Gascoyne Food Festival Long Table Lunch

20180810_120754As part of this year’s Gascoyne Food Festival I was attending many of the tasty events in and around Carnarvon.  I was told that the festival’s highlight is the Long Table Lunch and I could barely contain my excitement about the 10 course lunch that lay before me!

My word, the location under the shady trees at the Bentwaters Plantation was amazing. We took our seats and spent a sunny winter’s afternoon chatting and mingling over some good wine and seriously amazing food, much of which was cooked using fresh produce that we’d seen the day before, on the Chef Tour of the Plantations.

Gascoyne Food Festival Long Table Lunch

I was there as part of the media group of food bloggers and journalists, it was so nice to get dressed up, after touring the farms the day before.

Gascoyne Food Festival Long Table Lunch

L-R: Liz Sheehan (aka Breakfast Confidential) & Me

Chef Don Hancey

Chatting across the table to WA Food Ambassador, Chef Don Hancey, I discovered that the long table lunch gets longer each year! This year over 360 guests (locals and visitors) enjoyed the epic meal cooked with local produce by Chefs from all around WA.

Gascoyne Food Council

As a Chef that’s very passionate about supporting local growers, Don has been one of the key people involved in growing the festival over many years. It comes as no surprise that this year he was awarded with a Gascoyne Hero Award, for his contribution towards the Gascoyne Food Festival. Usually Don is in the kitchen, but this year he got to sit back and enjoy the lunch – which was very well deserved.

The Epic Long Table Lunch

To get our tastebuds warmed up, we devoured a canape of crab and avocado, with a sriracha kick on a tapioca crisp by MasterChef alumni Brendon Pang.

Gascoyne Food Festival Long Table Lunch

Entrée of the chilled Mareterram prawns, with charred corn and melon salsa and a jalapeno sauce was created by Chef Jason Beste (of Suppa Road, an Award winning south west catering co). What a stunning dish!

Gascoyne Food Festival Long Table Lunch

The drool-worthy 12 hour beef rib by Chef Matt Neeble (of Arthur and Co, a new restaurant in Hibernian Place) was so meaty and delicious!

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Delish Ice supplied the palate cleanser, a combo of tomato, strawberry and basil.

Gascoyne Food Festival Long Table Lunch

I loved the wood grilled BBQ lamb shoulder by Chef Melissa Palinkas (Owner/Head Chef of Young George). The yellow beans were so crunchy – I could have eaten a bucket-load!

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Chef Dean Wood (of Dean Street Quarters, all the way from Esperance!) dished up spiced roasted pumpkin with pickled beans and a smoked yogurt and granola. Chef Lucas Fernandes (of Long Chim, in the Treasury Buildings) created a scrumptious crispy fried goldband snapper dish.

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Stuffed eggplants by Chef Gurpreet Bagga (from Sauma, one of my favourite Perth Indian restaurants) were packed with flavour and served with paratha.

Gascoyne Food Festival Long Table Lunch

The chefs had their own long table, where they carefully plated the components of the MOST spectacular Sweeter Banana Dessert by Chef Nathan Thomas (of Laundry 43, in Busselton).

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The bananas were poached in beurre noisette and served with a banana and lime parfait. Trust me, it tasted as good as it looks!

Gascoyne Food Festival Long Table Lunch

And we finished our feast on a sugary high of the Desert Bloom strawberries and cream. I could smell the strawberries from about 10 meters away, they’re so sweet. A simple way to end the lunch, the strawberries are heavenly. I must have eaten about 10.

Gascoyne Food Festival Long Table Lunch

It’s so difficult to play favourites. For me, my highlights had to be the beef ribs, the snapper and the banana dessert, but in truth I loved each and every wonderful dish cooked under the verandas of the homestead by the chefs. 

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Well done to Chef Stuart Laws who brought everyone together and executed such a memorable meal!

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The Gascoyne Food Festival Long Table Lunch was a luscious lunch featuring so much of the produce we’d seen growing just the day before. It brought together the amazing local produce, the Chefs, the farmers and the landscape in one blissfully sunny afternoon!

I’d highly recommend you put the long table lunch and the Gascoyne Food Festival onto you WA foodie bucket list. The amazing produce really has to be tasted to be believed.

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I attended as a guest of the Gascoyne Food Council.

