Travelling close to home: Camping in the Perth hills with kids

When you feel the urge to travel but have neither the time or the budget at that moment, then I often suggest taking a trip close to home. And that’s exactly what I did last week, at the invitation of my clever friend who perhaps should be the travel blogger instead of me! My family and hers (she has a four-year-old, too) spent a night camping in the Perth hills close to the Mundaring Weir and it reminded me, firstly, of how much fun camping is, and secondly, of how great it is to get away from home, even if it’s only for a night. Here are some of the highlights – via Instagram. (But Instagrammed after the fact, because I had no mobile reception up there!)

Tall trees at the campsite near Mundaring Weir, in the Perth hills.

Our campsite was small and full of families with young kids – in other words, perfect for us. On top of that, it only cost $10 per adult for the night, yet came equipped with nice toilets, hot showers, and even an outdoor kitchen with a fridge, kettle and toaster! It almost wasn’t camping.

The tent is up (featuring four-year-old “assistant” who didn’t help much). Coolbaroo means “magpie”.

As far as the two kids were concerned, this was definitely as exciting as travelling. They were in a completely new environment with all kinds of interesting stuff to explore. We brought a few cars to play with, a ball to kick around and totem tennis, and that was enough. They could make their own fun.

There’s an amphitheatre near the campsite – yep, the kids loved it.

Of course a large dose of the fun came once the sun had gone down (fortunately that is quite earlier already here – since our four-year-olds wouldn’t have made it if we’d gone in summer – they were both asleep by half past seven!). Neither had ever seen a camp fire before and they were mesmerised. Well, even the adults were quite mesmerised by the camp fire – they seem to have that effect, don’t they?

Glo sticks and a camp fire are all you need for kids who are camping

The kids managed to get a decent amount of sleep, and the adults would have liked more, but that’s par for the course whether we are camping or at home, I’m afraid. The next morning we had a barbecued breakfast and the kids invented all kinds of games to play; my son decided the gibbon he had brought along (from Perth Zoo!) should be temporarily released into the wild.

This toy gibbon enjoyed the camp site too. Don’t worry, we remembered to bring him home.

Now, let me talk about the end of a camp trip. I don’t mind the endless trips to the car, I like the walk. What I do mind is the packing of camping equipment into small bags. Clearly these bags shrink during the night while your tent or sleeping bag or whatever is in use. I cannot, I repeat CANNOT get tents or sleeping bags back into their snug homes. Yes, I have taken a lot of tips from others. I have even googled it. I just lack this skill.

Fortunately, once we got packed up we had the reward of heading nearby to Mundaring Weir for a bit of a gawk. It’s an impressive dam to me and I’ve visited it a few times throughout my life, although it is scary to see how little water is there knowing that in “the olden days” (my childhood, as my son describes it) it overflowed with some regularity. (Yes, I have had shorter showers this week.)

Mundaring Weir … water level is actually much lower than it appears!

So, to summarise, this mini camping trip was such a pleasant interruption to normal suburban life, yet so easy to do and one of those things you realise you should do much more often. (Big thanks I and L for inviting us!!) Is there a little trip you could be taking close to home that might give you some of that “travel” feeling?

I’m linking up for Instagram Travel Thursday – take a look at some other gorgeous travel bloggers and their Instagram explorations.


  1. What a fun family adventure. Our kids would love to go camping too but I think I would need to find a site like yours, well equipped!

    • Yes it was really cheating, this kind of camping, but it was great to do with young kids (and everyone else there had young kids too). A great first go!

  2. Sounds like fun! The closest of camping we have done is to go to my family’s summer house by the sea.

  3. This looks like a great adventure! We’ve been doing lot of similar #microadventures close to home, although this spring we’ve been busy globetrotting too 🙂 can’t wait for the camping season to start here in Norway too!

  4. We did exactly what you did—our first camping trip was to Yanchep, and we worked our way out from there. We’ve since roved as far as Coral Bay, Karijini and Woody Island. These are amongst our family’s favourite holiday memories, for the kids and for the parents. I find camping holidays so relaxing—to get out of internet and mobile range! And having a bbq every night, doing lots of walking and reading, and not worrying about dirt! I hope this is the first of many more for your family.

    • Ooh yes Louise – that sounds like a fabulous progression! Plus it’s much easier with only one child instead of four! I agree- so many positives about camping. We are already planning our next trip.

  5. How fun! I remember our first camping trips with the kids…. having electricity for our tent felt like luxury!

  6. Gosh… I suck at camping! We don’t even own any gear but I’d like to take the kids camping one day soon as the hubs says he still likes it ( I don’t believe him.. I think he’s forgotten about his wayward lifestyle and craves the creature comforts too much). Perhaps we should try glamping first?

  7. Sounds like it was a great getaway! And I have to say, if forced to go camping, what you described is the way I’d want to do it. 🙂

  8. Looks like a really fun weekend with the family. I love camping. 🙂

  9. What a neat little campsite! I can see why both the kids and the parents had such a great time. I often visit Mundaring as a day trip for bush walks, picnics and lunch at the old pub but haven’t camped there yet. It seems like good value for the amenities you get there, especially compared to other great bush campsites near Perth such as Walyunga and Dwellingup.


  1. […] Families with young kids might like to see this write up by Amanda Kendle on camping at the Perth Hills Discovery Centre near Mundaring Weir with her four-year-old: Travelling close to home: Camping in the Perth hills with kids. […]

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