If the final siren signalling the end of school for 2018 and the start of the lengthy summer holidays fills you with dread, don’t panic. Offspring has done the hard work for you, compiling many of the wonderful events and activities taking place around Perth to keep the whole family entertained all summer long. All you need to do is choose what to do first!
‘Tis the Season
The summer holidays mean some big seasonal events are on the cards with Christmas, New Years and Australia Day just waiting to be celebrated.
Forrest Place Christmas Carnival
Kick off the festive season early with a kids’ carnival November 24 and 25 featuring free rides and games and a visit from Santa. This event is very popular and very worthwhile.
Everyone loves the iconic Christmas pageant with its breathtaking floats, dancers, television personalities and of course Santa. This year, in its 46th year, the pageant will be bringing its magic to St Georges Terrance on December 1 from 7.30pm.
Santa’s Enchanted Wardrobe
Inspired by the fantasy world of Narnia this is one for the whole family. Opening at Claremont Showgrounds December 1 and running selected days until December 24 you will enter a world of adventure deep in the forest, meet Mr Beaver, rescue Mr Tumnus, help the elves and meet Santa.
Elizabeth Quay will be home to a giant Christmas Maze where you will have to help find nine missing reindeer. Open December 8-16 from 10am-3pm.
Experience the story of Jesus’ birth from December 19-21 from 6.30pm told with a real life nativity scene, over 100 performers, live animals and carols set on the beautiful grounds of the Supreme Court Gardens.
Lotterywest Christmas Symphony
Replacing the traditional Carols by Candlelight, the West Australian Symphony Orchestra presents Lotterywest’s Christmas Symphony, a City of Perth celebration with Variety, the children’s charity, on Saturday December 15 from 5pm at Langley Park. Bring a picnic to this one!
Lights and decorations
Explore your city with two mapped journeys on the Christmas Lights Trail. Visit the Christmas tree with over 46,000 lights representing those who called Lifeline’s 13 11 14 number in the last 12 months. The trail comes to life November 16-December 24 every night from 6pm. Find the map at www.visitperth.com.au/en/events/christmas-lights-trail
Checking out the local Christmas lights on a hot summer night has become a family tradition for many. Check out Buggybuddy’s interactive map to some of the best displays www.buggybuddys.com.au/things-to-do/christmas-lights-perth
• Don’t miss the West Australian Ballet’s performance of the beloved classic Christmas tale The Nutcracker at His Majesty’s Theatre, November 16-December 9.
• The Charlesworth Ballet Institute presents the enchanting Sleeping Beauty at Crown Perth December 14 and 15.
• Every Saturday night leading up to Christmas you can grab a free festive flick on the big screen at Northbridge Piazza. Bring a picnic, grab a beanbag and watch out for those roaming elves!
• If a modern theatre is more your style, a retelling of the Dr. Seuss classic The Grinch is hitting cinemas from November 15. So merry whatever to you!
Welcome in the new year with free activities for the whole family at the Northbridge Piazza and Perth Cultural Centre with a movie, street performances and early countdown for families, December 31 5.30pm-9pm.
Streets Happy Zoo Year
The 2018 line up of Dinosaur Train, Shimmer and Shine and the Grinch are bound to draw big crowds along with the opportunity to explore the zoo and wrap up the new year with an early 8pm countdown. This event sells out fast.
The City of Perth Skyworks is an iconic Australia Day celebration and can be seen from various vantage points across the city. Grab the family and a spot at Langley Park, Supreme Court Gardens, Kings Park, South Perth Foreshore, Point Walter or Lake Monger on Saturday January 26 2019.
Check guides closer to the date as smaller firework displays are often held in regional cities including Mandurah and Rockingham.
You don’t have to be a tourist to enjoy the hotspots in Perth.
• Enjoy a game of ‘supa-golf’ at the Oasis Supa Golf and Adventure Putt
• Take in a long lunch at one of the many wineries, restaurants or breweries – Mandoon Estate and Homestead Brewery have designated play areas.
• Sample some sweet delights from the Margaret River Chocolate Company or Whistler’s Chocolate Company.
• Challenge your family to join Taylor Tortoise on a race around the valley. The Amazing Valley Chase is a fun scavenger hunt, beginning at the Swan Valley Visitor Centre in Guildford and taking around three hours complete. Download an instruction sheet (or collect one from the Visitors Centre). Designed for families and kids 5-12 years old www.swanvalley.com.au
• Take in the many street performers, unique foods, flavours, colour and shopping at the Fremantle Markets.
• Every Saturday in summer from 5pm enjoy the hawker food delights on offer at the Sunset Markets, South Beach. Listen to live music and let the kids enjoy the animal farms and face painting.
• Are you brave enough to tour the historic Fremantle Prison?
• Get up high on the Esplanade Ferris Wheel and take in Fremantle in all its glory.
• Finish the day grabbing a bite at the iconic Cicerello’s and visit the giant fish tanks housing over 50 species of marine life all collected in Fremantle waters.
• Visit the amazing Aquarium of Western Australia (AQWA) home of Australia’s largest single aquarium and walk-through underwater tunnel. You can touch fish, sharks and other marine life. You can watch the Mer-jestic Mermaids January 2-19 and be entertained by Pirate Pete. Book early for this event.