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Crown Towers Perth

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From the very moment we pulled our overnight bags through the immense foyer of Crown Towers Perth, I felt relaxed. I was working on an event at Crown and was so excited to be staying at Crown Towers along with Chef and Little Chef – the perfect excuse to mix work with pleasure.

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The luxury hotel is Crown Perth’s glittering jewel. With so much to see and do on the Burswood peninsula, it’s the perfect spot for a family stay-cay.

Check in was smooth and we were so excited that we pretty much ran up the long corridor to our room!

Our Room at Crown Towers

We stayed in a Deluxe Twin room, with views to the Darling Ranges. Before we explored the rest of the hotel, we had a good look around our stunning room. The air conditioned room is immaculately appointed, with two Queen beds, a huge flat-screen TV with some Foxtel channels and pay per view movies, an armchair and desk.

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There are far too many inclusions to name. Here are just some of the features we found useful:
o Deep soaking bath
o Connecting rooms available upon request
o Nespresso coffee machine and tea making facilities
o Fridge and DELUXE mini bar
o A selection of magazines
o Complimentary bottled water
o Iron and Ironing board
o Snuggly Crown bathrobes and slippers
o Safe
o Hands free telephones
o High-speed WIfi Internet access
o 24hr room service & concierge

The tablet found by the beds controls pretty much everything in the room, from drawing the curtains to the TV. Technology eh?!

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The marble bathroom is a whole other level from any hotel I’ve ever stayed at. Here at Crown Towers you can watch TV in.the.bath. Seriously! There’s a phone in the loo too!

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And I was seriously impressed by the bath’s huge faucet, which was no ordinary sized tap. The water gushes out so fast, filling the bath in no time at all. There’s also an excellent shower, loads of quality toiletries, a hair dryer and fluffy towels.

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The deluxe mini bar offers French Champagne and local spirits…

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Koko Black chocolates and more…

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I grabbed a few of the magazines in our room and headed to the pool area.

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The Crown Towers Pool Area

With all that attention to detail in our room, it’s no surprise that the pools are stunning. It was a gloriously sunny afternoon, so we grabbed a few sunloungers under the palms and enjoyed a splash about. The daybeds look luxe, there’s an extra charge to hire those. The poolside area is open from 6.30am to 7.30pm daily.

There isn’t a dedicated kids pool as such, like in the neighbouring Crown Metropol where there’s a kiddie play area and slide. The pool closest to the cabana has a beach entry, which is perfect for little ones as it starts off very shallow. There’s also a small, circular pool, surrounded by loungers. This plunge pool is only 90cms deep. Also found by the pool is a cabana with foosball and a pool table.

Staying without kids? There’s a chilled over 18’s pool area with plush bar.

And if you head to the river side of the outdoor area, you’ll find a quiet spot to curl up on a daybed with a book.

The Food at Crown Towers

We couldn’t drag ourselves away from this beautiful spot, so we enjoyed some drinks and an early dinner by the pool. Ordering is easy – just put up your flag on the sunlounger and a friendly waitperson will soon be along to take your order from the Epicurean menu.

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My nicoise salad was spot on – the tuna was perfectly cooked, it was a good sized meal and the salad was also well dressed.

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Little Chef chose fish n chips ($16) from the kids menu (nuggets and spag bol are also available) and it was a very generous serve.

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We headed upstairs and settled in for a comfortable night’s sleep. The bed was very comfortable and I loved having the extra dark block out curtains! We made the most of a late 11am check out with a lazy morning by the pool. We headed downstairs for breakfast at Epicurean, but instead of the luxe buffet, we opted to enjoy the good weather and order from the a la carte menu outside.

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Little Chef enjoyed pancakes. I had runny poached eggs and avo on toast (GF).

Chef loved his brekky burger on a buttery brioche bun.

We spent a memorable night at Crown Towers. The impressive hotel has really raised the bar in Western Australia’s luxury stay niche.

My tip is to book two or more nights, especially if you want to make full use of the pool. One night is never enough! Go on, treat yourself – you deserve it x

Epicurean Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

If you’re dining at Crown, check out my other reviews here:

Millers Farm Cafe, Cowaramup

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Millers Ice Cream Farm Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cowaramup, also known affectionately as “Cow Town”, is a lovely spot in the Margaret River region. It’s no surprise that there are a lot of dairy cows in the area and Millers Farm Cafe is a great place to head for an ice cream scoop of two.

