regularly has with a cycle through nature. It’s a free activity, it’s healthy, and it’s the perfect excuse to get out of the house. Bundle the family and the bikes up and head to Herdsman Lake for an easy ride, or gear up for a lengthier 12km trail out in the Swan Valley. For a gentler family trail by foot, visit Swan Valley Station and stroll the 700 metre sculpture trail, explore the kid’s playground and grab a coffee at the station’s cafe.
RELATED: Best family bike rides in Perth »
14. Go to Scitech
Whoever said that learning couldn’t be fun has obviously never spent a few hours at Scitech. Through interaction with more than 40 playful displays, kids can learn all about some of the more fundamental theories of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics — it’s a cheeky way to get a little bit of education in on school break.
Tickets to Scitech are $15 for children aged between 4 and 17 and $24 for adults. Or, you can get a ‘mini group’ pass (two adults, two children/one adult, three children) for $63. RAC members can save 10 per cent on pre-purchased tickets online.
15. See the Giants of Mandurah
Having five of the Danish recycling artist Thomas Dambo’s Giants dotted around Mandurah is a major coup for Perth, bringing people from all over the state to discover the artworks and the southern city at the same time.
To begin the self-guided trail of sculptures, first head to the Mandurah Visitor’s Centre and pick up a traveller’s companion. Then, once you’ve found Vivi Cirkelstone and its giant friends, collate all the symbols from along the way and enter them into the code generator machine back in the heart of Mandurah, which will spit out the location of the final giant, Jyttes Hytte.
16. Head to the Pottery Playroom
When the weather starts to turn, the arts and crafts box certainly gets a good run for its money. Take the creative time, and any associated mess, outside of the house and book a session at Joondalup’s Pottery Playroom. Not only will the kids get to paint their very own plate or mug to take home, but they can also burn off a bit of energy in the soft play centre and ball pit.
Though jumping and rolling through the puddles on the backyard trampoline sounds like fun, a whole world of (dry) fun is waiting to be explored at Bounce. It’s part trampoline park and part play centre, suitable for adults and children of all ages. Little ones can work on their agility in the multi-sensory soft play area, while anyone with slightly more advanced skills can tackle the free-jump arena, an area of 50 interconnected trampolines, tumble tracks, and banked walls.
18. Go on a family-friendly waterfall walk
After lashings of rain, Perth’s waterfalls are at their best so save your attempt at finding them for late in the season. You might also see wildflowers starting to line the trails, too. If you’re stuck on where to go to find these natural wonders, there any plenty of waterfalls only a short drive from the city.
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