On a hot summer’s day we were invited to Hillarys Boat Harbour – 22km north of the Perth CBD.
We discover why Hillarys keeps drawing locals and tourists here again and again, since 1988.
Hillarys Boat Harbour
As we enter searching for our friends we notice a lucky few have arrived early to claim a shaded picnic table, plenty are huddled under the shade sails around the toddler playground on the beach, the rest are settled on the emerald-green grass under the Norfolk Pines eating their picnics and BBQs.
The kids meet, dashing straight to the water they begin splashing about. We stroll down to watch them knowing they are safe in the calm clear water and the depth is a slow gradual decline. A toddler squeals as the water laps over its toes. The mother comments, “It’s perfect for the toddlers and babies, so much better than being at the open beach where it’s rough.”
To the side of the beach a small crowd is gathering. They sit mesmerised watching a sole man creating a sand castle reminiscent of the cave homes in Cappadocia, Turkey. Just a few whispers are heard as parents explain to their children the process of mixing the white beach sand with buckets of sea water to form a mud mixture that is the foundation for the sculpture.
I look up and see older children have swum out to a pontoon. They are diving, jumping and sliding down small waterslides back into the harbour waters. Behind me, between the water and West Coast Highway more tweens are shouting in delight. They are in The Great Escape attraction. For $21.90 kids aged between 6-12years can be entertained from 10am-5pm on: a bouncy castle, trampolines, play mini golf, climb rock walls or a jungle mountain, and cool off by sliding down the 16m high wild rapids or one of the water tubes.
But Hillarys is not just for the kids. As we weave through the crowds along the boardwalk I see couples and groups of friends of all ages. They are looking, pondering and discussing what to buy at the 26 art, clothing and souvenir shops. Some have stopped for a coffee or our sitting on the boardwalk enjoying a kebab, taco, fish and chips or ice-cream from one of the 29 eateries.
We sit for a bite to eat and my partner comments about the floating assets. Nodding towards the luxury yachts moored at the marina.
We wonder further round and I bump into my teenage niece who is with her girlfriends. The girls told me how they loved coming to Hillarys as it was a nice day out; they could swim out to the pontoon, sunbake on the grass, go window shopping in the surf shops, and eat chips and ice-cream.
As the afternoon continues the crowds disperse and it is now only busy in the Breakwater tavern. Whilst having a drink as the sunsets over the ocean sounds appealing – it’s not the hour to take young children into the pub.
As we head back to our car in the 2700 bay free car park our son begs’, “Can we come back tomorrow?”
This has got to be the reason people come again and again – the kids just love it.
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