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The Ice Creamery is found on a beautiful dairy farm, about a 15min drive from Margaret River itself. The Millers Farm Café is found in a cute old cottage and has an assortment of hot and cold drinks, including milkshakes, frappes and yummy Yahava coffee. There’s sweet and savoury home baked scones, and of course, their famous ice cream.

There are so many flavours to choose from – then the choice of cup or cone. Or even the famous “Mega Moo”, tasting paddle with 8 scoops – perfect for sharing! There are dairy free options too.

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Little Chef made the tough decision of choosing just one of the 26 available flavours! He loved the choc fudge brownie… he’s not smiling as I’ve told him to wait to eat his ice-cream while I take a photo. Poor kid!

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Chef enjoyed his cone with two scoops of Apple pie flavoured ice cream.

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Inside the café there are also some lovely farm and cow-themed gifts to buy. As well as the scrumptious ice cream, there’s a large adventure playground, big lawns and a lovely bush setting. The spacious playground is set amongst wood chips and features lots of swings, slides, tunnels, monkey bars, and climbing frames.

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There are also two cows (not real!) which children are able to ‘milk’. When they pull on the rubber udders, water pours into a bucket below. It’s always a good thing to let the kids know where their food comes from and it’s a great photo opportunity too.

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Burger Baby, Margaret River

IMG_1756There’s a new burger joint in Margs! Burger Baby is found on Bussell Highway – right in the heart of town. The casual eatery has an eclectic, vintage vibe. At Burger Baby you can dine inside, where there’s lots of tables, as well as comfy sofas. The alfresco area, which overlooks the main street, looks pretty special at night with its fairy lights all lit up.

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The table service is small-town friendly. The chatty staff gave us helpful suggestions, as we decided which burgers to choose from the menu, which also features chicken burgers, pork belly burgers (yum!), lentil burgers and more.

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Chef chose the Everything Burger ($19) on a buttery brioche bun. As the name suggests, it’s a massive burger, brimming with beef, bacon, caramelised onion, tomato, greens, pickles, melted cheese and mayo. The 70% grass fed beef patties are finished with wagyu, just to add a little extra fat content. You know, fat = flavour after all.

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I chose the “everything burger” too. The gluten free bun was totally stuffed with so much tastiness. It’s a delicious burger, and the GF bun was one of the best I’ve had!

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Little Chef wolfed down a mini beef cheese burger ($9). There is also a mini chicken n cheese kid’s burger available. We shared a piping hot serve of chips. There are plenty of sides, like loaded chips, corn and salads available too.

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For families who love a game night there’s a pile of board games (Guess Who, Cluedo etc), as well as a pool table and foosball table. Little Chef found a few friends and had a great time playing foosball.

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Burger Baby’s fresh and tasty burgers are well worth checking out for a delicious and great value family meal in Margaret River town.

Find Burger Baby at 1/115 Bussell Highway, Margaret River, WA.

Xanadu, Margaret River

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Xanadu Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Our first visit to Xanadu came when I’d been Chef’s wife for all of a few days. Honeymooning in Margaret River, the Xanadu cellar door was on our must visit list and good job, as their 2005 Shiraz was a cracker. I think we bought a whole case! Fast forward a decade or so and we were back again, invited by the Xanadu team, and so glad to see their wines are as exceptional as ever.

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Driving down the sweeping vine-lined driveway, I have to admit I was singing ♪Xanaduuuu♪ the kitsch 1980’s hit from the Olivia Newton John movie of the same name. Right now, towards the end of summer, the lush vines are heaving with grapes.

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Xanadu is a kind of idyllic paradise, and well-cooked Margaret River produce coupled with top notch wines are certainly a match made in heaven.

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Xanadu is set in gorgeous surroundings, I totally got distracted by the hundreds of white butterflies fluttering over the rosemary bushes on our way in.

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Manicured lawns are a great spot to throw down a bean bag. A ski-lodge style dining room is equally as stunning, with its high ceilings, stunning artwork and stacked wine barrels. It was a glorious summer’s day, so we sat out on the patio.

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I’m a bit notorious for wanting to pinch Chef’s wine. Reluctantly, he let me sip his 2015 DJL Shiraz. It’s wonderfully smooth. He was safe though, as I’d picked a cracker of a Chardonnay. It’s a big call, but I’m confident to say that the 2016 Xanadu is my favourite chardy of all time! It’s not a surprise that Xanadu was awarded James Halliday’s Wine of the Year in 2014.

