Western Australia’s natural beauty and diverse attractions make it the ideal place to plan a family road trip. While the thought of being stuck in a car with kids for a few hours might induce a little anxiety, it doesn’t have to be stressful! With so many places to see in one large region, there are multiple things you can do to accommodate time limits and your kids’ interests. ?
To help you make the most of a family-friendly Australian road trip, we’ve got you covered with a handful of tips from recommended routes, activity ideas, and of course yummy halal food to help you plan the best adventure on the road with your kids!
1. Getting around
There is a lot to take into account before you decide to go on a road trip, so let us guide you through some important steps. First, car rentals are available everywhere in Western Australia. Most of them are located nearby airports and the Central Business District, making it super convenient for pick-up and drop-off. ? We recommend Apex, Hertz and Avis. If you don’t have a credit card, you may opt for Apex as they accept debit cards.
In terms of prices, they differ according to the type of vehicle. We also advise that you opt for additional car rental excess insurance for extra protection. Better be safe than sorry right? ? For a family of 4-5 people, consider renting a Midsize SUV as it’s spacious enough to fit both you and your luggage. To get quality vehicles at a much cheaper price, it’s always better to book early. However, it’s also important to highlight that while you choose your desired car during the booking process, you should still show up at the rental place as early as possible to avoid getting a different car assigned to you!
P.S. Don’t forget to check with the car rental company about child seats, which are compulsory throughout Australia for children up to 4 years of age. Babies up to six months are also required to be in a rearward-facing child seat.
2. Plan your route for an all-rounded experience
There are some incredible drives you can take in Western Australia but when it comes to choosing the right one for you and your kids, it all boils down to the duration of the trip (wouldn’t want them to feel restless!) and the activities that you can enjoy along the way. Here are 2 perfect routes for you and your family:
Indian Ocean Drive – Cervantes, Geraldton, Kalbarri
A favourite Australian road trip, driving from Perth to Geraldton on the Indian Ocean drive is a sweet escape for any family. In just 7 hours total on the road, you’ll get to see scenic views of the stunning Coral and Turquoise Coasts, drive past the amazingly pink Hutt Lagoon, and come across other rare natural sights such as the wildflower fields and the mysterious limestone formations at the Pinnacles.
This route also happens to offer family-friendly activities like a Lobster Shack factory visit, sandboarding on the sandboarding on the sand dunes of Lancelin, meeting meeting sea lions at Jurien Bay and participating in the Aboriginal cultural tour in Shark Bay. Find out what else you can do in our 5D4N Perth itinerary!
Southwest Nature Drive – Bunbury, Busselton, and Margaret River
The area just south of Perth is known for its greenery, beach views, and national parks. While you can reach Margaret River after just 3 and a half hours of non-stop driving from Perth, we recommend that you stretch your trip out over a couple of days to get the best of Western Australia’s fresh air and breath-taking sights.
Make sure to stop by Bunbury’s Dolphin Discovery Centre to learn more about the research and conservation of bottlenose dolphins and other local marine animals. The best thing about the Discovery Centre is its dedication to an ethical experience – meaning both you and the kids will get to learn more about dolphins and other marine creatures without disturbing the animals. Further south, Busselton Jetty is the Southern hemisphere’s longest timber jetty with some of the most stunning views you’ll ever see.
To get the best of local life, make sure to visit some farmer’s markets or community gardens along the way to see how local produce is delivered from farm-to-table. The produce you’ll get to try is so fresh and crisp, it’ll feel like you’re tasting familiar foods for the very first time ? Bunbury Farmers Market hosts over 150 local growers, giving you the best of Western Australia’s produce throughout the year – plus they sometimes mark prices down after 5pm so even if you arrive after most of the crowd leaves you’ll be able to grab some bargains to make up for it! Busselton’s Community Garden has volunteer days every Tuesday and Saturday morning where the whole family can help out and gain an appreciation for their food, and Margaret River’s own Farmer’s Market held every Saturday throughout the year shows off the hard-earned products of the farmers’ determination and grit.
To round off your tour of Western Australia’s stunning natural attractions, you definitely have to visit an orchard before you leave! Wonky Windmill Farm & Eco Park is one such orchard that offers visitors the opportunity to pick their own seasonal fruits between April to mid-December – you can even pay a small fee extra to meet and cuddle with their adorable farm animals too.
#HHWT Tip: The produce in these orchards change on a seasonal basis so make sure to research beforehand to see what you’ll be bringing home. We’re eyeing Wonky Windmill’s unique lemonade fruit produced during May-September, which tastes just like organic lemonade without the fizz!
