Venturing down to South West Australia with kids? Here are some Great Stops for Kids on a South West Australia Road Trip: From Perth to Walpole (or onward to Denmark). We include a stop at the increasingly famous Apple Fun Park in Donnybrook.
Walpole, on the far south coast, is one of our favorite places for a nature-based getaway. It is also 5 to 6 hours’ drive (on a good day) from the center of Perth so you need to plan your breaks when on a South West Australia road trip with small kids. Believe us, this is a well-researched list!
If you are traveling “down south” for the first time there are many places to visit and see and you may break the drive with an overnight stay in Bridgetown or Pemberton. Therefore this guide is intended for someone who is doing a big chunk of driving in one day and looking for good breaks for kids.
Based on our experience everyone is able to keep things together for the first two hours. However, by 2 hours south of Perth we are looking for a break on our South West Australia road trip
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Best Stops For Kids On A South West Australia Road Trip
The Gingerbread House, Boyanup
This is a new and wonderful place to visit in South West Australia. The Gingerbread House has lots of yummy stuff for everyone, play equipment, and a beautiful outside area! Delicious!
Donnybrook Apple Fun Park (About 2.5 hours From Perth)
When we Mumma traveler was a child (some 40 years ago) she loved arriving in Donnybrook. The center of the local orchard industry, due to great big apples lining the street. Now, the big apples are literally and figuratively dwarfed by the Apple Fun Park which is supposed to be the largest playground in the Southern Hemisphere.
‘Nuff said – this place is huge! A whole range of brightly colored and challenging playground equipment there is plenty to do for the whole family.
Also, in Donnybrook you should (theoretically!) get great fresh fruit deals in season. The Fruit Barn on the main road also has toilets and some fun apple folk signs which we always take pictures with!
Balingup (About 3 Hours From Perth)
From Donnybrook, Balingup is another 30 minutes down the road and used to be ‘blink and you will miss it’ type place. Now, it’s a wonderful example of small-town ingenuity. The road is lined with lots of awesome scarecrows, which we love taking pictures with. There is also an excellent café with the best BLTs ever.
Mumma traveler is partial to the Tinderbox organic products – highly recommended if you are interested in natural, organic skin-care products, herbal remedies, essential oils, and herbal teas. (All made in WA)
We’ve recently discovered the Golden Valley Tree Park. A 60-hectare park. Heritage listed, it has a collection of trees that was begun over one hundred years ago, and is now the largest arboretum in WA. Best of all – it’s free!
Also of note for Balingup is the Balingup Small Farm Field Day in March and the Medieval Festival in August, should you be looking to make a weekend of it!
Bridgetown (About 3.5 Hours From Perth)
The home of the Bridgetown Blues Festival, we almost left this very cute little town out. However, if you need to take a break there is a good little playground, with plenty of space to run and play.
If mum or dad wants to take a stroll along the street there are loads of vintage, antique, and quirky shops in the first couple of blocks from the playground.
Manjimup (4 Hours From Perth)
The Timber and Heritage Park in Manjimup rival Donnybrook’s “biggest playground in the Southern hemisphere” in our kid’s hearts and wins our current vote (kids aged 5 and 2) for the best playground Ever!
Manjimup struggles with its image as a timber town. However, this is a sensitively designed nature-based park really defies the stereotype! The playground games are quite different, interactive, challenging and creative. Watercourses, flying foxes, hidey houses and more. There is a lot to see and do and a shaded and separate little kids area. Located in the heart of a historical and tree park they just added a REALLY high slide for the adventurous in your family (or big kids).
(Ed Note – since we first visited this playground in 2013 I’ve noticed other new playgrounds having a similar design).
On an adventurous note – just out of Manjimup is one of the Fire Tree Lookouts. The Diamond Tree – but only for “big kids” and those with a head for heights! It’s well worth a stop and a grueling 51-meter climb if you are up to it. Diamond Tree Lookout was one of several lookouts constructed in the 1930s and 1940s when the extreme height of the trees within the Karri forest made it too costly to build a fire lookout tower.
Value for Money
Awesome! All the above activities are FREE, with the exception of climbing the Diamond Tree. You require National Park Pass to enter the national parks in which the climbing trees are located. Purchase passes from DPaW, Manjimup or Pemberton Visitor Centre prior to arrival. A day pass for the National Parks is $12. Or if you will be visiting a number of National Parks during your holiday we recommend the $44 pass which gives you access to National Parks. Even better is the $88 pass which gives you year access!
Destinations Walpole & Denmark: South West Australia Road Trip
We’ve often written about the wonders of Walpole and the Walpole Wilderness area. If you are staying in Denmark for a few days, we strongly recommend putting aside a day or more for a visit to this wonderful nature-based destination.
There are lots and lots of (mostly) nature-based attractions around Walpole With Kids.
A Western Australian icon, don’t miss out on a visit to the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk. Our top tips to visit the Tree Top Walk With Kids.
These are logistics recommendations of how to get the Best Photos out of a visit to the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk.
Where should I stay down South? Best Places To Stay Near The Tree Top Walk.
Alternatively, we also really love the hippy vibe in Denmark Western Australia, 11 Great Things To Do In Denmark With Kids.
For more information on traveling South Western Australia check out these Western Australia guidebooks. We highly recommended them.
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