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There’s a few ways to dine at Xanadu. Your experience can be as formal or informal as you want it to be. Share a platter or a few small plates with a glass of wine on the lawns or try a little bit of everything in the “Xanadu Fest”, a chef’s choice degustation for $85pp. Chef and I enjoyed a three course “prix fixe”($60pp).

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The menu by their award winning Head Chef Melissa Kokoti features an abundance of fresh local produce. To start, we shared the Xanadu board, featuring a velvety smooth chicken liver parfait, meaty terrine, pickles and my favourite – crisp pork belly.

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Bina Maya Yallingup Escape

Bina Maya Yallingup Escape is a must for your next getaway in the Margaret River region. We were invited to stay in the shiny and new two bedroom villa, for a blissful two nights, by owners Sara and Tim. I had a ball looking around the luxury Adrian Zorzi built villa – let me show you…

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The luxe Bina Maya, which opened early in 2108, has a secluded bushland feel. Saying that, it’s only minutes from the conveniences of Dunsborough and Yallingup. Not to mention the amazing local wineries… 

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Offering a two bedroom “Villa” or four bedroom “Residence”, both spots at Bina Maya feature uninterrupted bushland views, open plan living, luxe bathrooms and stunning design features like a floating dining table, Italian leather sofas and big, comfy beds.

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Outside, you’ll find landscaped gardens and a deck for alfresco dining. Bina Maya is set in 7.5 acres of native bushland. It’s a magical place at dawn – Bina’s meaning is “light of the morning” and Maya means “our hut” in Aboriginal. There’s bush tracks to walk around the property where you’re likely to see kangaroos, and a creek flows in winter. The local roos love to nibble on the lawn, we spotted one with a joey at dusk. Little Chef was so excited!

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Once we’d settled in at our villa, I poured myself a glass of wine and found a spot to read by the window – I felt a million miles away from anywhere.

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A Foodie’s Paradise

The state of the art kitchen is well equipped with pretty much anything a Chef could need. Trust me – he checked out all the cupboards and draws! From a well-stocked pantry with basics like herbs, EVOO and flour, to an essential Nespresso machine and lots of utensils and appliances – you’ll be able to cook up a storm at Bina Maya.

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Chef loved cooking in the kitchen, what better way to make the most of the fantastic local produce. He threw together some easy “Posh Dawgs” with locally made Beef and Bootleg Brewery Stout sausages, Margaret River Kimchi and local cheese. And BBQ’d lamb cutlets with a beet and quinoa salad for me. So tasty!

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The stunning kitchen also has some cool features like a ultra-mod tap, that clicks out to be used like a hose in the sink. There’s even a dedicated wine fridge, to pop your wine bottles in, keeping them at the perfect drinking temperatures – red or white. And the practical laundry is cleverly hidden away behind cupboard doors. And of course there’s a BBQ on the deck for cooking in the great outdoors.

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Indulge

A retreat is the perfect time to focus on yourself and do those things you don’t have time to do at home – like take a long bubble bath with a glass of wine! The custom-made bath caddys are so handy – with spots for your wine glass, candles, even your iPad!

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Tech Savvy

Though you might want a retreat to get away from the bright city lights and digital world, handy WiFi is available at Bina Maya. There’s also a Sonos smart wireless speaker to stream your phone’s music playlist to. I had a bit of Oasis and 90s rock in the background while we enjoyed our dinner on the deck. Streaming services are also available to watch on the TVs. Perfect for binge-watching in the king-sized beds!

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Comfort

Sara really has thought of everything, no expense has been spared. From slipping in-between the indulgent organic cotton sheets, or wrapping yourself in a fluffy bathrobe, to underfloor heating in the luxury bathrooms – essential during those South West winters!

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Another winter must is their designer European Morso fireplace, which I bet will be so cosy. All the quality organic toiletries are locally sourced and contain no nasties. The Enliven botanical mint hand wash smells divine. I literally couldn’t stop smelling my hands!

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Yoga

Massage treatments or private yoga and Pilates sessions are available at Bina Maya. I can’t recommend Daphne from Solas enough. She had mountains of patience working with me, a yoga virgin, and I totally loved it.

