Perth summer fun isn’t always expensive
Summer fun in Perth usually revolves around sun, surf and sand.
We have plenty of all three and we generally know how to use it, be it a dip in the ocean, a lie on the beach or a picnic by the river.
And it’s all free.
A Perth summer, according to the Tourism WA website, is about “lazy days spent by the sea and warm nights strolling on the beach or dining in alfresco restaurants”.
“Perhaps best known for its easygoing lifestyle and glorious natural environment, Perth ‘does’ summer rather well, ” the website says. “Bars and restaurants dot the coastline from Fremantle in the south to Sorrento in the north.
“There is a range of options, from the casual cafe such as Cottesloe’s Beaches, where dogs and thongs are OK, to the finer dining experiences at Indiana Teahouse and the Blue Duck.”
But what if the lure of the beach — and those normal summer activities — starts to wane?
The Weekend West has undertaken to find other things to do over summer that don’t cost a cent — or maybe just a few dollars.
We’ve tried to find things that are a little different and the search has taken us all over the metropolitan area. It makes for an interesting list.
Coincidentally, the RAC has launched a new website with loads of suggestions for “fun, free and affordable” activities all over the State.
“Our members tell us that it’s getting more and more expensive to holiday in WA so we’ve created this campaign to highlight all the fantastic options people have — both in their own backyard and further afield, ” RAC executive manager of travel and tourism Michael Leary said.
“It’s a one-stop shop for WA travel and activity ideas. The website also provides the opportunity for West Australians and visitors to upload their own photos, comment on their favourite destinations and offer suggestions of where to go and what to do.”
To access the information, go to www.rac.com.au/ffa
Some activitiy ideas include:
Go to market
It’s amazing to think that people have been visiting the Fremantle markets since 1902. It was a wholesale food and produce market until the 1950s and a packing and distribution centre until the early 1970s. After a major restoration in 1975, it was reopened as the Fremantle Markets. The heritage-listed building now boasts over 150 eclectic stalls and is a great place to visit on Friday, Saturday and Sundays.
It’s not quite free but if getting around starkers is your thing, Perth’s oldest nudist camp will allow non-members to shed their clothes for just $12 a day. The Sunseekers Nudist Club has been going since 1962 from its 4.77-hectare site on the edge of the John Forrest National Park. It is open all-year round and boasts large lawn areas, club houses, a pool, barbecues and sports courts.
All you need is a line and a hook and you’ll find plenty of places around the metropolitan area where you can fish. But The West Australian’s fishing expert Mike Rohenfeldt recommends Claremont Jetty, particularly in the evening. “There’s a chance of a bream, flathead, flounder, small tailor and maybe even a crab or two, ” he said. “Blowies as well, of course, but not so bad at night.”
It’s surprising how many places have access to free barbecues — Sir James Mitchell Park, Kings Park, Kent Street Weir Park to name just a few. But it’s hard to go past the free barbecues at Scarborough Beach. Not only are they at one of WA’s most popular beaches, but the grassed area provides a nice picnic spot. Toilets and bins are close by and there’s even shops within a few hundreds metres if you forget to bring your meat.
You won’t find this activity on any tourist guide. Kids can be ingenious and some East Perth youngsters have created “cupboard hill” on the grassy slopes near Claisebrook Cove. It’s probably best to bring your own sheet of cupboard – the bigger the better – but there’s usually a few leftover sheets lying around. Mum and dad need to set a few ground rules to ensure everyone cardboards safely.
There are lots of reefs along the coast that suit snorkelling but, according to the experts, Point Peron is one of the best shore dive and snorkelling sites in Perth. The waters surrounding the limestone headland are dotted with reefs, home to a diversity of marine life. The Cape Peron snorkel trail is a great way to experience the underwater wonders. It is a 60m circuit in two to three metres of water and suits a range of ages and abilities.
Go to a water playground
They might not have a train or rapid-bus link, but the people of Ellenbrook have a great water playground. Featuring colourful water sprays and cannons, it is perfectly safe for children of all ages because there are no pools of water. There is also a large grassed area that can easily accommodate a picnic or a friendly game of cricket.
If you’d like to go for a sail on the Swan River — and you’re not afraid to work for it — you could join the crew of up to 100 boats who sail from the Royal Freshwater Bay Sailing Club in Peppermint Grove every Saturday. Training officer Barry Martin sits at the entrance to the club between 12noon and 1.30pm to recruit volunteer crew members. Anyone can come along (adults), though some experience in sailing is preferred — but not essential.
The Northbridge Piazza and superscreen will host a heap of events over summer. The first Sunday of every month is family day featuring balloon artistry, face painting, roving characters and films. January will see the Disney film season and February celebrates Chinese New Year with lion dancing and calligraphy. All the details are available at visitperthcity.com.au
Go radio-controlled sailing
Every Thursday and Saturday afternoons, members of the local radio-controlled sailboat club meet at Jackadder Lake in Woodlands for a “play” and a “race”. They take it very seriously and are very proud of their crafts. But they are happy for spectators to attend and, if you’re lucky, they might even let you take over the controls … for a couple of minutes.
For more ideas and up-to-date events occuring in WA visit www.tourism.wa.gov.au.
© The West Australian
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