11 things to see with the family
Explore these hidden gems on your next wa road trip
The vast land of WA boasts an incredible history, and is jam-packed with hidden gems, quirky items, incredible stories, and things you didn’t even know existed!
There is something for the whole family to enjoy, so we’ve compiled some of our favourite things to see with the family on your next road trip - with places, stories and items to keep even the fussiest of kids entertained!
Australia’s South West
Belleview Shell Collection
You’ve never seen a collection of shells quite like this! For more than 40 years, the private collection at Belleview Shell Collection has been drawing crowds to marvel over around 30,000 shells and other specimens. This is the passion project of Peter Ignoti, who has had a love for shell collecting since he was a child. The display shows shells from his finds over the years, coming in all shapes and sizes. If your kids love to collect shells on your beach adventures, this is a must see!
Busselton Jetty Museum
No trip ‘down south’ is complete without a trip to the Busselton Jetty. The train that runs the length of the 1.8km timber-piled jetty is great for the whole family, but before jumping aboard head inside the Busselton Jetty Museum located on the beachfront. This small museum is accessible through the Visitor Centre, and follows the stages of the Jetty’s construction, destruction, and resurrection. After your visit, hop in for a swim, enjoy the sunshine, and finish with an ice cream. The perfect family day out!
Albany’s Historic Whaling Station
Take the family to the only complete whaling station tourism attraction in the whole world, Albany’s Historic Whaling Station! The whaling station, which operated from 1952 to 1978, is now a fascinating historic site, in which the stories of the teams of men who worked on the whaling ships and in processing the catch, bring the place to life. There are multiple, giant whale skeletons and preserved marine life on display for children to in awe by as well as interactive displays for everyone to enjoy.
Australia’s Golden Outback
Aunty Joan’s Dolly Mix
Step into a wonderland of dolls at Aunty Joan’s Dolly Mix in Esperance. Rows of cabinets line the walls in a room draped in velvet and satin, full of Joan (Duncan) Stewart’s doll collection. It was Joan’s wish to donate the dolls to the Esperance community to make a permanent doll museum, and locals and visitors alike love this quirky, and unusual display. Whether you find it creepy or curious, it sure is fascinating.
Hood Penn Museum
Following on from dolls, pay a visit to the Hood Penn Museum near Westonia in the Wheatbelt to see several realistic mannequins, including the friendly bartender from the old Edna May Hotel Bar. The collections on display include an interesting bottle collection, which came about as a result of working around the area. You’ll learn about the gold rush and mining history of the Wheatbelt, early settlers, and even enter a makeshift mine shaft that shakes to simulate blasting and rock falls underground!
Bluebird Discovery Centre
Any young plane enthusiasts out there? Visit the Bluebird Discovery Centre in Dumbleyung to learn about Donald Campbells world water speed record that he broke back in 1964. In his Bluebird K7, he broke the record and is the only person to break the world water speed record and land speed record in the same year. The Centre pays homage to this historical record-breaking moment, and right next door is a Bluebird K7 replica to explore.
Coca Cola Museum and Café
This retro museum located inside a café will have everyone smiling! Full to the brim of Coca Cola merchandise, branded items and marketing materials is the Coca Cola Museum and Café in Toodyay. Sip of a coffee or a cola and marvel over the extensive collection of cans, bottles, and memorabilia. Did you know Coca Cola started out as an over-the-counter medicine to remedy the overuse of morphine? You’ll learn that and so much more on your café visit, and the kids will love the colours, retro music, and the coke truck display in particular.
Australia’s Coral Coast
Carnarvon Space and Technology Museum
Do you or your kids dream of heading into space? Take the family to the Carnarvon Space and Technology Museum and indulge your little astronaut. Carnarvon might not be the most likely place you’d expect to encounter world-changing space technology, but it once played a key role in the global race to land man on the moon. See fascinating equipment and stories from the days when hundreds of space technicians lived and worked in Carnarvon. The space craft out the front will keep the kids entertained after a long journey in the car!
Gwoonwardu Mia Gascoyne Aboriginal Heritage and Cultural Centre is a multipurpose centre that celebrates the culture and country of the five Aboriginal language groups of the Gascoyne Region. Based in Carnarvon, the centre has worked with people from each of the local language groups to celebrate and share their stories and culture. Kids will love exhibits like the Sky Dome, which showcases a timelapse video of a starry sky, with commentary about the ancient art of stargazing for the Aboriginal community. Learn more about the incredible giant, burrowing bees and marvel at the range of artefacts and objects on display. After you’ve explored, take a stroll through the ethnobotanical garden with a coffee from the café.
Take the family to the aquarium adjoined to the large, modern, and stylish Ningaloo Centre. Discover the natural processes that formed the region’s incredible marine life and helped it earn its World Heritage status. The giant hanging whale shark made out of wire is an artwork that needs to be seen in real life. The artwork honours ‘Stumpy’, a local whale shark recognised by its short upper tail fin.
Australia’s North West
Karijini Visitors Centre
If you’re taking the family to Australia’s North West for the natural beauty and outdoor attractions, stop into the Karijini Visitor Centre. Discover the history of the surrounding land and the local Banjima Aboriginal people. The shape of the centre represents a goanna moving through the country, and the range of displays takes you on a journey of places and people, past and present, through stories of geology, plants, animals, people, and culture. The workers are there to give you tips on the best places to visit and what to see for the whole family.