School holidays - you love em', then you hate em'. Ditch the hate and opt for some quality family time with the kids, here in Australia's South West. There's so much to see and do, you'll never want the break to end.
Here's some ideas to get you started:
1. Play with cute farm animals. Stay at a farmstay or visit a working farm, where you can feed the friendly farm animals, learn how to milk a cow and collect freshly laid eggs.
2. Meet a friend at Gnomesville in the Ferguson Valley. Dardanup is home to over 3000 gnomes from around the world! Take your own gnome to add to the collection.
3. Swing like a monkey. Visit Donnybrook Apple Fun Park - the biggest free fun park in the Southern Hemisphere. Middleton Beach, Albany has picnic and barbecue facilities as well as great playground. Also look out for the kid friendly wineries and breweries that have playgrounds while mum and dad do a wine tasting or enjoy a pint.
4. Pick fruit straight from the orchard. In Harvey you can pick oranges, try the delicious orange juice or climb up the ‘Big Orange’. Donnybrook produces delicious apples and stone fruit which can be picked from the orchards and Manjimup has all manner of fruit you can pick, including ruby red cherries.
5. Try your skills at the Collie Skate Park. Pack your scooter, skate board or bike; there’s something to challenge all ages and abilities. The adjacent Soldiers Park has a great playground, fitness equipment and barbecue facilities.
6. Discover amazing caves. Take a tour and discover an underground labyrinth of unique limestone and crystal formations, small lakes and fossilised remains of ancient creatures. We suggest Ngilgi, Mammoth, Lake, Jewel and Calgardup caves.
7. tasty treats. A kid’s holiday is not complete without chocolate, fudge, toffee and ice-cream tastings. The region is famous for its range of tasty local produce, which is not just for grownups!
8. Get lost in a maze. Spend hours with your friends and family in one of the fun mazes – it may take you a while to find your way out!
9. Take a train ride along the famous 1.8 kilometre Busselton Jetty. It’s the longest timber-piled jetty in the Southern Hemisphere and home to a spectacular underwater observatory.
10. Go fishing. Cast out a line at one of the many fishing spots. Try your luck at Busselton Jetty, Augusta, Walpole Inlet and Middleton Beach in Albany. Or get a guaranteed catch at one of the many fishing farms found within the region.
11. Be wild at a wildlife park. With over 60 varieties of Australian native birds and marsupials, the Bunbury Wildlife Park will get you that cuddly animal encounter you want. Discovery Bay in Albany is also home to several native Australian species, and also tells the fascinating history of WA's whaling.
12. Climb into the treetops at Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk near Walpole, the world’s longest tree top walk! Here you can walk through the 40-metre-high tree tops of the unique tingle forest. There’s also three giant climbing trees in the Southern Forests - the Gloucester, Diamond and the Bicentennial Tree that stands at 75 metres high!
13. Hang on tight and walk along the swing bridge at Beedelup National Park. You’ll see the amazing Beedelup Falls gushing below, where water flows over steep granite rocks. You can park close by, to take the circular walk trail around Lake Beedelup.
14. Learn about indigenous culture. Head to Kodja Place in Kojonup and learn the history at the Story Place. Discover local Aboriginal art, guided tours, didgeridoo and dance at the Wardan Aboriginal Cultural Centre near Yallingup. Take a guided tour with Koomal Dreaming in Dunsborough and learn about the art and culture of the Noongar people.
15. Hold onto to your hat. Climb to the top of the lighthouses at Cape Leeuwin and Cape Naturaliste. It’s a blood-pumping climb to the top, but the views are worth it especially between June and July when whales are swimming past.
16. Head into the Understory. Understory – Art in Nature is a series of artwork located in the forest undergrowth. A children’s trail offers self-guide walk information on headset.
17. Kick it by the coast. Spend an afternoon swimming, snorkelling and building sandcastles at one of the many sandy, calm beaches in the region. Try Jetty Baths in Bunbury, Busselton Beachfront, Meelup Beach near Dunsborough, Hamelin Bay near Augusta, Greens Pool near Denmark, Little Beach near Albany or Peaceful Bay.
18. Surf’s up! For something a little more challenging try surfing at one of the region’s many surf schools.
19. Search for sea creatures in the rock pools and shallows near the shore. Scramble over the rocks on a treasure hunt. Who can be the first to spot a crab?
20. Canoe or kayak. Hire a canoe and paddle along the Blackwood River between Bridgetown and Augusta, the Collie River at Honeymoon Pool, Geographe Bay or the Kalgan River, Albany.
21. Meet the friendly dolphins. Visit the Dolphin Discovery Centre in Bunbury where you can learn all about dolphins in the interpretive centre, meet the dolphins when they come in close to shore and go on a dolphin cruise.
22. Spot an enormous whale. You can watch whales all along the coast from Bremer Bay right up to Bunbury. The best time of the year to see them is from mid May through to early December. Get up close and personal, take a whale watching tour on a boat departing from Albany, Augusta, Dunsborough or Busselton.
23. Visit The Gap and Natural Bridge, Albany. Hold on tight as you look over a 24-metre drop where the ocean rushes into a large cavern and a rock formation that looks like a bridge.