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Last year I took time out to focus on my health. I wasn’t feeling great and came to the conclusion that a lot of it was attributed to gluten. Now that I’ve ditched the bread and pasta, I feel much better and moving into 2018 I’ve looked at ways in which I can feel even better by adding more exercise and movement into my daily life, which is largely spent chained to my laptop. This yoga lesson is a positive little step in this direction!

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And thank you Daphne for my natural Solas Essentials goodies. More on Solas here.

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Need Something a bit larger?

The neighbouring “Residence” was having the finishing touches put to it when we stayed at Bina Maya. If you think the Villa is breathtaking, just wait till you see this…

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The four bedroom, 2 bathroom residence features a huge open plan living area, one of the most stunning kitchens I have seen (imagine cooking in there!), which opens out to a large deck with day beds and huge entertaining area.

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The larger house is perfect for a family getaway, a group of couples or a girly weekend (many of the king beds can be split into singles) or even a small wedding.

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What’s Nearby?

Bina Maya is sooooo close to some fantastic spots… there’s pristine bushland and beaches (my favourite has to Meelup). The villa is just a few streets from Yallingup Woodfired Bread. Their bread comes hot out of the oven each afternoon. Head there about 4pm to pick up a fresh loaf, Little Chef loved their rustic fruit loaf.

One of my favourite wineries of all time Happs is close by. I’ve long been a fan of pretty much all their wines, their rosé and preservative free range in particular. Their Dry rosé is new to me and I loved it. Simmos Icecreamery is also just around the corner, where we headed for goofy golf and a scoop or two.

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Cape Naturalise Lighthouse, is a short drive away and a tour to the top of the lighthouse is definitely recommended! Want to indulge even more? I headed to the award winning Bodhi J Indjinup Spa Retreat for a relaxing massage, in a treatment room with a view!

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Where to Eat

In the Bina Maya handbook, Sara (a self-confessed foodie), has listed some great places to dine at in the local area, including newbie Yarri by acclaimed Chef Aaron Carr. Here’s a few of my picks…

Aravina Estate is the perfect all-rounder in the Dunsborough area. Great food, plus lush gardens, a mini motor museum, big playground, gift shop – oh and there’s wine too! This time around, we enjoyed a lazy winery lunch at Xanadu, a long standing favourite of ours (blog coming soon!). Though it’s at the southern end of the Margaret River region, it’s well worth a drive to.

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Not a wine lover? That’s OK! The south west has several spots where beer drinkers will enjoy. Eagle Bay Brewing Co is a short drive away and has good food too.  And if you want to put that beautiful Bina Maya kitchen to good use, we suggest you head into Dunsborough and grab some local provisions from Merchant & Maker. We got Kimchi, gourmet salad, and more! The neighbouring Dunsborough butcher is also excellent.

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Hidden away in peaceful bushland, the Scandi-chic Bina Maya villa feels a world away from the daily grind. We could see a lot of love and thought has been put into Bina Maya by Sara and Tim, to make sure each and every guest finds their happy place here (mine was sitting at the window nook).

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Bina Maya is truly stunning. Book yourself a relaxing retreat there – you’ll love it.

Find out more on the Bina Maya website.

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And a special mention to B Directory, who arranged this amazing weekend for us. They’re a local Perth company who bring West Aussie businesses and bloggers together.

Thanks Elsa and Kristy! X

CAT Bus Adventures in Perth With Kids

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Public transport can be a real novelty for kids, who spend much of their time travelling in Mum or Dad’s car. Young children will delight in a train ride or trip on a bus. The Perth CAT busses are a quick and easy way of getting around the city, when little legs get weary or just to see a bit more of what the CBD and Northbridge have to offer.

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Jump on and off the free CAT (Central Area Transit) busses at their dedicated stops all around Perth. Kids can answer their own “When will the bus be here?” question by pressing the big button and having the voice tell them how many minutes away the next CAT is. The busses are also pram friendly and have priority seating.

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There are four coloured CAT BUS routes, zig zagging around the city from West Perth to East Perth and Northbridge. Grab a map from the bus ports, train stations or tourism information stand in Forrest Place and get exploring the attractions, parks and eateries of the city of Perth!

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Here’s my guide to the best bus stops to hop on and off with your family in Perth.

