Australia Family Roadtrip – Perth, Rottnest & Margaret River

MR - Smiths Beach 3

I am in the midst of planning our adventure to Australia’s Margaret River next February.  As usual I was a bit bewildered by all the accommodation options available and unsure of how to put our itinerary together (this always happens, then I get struck by a thunderbolt and somehow it all works). Luckily I had two excellent resources to hand.  One, fab travel blogger Marianne who has written some really useful posts on how to do Margaret River with kids.  The other, my friend Celine, a frequent J&M contributor AND had just returned from her Australia trip over Easter. For anyone planning a similar trip, here is Celine’s review!

Who went:

A pregnant Celine with her two boys (4 and 2yo) and husband


Perth – Rottnest Island – Smith’s Beach, Yallingup


8 nights over Easter Break. Weather was great, warm during the day although a bit chilly at night.

How did you book the trip?

All through Lightfoot Travel

How were the flights?

We flew direct to Perth from Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific. We took the day flights both ways.

Part 1 – Perth (2 nights)

Honestly speaking we weren’t very impressed with Perth itself.  We stayed at The Duxton, which is a business hotel in the town centre.

We spent our first day at Perth Zoo which was walking distance from our hotel.  A tip here is to bring your own lunch as there is a massive grassy picnic area.  That evening we had a good dinner at Coco’s which had been recommended by the hotel concierge.

On the second day, we picked up our hire car and drove to Caversham Wildlife Park (30 mins).  This was brilliant with a greater focus on indigenous Australian animals.  Close by is a playground and a public swimming pool.

Caversham - Koala

Perth - Caversham 1

Part 2 – Rottnest Island (2 nights)

After three nights in Perth, we drove down to Fremantle to catch the ferry to Rottnest Island. Located 18km west of Fremantle, it takes about 30 minutes to get to Rottnest by ferrry.

MR - Rottnest 2

The island has beautiful beaches and is famous for its marsupial, the quokka.  

MR - Rottnest

There are no cars allowed on the island and the water is crystal clear.  We stayed at the Rottnest Lodge, however if I was choosing again I’d probably pick a self-catering cottage over the hotel to give us more space for once the kids are asleep.  Food options on the island are also minimal, we ate at the hotel restaurant and there is also a nice bakery.  We spent a few really chilled out days here, enjoying the beach and going for walks.  Older kids would enjoy renting bikes around the island.  For more information on activities on Rottnest and accomodation options, visit the official guide to the island.

Part 3 – Smith’s Beach, Yallingup (4 nights)

After returning to Fremantle, we drove south towards the Margaret River region. We were booked in to Smith’s Beach Resort, a 2.5 hr drive down from Perth.  We chose a 2-bed Pool Villa which was very modern in style, with a massive balcony, living room and kitchen.  The only issue is that the room is a duplex so the bedrooms aren’t on the same floor.  We ended up each sharing a bed with our child as we didn’t feel comfortable having them on a different floor.  The other point to note is that there is no housekeeping, you have to pay extra for it.

We tended to have breakfast in our room, lunch at the wineries and then dinner at the hotel.  We were quite surprised to find the majority of the wineries seemed to close at 5pm!  The hotel pool was nice but cold. However, it is on an amazing stretch of beach.  

MR Smiths Beach

The waves can be rough though so if you’ve got young kids, they won’t be swimming in it!

MR - Smiths Beach Waves

Margaret River is home to some fantastic wineries, many of which are kid friendly. In particular we liked Laurance Wines (super kid friendly with a massive playground) and Wills Domain (slightly more high end but still with playground).

MR - Laurance Estate MR - Laurance Estate playground

We didn’t realise that Easter was one of the busiest weekends for region and many of the wineries were booked out for lunch.  Tip – it’s worth making a few lunch reservations in advance to secure a table.

In addition to the beach and wine we also visited a chocolate factory and a farm.

In Conclusion!

All in all, it was a great trip.  If I was doing the trip again, I would choose self-catering rather than a hotel stay in the Margaret River region.  The wineries all close early (around 5pm) so it would have been nice to return to a house we’d rented where we could have BBQ’d and enjoyed our own space once the boys were asleep.  It’s also worth remembering that Australia is expensive!  


  1. Marianne @ Mum on the Move

    Hey, thanks for the mention and link to Mum on the Move 🙂 You are going to love Margaret River I’m sure – we’ve just booked to go back again next year, for the 6th time in 8 years!

    1. Nicola

      Oh my gosh! You should work for the western australia tourist board 🙂 Looking forward to hearing all about it again!

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