3. Stay at family-friendly accommodations nearby the best attractions
As one of the most family-friendly places in Australia, there are plenty of holiday homes, hotels, and apartments to suit your family accommodation needs. From the likes of Airbnb, Booking.com, and many more, you’ll be spoilt with an extensive catalogue of places to stay! Here’s what we recommend:
Disclaimer: The prices below are based on our search for a vacation from 14-16 July 2019.
Airbnb: Lancelin Beachside (near Lancelin)
Get the most out of Western Australia’s beautiful ocean views by staying at a beach house ? With a back gate access to the Lancelin beach, your beachside holiday home is sorted. Conveniently located between the shopping area and the jetty, you’ll find yourself waking up to the cool breeze and the sound of crashing waves. Families of 4, this one’s for you! This solid brick house comes with 2 bedroom on the ground floor with a large backyard. If you’re not going to the beach, you can always use the backyard for your family activities.
Price: From RM442/SGD146 per night.
Booking.com: RAC Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort (near Shark Bay)
If you’re going up north, it’s probably best to book a stay for a night or two, especially if Shark Bay is in your itinerary. RAC Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort is one of the best-rated locations in Monkey Mia, offering a range of resorts from family studios to beach view rooms. Their Family Studio provides 1 queen-size bed, a single bunk bed and a roll-away bed, perfect for you and your kids. As the premise does not offer halal catering, you can enjoy the convenience of the personal kitchenette provided to cook your own dishes.
Price: From MYR656/SGD216 per night.
Farmstay: Margaret River Hideaway (near Margaret River)
If you’re travelling south of Perth instead, then a farmstay will be perfect in bringing you closer to nature than ever. Margaret River Hideaway and Farmstay's standard cottages have a mix of queen and twin-bed rooms, and come fully equipped with kitchen and lounge amenities for up to 4-6 people. The property includes a variety of animals, with feedings happening throughout the week that visitors can take part in. A simple breakfast of cereal, milk, bread, orange juice, and coffee or tea is included but the property is self-catering. (This would be the perfect time to make use of that fresh produce you bought at the farmer’s market!)
Price: From MYR444/SGD148 per night (prices change between peak and off-peak periods)
4. Participate in fun family-friendly activities
Nature and wildlife
Caversham Wildlife Park
For a day of new discoveries and wildlife lessons, drive to Caversham Wildlife Park, a family-run park that’s known to have Western Australia’s largest collection of native animals like the koalas, wallabies, possums, Tasmanian devils and even wombats!
For a full Australian experience, be prepared to spend at least 2 hours at the park where you can hand-feed kangaroos and feed koalas for free! You can even get a glimpse of whip-cracking, and sheep-shearing at the interactive farm show. Take a break in between and enjoy some halal steak pies at the Food Kiosk nearby the entrance.
#HHWT Tip: Caversham also houses the Swan Valley Mosque and Islamic Centre with prayer facilities so once you’re done exploring the wonderful Australian wildlife at the park, you can drop by the mosque and perform your prayers!
Ningaloo Reef Marine Park
You can’t miss out on the quintessential beach experience at the incredible Ningaloo Reef, situated in the north-west coastal region of Western Australia. If you’re on the Indian Ocean Drive, you HAVE to stop by. Regarded as the last great ocean paradise by the World Heritage Committee, this marine park is also the largest fringing reef in Australia where you can swim with cute turtles and check out majestic whale sharks! Simply step off the sandy white beaches and enter an underwater wonderland filled with a diverse array of colourful corals, and more than 500 species of marine life including dugongs, turtles and manta rays.
Go Cultural Aboriginal Tours & Experience
Located in Perth itself, Go Cultural is dedicated to keeping Perth’s aboriginal culture and history alive with its guided tours. One of the unique aspects of Go Cultural’s tours is their setting within the city itself – as you walk through the central business district and hear your guide’s explanation of Nyungar history, it’ll change your perspective on aboriginal culture forever. This is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime educational experience that’ll enrich your life and give you a chance to learn about a whole new culture and history.
Sandboarding at Lancelin
For a thrilling day with your kids, stop by Lancelin and sandboard on the pristine white sand dunes! Known as the premiere spot for sandboarding, this sport is pretty famous amongst locals and tourists are slowly picking it up. All you need is a sandboard which you can rent for AUD10 (2 hours) at the Lancelin General Store. Be sure to ask for the paraffin to wax your board as it helps to reduce friction for longer runs. Once you have that sorted, head over to the sand dunes and park your vehicle at the base of the dunes on the hard rock.
Treat your kids to a special day out at Adventure World in Perth where they’ll be spoilt with water slides and fun rides like the Tidal Wave or the Wahoo Speed Slides. For parents, you can always chill at The Lagoon. Dry off with some of the thrilling rides like the Little Leaper, Dragon Express or the Dragon Flyer.