BLUE CAT ROUTE

STOP 1 – Elizabeth Quay Bus Station

If you’re planning a day exploring the city by CAT bus, you may even arrive here by bus or train. The Elizabeth Quay Bus Station is just over the road from the Quay itself. The brilliant Elizabeth Quay is a great place for a ride on the Venetian Carousel, game of mini golf, a scoop of delish Gusto Gelato or casual bite to eat at V Burger.

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STOP 2 – Barrack Square

There’s loads to do at Barrack Square! This stop is also the best for the south side of Elizabeth Quay. Opposite the CAT Stop is the famous Perth Bell Tower, cafes and ferry stops for exploring the Swan River. Stroll over the Elizabeth Quay bridge and check out the excellent playground! Continue reading

Our City Staycation at Holiday Inn Perth CBD

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I think the Holiday Inn has to be one of the best Perth hotels for a family stay in the city. Not only was the four and a half star hotel recently refurbished and is incredibly modern, it is also slap bang in the heart of the CBD, opposite the Central Park building on Hay Street, close to the pedestrian shopping malls, cafes and attractions.

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Chef, Little Chef and I were excited about our Holiday Inn staycation. I was there on assignment for Buggybuddys, Perth’s top kids website, who I also write for. We didn’t have time to travel anywhere for a break, so discovering our own city was a great alternative and we jumped at the opportunity to check out the Holiday Inn.

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We pulled our car up in the driveway at the side of the hotel, which is really convenient if you want to take advantage of their valet parking. We entered the lobby and were promptly checked in by the welcoming ladies at the front desk. Particular attention was paid to Little Chef, who was given an activity pack and told that there would be a special surprise if he completed the book, so he was totally on a mission to finish it!

Our Rooms

HolInnFamPic Credit: Holiday Inn Perth

We grabbed our overnight bags and electronic key and excitedly headed to our Family Room on the seventh floor. The Family Room features a massive king sized bed in the main area, which faces a large 48” flat-screen TV, perfect for lying in bed and watching a movie!

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There’s an adjoining separate bedroom (which we were stoked about!) with a further two single beds and a 32” flat-screen TV. There’s also a desk – where Little Chef quickly set to work on his activity book. It kept him entertained for ages!

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5 Fun Things to do in Mandurah & The Peel Region

There are so many fun experiences to be had in Mandurah and the wider Peel area. Whether you want to get your adrenalin pumping, or take a relaxing cruise on the canals, there’s something to suit everyone. Here’s my pick of the top things to do in Mandurah and Peel for Anytime Adventures:

Mandurah Cruises

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A boat cruise is the quintessential thing to do whilst in Mandurah! Mandurah Cruises’ modern boats take you for a tour around the estuary, marina and canals, seeing many sights along the way as well as pods of dolphins. It’s so exciting to get up close and see them swimming alongside a boat! Take a lunch cruise and treat yourselves to some fresh fish n chips on-board too!

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Find out more about Mandurah Cruises here.

 

Trees Adventure

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At Trees Adventure you’ll find tree top obstacle courses, in a safe environment. There’s a variety of flying foxes and tricky challenges, like suspended bridges, see saws, Tarzan ropes, climbing walls, swinging balls and cargo nets which test your balance and co-ordination. You’ll be swinging, leaping, climbing and flying through the trees! For spectators there are pathways that follow the fun obstacle courses which are suitable for the whole family (from 4 years old).

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More on Trees Adventure here.

 

Peel Zoo

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Peel Zoo is found on the banks of the Murray River near Pinjarra. The boutique zoo specialises in Australian native animals and some farm animals too. A ‘hands on” experience is what you can expect here – from handfeeding kangaroos, beautiful birds landing on your shoulder in the walk through aviary, patting friendly farm animals and holding a scaly snake – animal lovers young and old will love Peel Zoo!

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More on Peel Zoo here.

 

Mini Golf

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Take the tourist fun train over the bridge to King Carnival and challenge your family to a game of Mini Golf . The Adventure Golf course has lots of mini sand bunkers and water hazards – you might even get a hole in one like Little Chef did! Afterwards take a ride on the Ferris wheel, for a birds eye view of Mandurah!

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Walking Around Mandurah

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Mandurah is a very walkable place, it’s flat and there’s lots to see and do within a small area. Walk through the leafy foreshore park, where kids love the large playground and you might even spot some dolphins in the water! Have a coffee at one of the estuary-side cafes and treat yourself to a Simmo’s ice cream on the Mandurah Boardwalk.

