Rio Tinto Naturescape Kings Park, is a nature play area located only minutes from Perth city. If your kids love sticks, rocks, water & climbing they are going to love Rio Tinto Naturescape in Kings Park. It's one of the best free things to do all year round in Perth. Rio Tinto Naturescape re-opened in December 2017 after the completion of Stage 2 upgrades that included installation of The Bungarra, The Python, an extension to Paperbark Creek - Paperbark Waterhole and upgrades to both The Tangle and the cubby building area.
Before you get all excited and head straight to Rio Tinto Naturescape, please check the website closely as it is closed Mondays, and all of February, on other public holidays or where there is a very high fire danger. This carefully controlled environment also has several conditions for entry and certain items are prohibited from bringing into Naturescape. You can plan your visit at the Rio Tinto Naturescape website
Just be aware that if you are visiting Naturescape with young kids you must be are able to climb rocks and follow them into the water. This is certainly not a sit back, relax and watch them play type of play experience, you'll need to supervise kids at arms length unless you have older children and you are confident with their water and rock climbing abilities.
Definitely the most popular feature for both of my boys - Paperback Creek. Kids can wade into the water and climb over rocks and logs. My youngest absolutely loved moving all the rocks around, creating little dams and watching the rocks move with the flow of water. You could also get hold of some leaves and watch them race down the creek.
Make sure you bring spare clothes and a towel because they will get wet! The water looks really clean, but there are warning signs not to drink, swim or submerge yourself in the water, kids are allowed however to wade knee deep into the water - and as if you could stop them anyway. There is a beautiful deck over looking this area which is a great place to enjoy a snack and a drink - make sure you bring a plastic bag to put your rubbish in as there aren't any rubbish bins at Rio Tinto Naturescape.
The Stage 2 Rio Tinto Naturescape Kings Park upgrade included an extension to Paperbark Creek called Paperbark Water Hole. This is a another fabulous spot for kids to wade in the water and is located near The Bungarra.
Gather up some sand and sticks and mix it all with a bush stick to create a mud pie or bush potion.
There are plenty of rocks around to climb all over or move around in Paperbark creek. They can also climb the rocks to get to over the top of Tuart Tunnel
Now what could more fun than being given a pile of sticks to move around! The sticks are used to create little cubby houses that the kids loved building, pulling apart and re-building and of course hanging out in.
There are a few tree hide climbs for the bigger kids (and there is a lower one or the little kids too). The Tangle rope challenge is heaps of fun too! Kids have to follow the colour ribbons on the ropes without touching the ground. There was a Naturescape Guide present in this area on the day and he was helping guide the kids and encouraging them along the way. A wonderful activity to test their problem solving, balance and physical skills.
The Tangle received an upgrade in the 2017 Naturescape upgrade with more ropes and nets to challenge the kids.
The Python is one of the new features from the Stage 2 Rio Tinto Naturescape Kings Park upgrade and features a 25m long, 7m tall aerial walkway. It's located near the entrance and has two levels. It's on an incline so it's a little bit of a challenge to make your way from one end to the other.
The Bungarra comes from Paperbark Creek and features multiple levels and different ways of accessing them. Explore the levels by crawling through tunnels, climbing ladders, using ropes and wooden steps and more. You'll spend ages going up and down through all the levels as you try to discover it all.
It is amazing to think that Naturescape is so close to the city - you feel like you are in the middle of nowhere, so the kids get a real nature experience. There are plenty of very helpful Naturescape Guides around to provide information and advice. Don't let the rain put you off! This is a great place to visit on a rainy day too, just pack the rain coat and umbrella, and explore nature in the rain! There are some covered areas you can use to escape the rain to enjoy your lunch or a snack. And best of all entry is free, so this is a fantastic place to take the kids for some old fashioned fun that won't cost you a cent.
Naturescape can get very busy in the school holidays or on warm days on the weekend so be prepared to queue up as Naturescape temporarily closes when it reaches capacity. You can either wait for it to reopen or enjoy some of the other sites at Kings Park like Synergy Parkland, or Lotterywest Family area, and try again later.
For more information on open times, closed days, what to bring and things to do, visit the Naturescape website
What to bring
Change of clothes | Towel | Packed lunch | Plastic bag for rubbish | Hats & sunscreen | Wet weather gear if raining - also make sure you check the website for things you are NOT allowed to bring
There are many hazards inherent to the natural environment such as water bodies, snakes, spiders, sharp sticks etc, so children must be closely supervised at all times. There is a first aid post on site.
The Rio Tinto Naturescape entrance is located on May Drive, just east of Saw Avenue
Posted by Kids Around Perth Reporter Lauren 17th May 2013. Review updated 15th December, 2017