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What's on at Elizabeth Quay for Families

by Saskia Loosjes (follow)
Saskia Loosjes
Toddlers (116)      Perth CBD (61)     
Let's start with the pavers.

If youíre a paving aficionado then this is the place for you. Itís what struck me first - all the time and energy invested in laying these pavers.†

More than two million of them.†All hand cut.Tiny little squares all over the $440 million dollar precinct.

Fringe World Fairground at Elizabeth Quay.
image courtesy MRA website

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Not into pavers? Donít despair, thereís more.
For families you canít go past the water park,†similar to the one in Forrest Chase and opposite the Elizabeth Quay Train Station - which is by far the cheapest and easiest way to get to the Quay.

If the water park†had a soundtrack it would be squeals of delight from dozens of kids streaming through the water jetting up from the ground or being dispersed in a fine mist.

Fringe World Fairground at Elizabeth Quay.
image courtesy MRA website

At night, lights turn it into a colourful rainbow. The only downside is that in the middle of a Perth summer, itís hot and thereís little shade - some palm trees, but not much coverage. A bit of grass wouldíve been nice too, even the fake stuff, somewhere to sit with the baby while the big boy was running through the water. Take a spare change of clothes, take a towel and grab your slice of what little shade there is.

Next door is Embargo Bar, a tribute to Perth's current love affair with pop up food and drink vans. You can grab breaky, lunch and dinner seven days a week until March 7. Inside are some timber tables and a bit of shade.†

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Walking around Elizabeth Quay is easy, if not a little off-road for babes in prams. Itís those bumpy pavers, but I wonít talk about them again. You can easily do a circuit around the precinct.

Thereís mostly good, secure, sturdy fencing separating eager youngsters from the water, but I never took my eyes off Blondie Number 1 - heís three and a runaway climber.†

The ferries now come and go from the Quay along with plenty of fancy boats, kayakers and jetskiers. Itís a hive of activity both on the water and on the land. The ferries are full, which is a rare sight after years of ghost rides.

You can visit the Signature Ring, and find 200,000 signatures of Perth students from 1999, originally collected as part of a Millenium project.

As you head up to the Quayís centrepiece - a spectacular bridge - you wonít miss the giant statue of a silver bird perched on a boat. Itís breathtaking and a real drawcard for littlies, who climb all over it, creating great photo opportunities. Sculpted by Noongar artist Laurel Nannup, itís called First Contact.

Then itís over the bridge: a 20 million dollar, 20 metres high, pedestrian and cycle bridge.†From here looking back over the Quay is quite the sight.

Another sculpture, eight stories high, has been dubbed the paper clip. At $1.3 million dollars itís one very expensive piece of stationery. The artist is Christian de Vietri and the paperclip is meant to represent ripples on the water.

Across the bridge is a nature playground with water play, sand and climbing equipment. It is good for a break from walking when you have small humans who lose interest quickly. You can also pop over to the cafes where we paid $24 for two coffees, a coke, banana milkshake and icecream. A little steep we thought, but not unexpected for Perth.

Coming and going from the original part of the Quay were open top bus tours of the city. They were packed and not just with tourists. When a development this big happens it reinvigorates local's love with the city, not just those here on a flying visit.

The Fringe World Fairground is currently taking up the grass behind the big paperclip - rides, showbags, a rollerskating rink and food trucks. It closes on Sunday February 21, 2016 and is open day and night.

Fringe World Fairground at Elizabeth Quay.

Also in the evenings and also running until the 21st is a laser and light show to celebrate the opening of Elizabeth Quay. The ten minute shows are on every half hour between 8pm and 10pm. If you've got little kids and you're not to bedtime obsessed this is worth seeing.

Thereís still plenty more private development to be done at Elizabeth Quay - a Ritz Carlton hotel is planned, plus business offices and residential apartments.

Itís the sort of development you can continue to visit over time and watch change and grow.†

Right now it doesnít feel like thereís an awful lot to it, despite that extensive paving job, unless you like to sit and ponder and who, with kids, has time for that?

However, itís still early days and by all accounts if the number of people visiting is anything to go by, it's got Perth families excited and thatís always a good thing.

Essential Information

Elizabeth Quay, edge of the Swan River between Barrack and William Streets, in the heart of the city.

Website: http://www.mra.wa.gov.au/projects-and-places/elizabeth-quay

#Perth CBD

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