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Walk a little further over the pedestrian bridge to Dolphin Quay. Browse the market stalls and stop for a bite to eat at one of the many marina side cafes and restaurants.

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There’s certainly plenty to do in Mandurah and the Peel region!

Thanks to Mandurah & Peel Tourism Organisation (MAPTO) we were guests of some of the abovementioned venues. Nothing is exaggerated or embellished. All words and opinions are my own.

 

A Weekend Stay at Seashells Mandurah

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Seashells Mandurah isn’t you average 4.5 star location… It’s a stunning beachside apartment retreat, which was our luxury base for our “Anytime Adventures” in the Peel region. Perfectly placed by the ocean, Seashells is seconds from the markets and cafes of Dolphin Quay and within walking distance of many of Mandurah’s main attractions.

As part of my collaboration with Buy West Eat Best and Peel Tourism, we were invited down to Mandurah for a weekend to experience what the Peel region has to offer a family of foodies. I was almost beside myself with excitement! Other than passing through Mandurah on the way to Margs (in the days before the Forrest Highway), I’d never stopped at the coastal city long enough to really explore what it offers.

The Peel Region – so close to home!

peelStaycations are becoming more and more popular with our busier lifestyles, tighter budgets and the realisation that WA has so much to offer locals. With a travel time of just over one hour, we were barely in the car long enough for Little Chef to ask “Are we there yet?”, before we arrived in sunny Mandurah.

Not only does the Peel region encompass Mandurah, but Jarrahdale and Serpentine to the north, Dwellingup and Boddington to the east and Waroona to the south. It’s a massive area with loads to see and do.

Staying at Seashells

Seashells is really well located next to the beach and also the popular Dolphin Quay, which is best compared to a mini Hillarys Boat Harbour. The friendly Seashells receptionist checked us in and handed us our room keys. As we headed up to the third floor, Little Chef practically ran down the hallway with his luggage he was so excited – and I wasn’t too far behind him!

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As we stepped into room 307 – a two bedroom Ocean View Apartment, we were greeted by the spacious, modern kitchen and beyond that a magnificent view over the ocean. Poor Chef and Little Chef were given STRICT instructions to leave their bags at the door and not to touch a thing, till I took photos! Haha

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There was also a wonderful surprise on the breakfast bar – a welcoming gift from the Mandurah & Peel Tourism Organisation of some excellent Peel wines. How lovely. And even better – they are all whites/rosé so Chef will keep his mitts of them!

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I’m looking forward to cracking these bottles of vino from Millbrook open, as well as a very tasty drop I’m familiar with – the Drakesbrook rosella, which is an excellent rosé.

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The spacious living area has a comfy lounge which overlooks the wrap around balcony.

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When you’re not gazing over the sea, the TV has some Foxtel channels as well as free to air. There’s also dining table for four and a desk. I really love the décor, it’s very beach chic and all the rooms have very vibrant artworks too.

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The kitchen has everything you’d need to cook up a feast, with an oven, fridge/freezer, dishwasher and more. We were definitely having the weekend off cooking, but it was handy to have the kitchen for putting together our breakfasts. It would be perfect for longer stays.

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There’s even a laundry hiding away behind some of the kitchen cupboards.

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Our ocean view bedroom was dominated by a king size bed and had plenty of storage space and a safe in the wardrobes.

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The spacious ensuite was well appointed with a deep spa bath and rainforest shower, as well as good quality toiletries.

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Little Chef was in his own bedroom which he was stoked about, a twin room, which also had its own bathroom with shower.

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There’s lots of other room features, we found these handy:

–        Free wifi

–        Dining setting on balcony

–        Nespresso coffee machine

–        movies on demand

–        docking stations

–        hairdryer

–        safe

–        reverse cycle air-conditioning

 

At Seashells Mandurah there’s also :

–        Free, secure parking

–        A stunning infinity pool, spa and loads of sun loungers

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–        Barbeque and outside dining area

–        A floodlit tennis court

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–        Easy access to the beach

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That pool… what a stunner. The heated pool has a shallow (40cm) paddling area at one end for kids, a spa and a view over the ocean. If our itinerary hadn’t been so full, I’d have happily lazed on a sun lounger with a girly novel while the boys swam in the pool. You really don’t need to travel far to get that relaxed holiday feeling.