• The thrilling rides of Sideshow Amusements are back and trading every day during the holidays.
• Or catch a ferry over to Rottnest Island.
Rottnest – this little island offers big things
• Hire a bike to explore the island your own way or jump aboard the shuttle
• Look out for the furry little guys that live here. Quokkas are said to be the friendliest animals on Earth (and they don’t mind taking a selfie with you!)
• Enjoy the pristine waters of the many beaches around the island where you can snorkel, paddle, sunbake or take a nap!
Sport, Sport, Sport
We love our sport and there is plenty of opportunity to play, watch and enjoy this summer.
• Hopman Cup – tennis royalty Serena Williams and Roger Federer will make this summer’s Hopman Cup the biggest ever. Kicking off December 29-January 5 at RAC Arena, this is definitely one you don’t want to miss.
• Big Bash League – the cricket season is here. Cheer on the Scorchers at the new stadium during their seven home matches kicking off against Adelaide on Boxing Day.
• It doesn’t get much cooler in summer than inside an ice arena and Perth is lucky enough to have a couple of choices – Xtreme Ice Arena (Mirrabooka); Cockburn Ice Arena (Bibra Lake) and Perth Ice Arena (Malaga). Check websites for summer school lessons and special events.
• Grab your bathers, towel, hat and sunscreen and head for the water. Perth is surrounded by world renowned beaches that don’t cost a cent. If you prefer less sandy pursuits, there are plenty of water play centres to check out:
• Adventure World
• Cockburn Arc
• Scarborough Beach Pool
• Beatty Park Leisure Centre
• Maylands Waterland
• Kalamunda Water Park
• Elizabeth Quay BHP Billiton Water Park
• Whiteman Park
• The Maze, home of Outback Splash
Have fun while you learn!
• The Western Australian Museum is currently closed while a new museum is being built, but you can still find exhibits in the Discovery Zone in the State Library of WA and the Perth Concert Hall. Plus the museums in Fremantle are offering plenty:
• WA Maritime Museum (Fremantle) – the highly anticipated 180-degree Ningaloo dome theatre is coming December 28-January 31. Bookings are essential. The Under the Sea theme will continue with craft and workshops along with junior fishing clinics.
• WA Shipwrecks Museum (Fremantle) – whale craft, touch tables of whale bones and storytelling sessions will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the end of whaling. Most activities are free.
• Aviation Heritage Museum (Bull Creek) – with over 30 civilian and military aircraft this is a definite for any aviation enthusiast.
• The Perth Mint (East Perth) – take the tour to find out your weight in gold, watch molten gold being poured, see the world’s largest one tonne gold coin and learn about gold mining legends. Suitable for all ages.
• The Art Gallery of Western Australia (Perth) – enjoy the exhibits or check out the local Aboriginal culture activities and create your own canvas masterpiece. Bookings online at www.artgallery.wa.gov.au
• Scitech (City West) – enjoy a family day out or book an activity in the CSIRO Lab school holiday workshops. Suitable for children 4 to 16 the activities including viewing nights at the Perth Observatory, STEM workshops and supercomputer tours. For more information visit www.scitech.org.au
• The Gravity Discovery Centre (Gingin) – a bit of a road trip but you will be thrilled with the hands-on opportunities for young and old. Visit www.gravitycentre.com.au for opening times and entry.
Enjoy a family day wandering the zoo. Perth Zoo turned 120 this year and has been overtaken by dinosaurs, including a six metre tall T-Rex, to raise awareness of animal extinction. Zoorassic Park runs until January 20, 2019.
If a lower key wildlife experience is more your thing to get up close and personal with our furry friends check out:
• Caversham Wildlife Park (Whiteman)
• Armadale Reptile and Wildlife Centre
• Swan Valley Cuddly Animal Farm
• Cohuna Koala Park (Byford)
• West Australian Reptile Park (Henley Brook)
• Parks – whether on foot, grabbing the bikes to explore further afield or heading off in the car to discover new horizons, a day at the park is the simplest way to burn of extra energy and catch up with friends. Try www.kids-around-perth.com/perth-playgrounds for reviews including facilities and directions.
• Shopping centres – most shopping outlets will offer school holiday attractions. The events are usually themed, craft or activity based and suitable for younger children. Check local guides for times and bookings.
• Library – a gold mine of entertainment with many offering free activities during the holidays, not to mention free books to borrow! Check with your local library as places are often limited.
Fun at Home
The school holidays shouldn’t be about always being entertained. Kids need the chance to recharge after a long year in the classroom so spending a few unstructured days at home will give everyone the chance to chill out.
If you need ideas on things to do at home, start a ‘Boredom Buster Box’ and get everyone to contribute ideas from grand plans to build a cubby house or redecorate a room, to watching a movie or a movie marathon, a puzzle or family game night, reading a book, walking the dog, playing with new toys from Christmas, or visiting friends and relatives (you could also throw in a few chores).
*Please check relevant guides and websites for booking, costs and times as events may be subject to change.