5. Go on a shopping spree – with the kids in tow!
While you may not think of shopping when it comes to Western Australia, believe it or not, you can definitely find some great bargains and deals here ?
Watertown Brand Outlet
At the heart of Perth’s CBD sits a shopping haven known as the Watertown Brand Outlet. As one of the few outlet stores in the region, Watertown features a myriad of local to international retailers at attractive prices! With over 118 stores ranging from fashion to jewellery to homewares, Waterton is a shopping spot you wouldn’t want to miss, including Cotton On Kids, Bonds Outlet and Ollies Place Kidswear.
Direct Factory Outlet
Direct Factory Outlet has over 100 stores featuring everything from recognisable international brands such as Nike and Adidas, to more unique offerings from Volcom, City Beach, and Jim Kidd Sports. Whether you’re searching for shoes, bags, or an extra suitcase to fit all that shopping in ?, you’re sure to find everything you need at DFO.
Looking for something different? Head over to Fremantle Markets and experience Western Australia’s 100 years of vibrant culture and heritage like never before. If you’re into vintage fashion and local arts and crafts, this is THE place to be! Freo, as the locals call it, is a weekend market (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) that houses a whopping 150 stalls inside a Victorian-style building. From vintage Mexican-inspired fashion to local Aboriginal crafts, there’s definitely something for you and your kids.
6. Enjoy Muslim-friendly food around the region
As with most places in Australia, Western Australia has plenty of halal food around, mainly in the CBD area of Perth.
Take a break from strolling around the city and have a meal at Chee Tayeb, a halal-certified Lebanese restaurant in the heart of Perth. Sink your teeth into juicy platters of shawarma, Lebanese-style pizza, hummus, falafel and a cup of Lebanese coffee. Besides offering the best Lebanese dishes, the restaurant also provides high chairs for kids.
Address: 353 Murray St, Perth, Western Australia 6000, Australia
Opening Hours: Mon - Thurs, 9:00AM - 9:00PM, Fri & Sat, 9:00AM - 11:00PM, Sun, 9:00AM - 5:00PM.
Lord Of The Fries
Who doesn’t love fries? It’s the perfect take-out food! And let’s admit it - your kids love them too. Head over to Lord Of The Fries, a fast food chain that has definitely attracted the locals for its delicious halal offering of vegetarian burgers and hot dogs. Treat yourself to the popular Halal Snack Pack, a fun meal consisting of doner kebab meat and chips. Trust us, your kids will love it ;)
Address: 110 William St, Perth WA 6000, Australia
Opening Hours: Mon & Tues, 9:00AM - 11:00PM, Wed & Thurs, 9:00AM - 12:00AM, Friday, 9:00AM - 2:30AM, Sat, 9:00AM - 3:00AM, Sun, 10:0AM - 11:00PM.
Kailis’ Fish Market Cafe
You can’t leave Western Australia without trying its Fish & Chips! And the best place to savour that is none other than: Kailis’ Fish Market Cafe! Located at Waterfront Fremantle, this eatery is famous amongst Muslim travellers. Get a table by the harbour to get a nice view of the fishing harbour! If you’re with kids, we recommend sharing the Seafood Platter and the Fish and Chips platter. Once you’re done with your meal, don’t forget to check out the Tourist Wheel Fremantle and enjoy views of Fremantle towns and harbours ;)
#HHWT Tip: Although the chicken is not halal and alcoholic beverages are served, the eatery has confirmed that the seafood (including Fish & Chips) is fried using separate oil and fryer.
Address: 46 Mews Rd, Fremantle WA 6160, Australia
Opening Hours: Daily, 8:00AM - 8:00PM.
Lobster Shack is a gem not to be missed! This family-run business has been around since the 60s, and it’s still going strong. If the Indian Ocean Drive is already on your list, then we definitely recommend popping by Lobster Shack for a quick lunch as it’s only an hour away from Lancelin.
Savour a variety of fresh seafood, including the world-famous Western Australia rock lobster and the daily specials. Word has it the grilled abalone is pretty good so if that ever pops up on the menu, you know what to do! ;)
Address: 37 Catalonia St, Cervantes WA 6511, Australia
Opening Hours: Daily, 8:00AM - 5:00PM.
So, there you have it – the only guide you need to enhance your road trip experience with your kids. It’s time to get cracking and plan your trip now!
But remember, the key to a successful road trip is choosing your fun wisely and take breaks to let your kids rest. With all that in mind, we bet the miles on the road with your kids will just zoom by and you’ll have a wonderful time together ?
This article is brought to you by Tourism Western Australia.