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My Suggested Itinerary For a Stay in Mandurah & Peel

You could use a weekend in Mandurah to relax and get away from it all or get out and about and check out the Peel region. Here’s what I’d suggest you pack into your weekend in Mandurah:

FRIDAY

o   Take a cheeky afternoon off work and mosey on down to Seashells Mandurah, found on the beach, for a 2pm check in.

o   Pop your bags down and have a look around your beautifully appointed 4.5 star apartment, admiring the view from the balcony.

o   Then get your walking shoes on! Walk to Dolphin Quay (two minutes away) and over the bridge to Mandurah Boardwalk (an easy 10 minute stroll) for dolphin spotting with Mandurah Cruises on the estuary and canals – don’t forget your camera! Read more on our “Fish n Chip” lunch cruise here.

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o   Walk around Mandurah, have a coffee or Simmo’s ice cream in the foreshore park. Take the tourist fun train over the bridge to King Carnival and challenge your family to a game of Mini Golf – you might even get a hole in one like Little Chef did!

o   Head back to Seashells to freshen up, then enjoy a delish dinner. There are many dining options close by, my tip is to check out Flics Kitchen, where we had a very enjoyable dinner of share plates and scrumptious desserts. Read more on our tasty dinner at Flics Kitchen here.

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SATURDAY

o   Start your day with a hearty breakfast marina side at Café Moka, just a two minute walk from Seashells at Dolphin Quay. Check out these pancakes – demolished by Little Chef. Read more on our scrumptious brunch at Café Moka here.

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o   Then head out for the day to explore the Dwellingup area of the Peel region. For the thrill seeking, zip lining at the Trees Adventure obstacle course is a whole lot of fun for the whole family! Read more on our visit to Trees Adventure here.

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o   After all that swinging from the trees, Pinjarra Bakery is a great stop for a quick and tasty lunch. A top tip – eat your baked goodies in Caldwell Park, by the Murray River, where there’s a fantastic playground for kids. Read more on Pinjarra Bakery here.

o   Peel Zoo, which specialises in Australian native animals, is a must stop for animal lovers! There’s many opportunities to feed and touch furry, feathered and scaly animals throughout the boutique zoo. Read more on our visit to Peel Zoo here.

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o   Enjoy chilling in your comfortable apartment, build sandcastles on the beach and laze by the infinity pool at Seashells Mandurah. Don’t forget your bathers, the pool is heated!

o   Cook up a storm in your well equipped kitchen or check out one of the many dinner options within walking distance at Dolphin Quay, Mandurah Boardwalk and the town centre of Mandurah too.

SUNDAY

o   Enjoy a lazy morning in your Seashells apartment, a coffee from the Nespresso machine and breakfast on your balcony, before check out.

o   Shop up a storm and find something unique to remind you of your Mandurah getaway at the Dolphin Quay Markets.

o   If you need another caffeine fix, my pick is DPM Cafe on Mandurah Terrace. They claim to have the best coffee in Mandurah and we agree that it’s pretty darn good! The fab Frisky Deer, a homewares and coffee shop, is a stones throw from Seashells too.

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o   Drive back to Perth via historic hills village of Jarrahdale. Enjoy a long lunch at Millbrook Winery, where most of the tasty produce is picked fresh from their garden each day. Don’t forget to grab a few bottles of wine from their cellar door before heading home. Read more on our stunning lunch at Millbrook here.

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We genuinely loved our time at Seashells, it was immaculate and would happily stay at any of their WA retreats again. More on Seashells here.

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The three of us loved discovering Mandurah and the Peel Region and absolutely recommend that you check it out – be it for a day trip or extended stay. It’s always the way, when something is so close to home, you tend to overlook it. Mandurah and Peel offers loads for foodies, families and pretty much everyone else! Find out more on what the Peel region has to offer you here.

Thanks to Mandurah & Peel Tourism Organisation (MAPTO) we were guests of Seashells Mandurah as well as some of the abovementioned venues. Nothing is exaggerated or embellished. All words and opinions are my own.

Thank you to everyone for making our Mandurah weekend so magical! Amanda x

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P.S. If I’ve missed your favourite Mandurah or Peel spot – let me know in the comments below!