My Other Favourite F-Word… F1

Now I’m going to let you in on something…

Some people may be surprised to know that “food” is NOT my most favourite F-word.

Though food is a massive passion of mine, it’s not my #1 obsession – that would be Formula One motor racing. I’m a huge F1 nerd. If I was ever faced with a choice of spending a year dining at twenty of the best Mitchelin starred restaurants in the world or travelling to all of the Formula One circuits in a season, I’d choose F1. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

So, you can imagine that when I visited Daniel Ricciardo’s race winning Red Bull at the new WA Motor Museum extension, I was totally giddy with excitement!

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Why F1?

My love of F1 started back in the mid-1990s, when I was a teenager and had been living in the UK for a few years. I’d spend hours on the weekend watching the race build up, driver interviews and religiously watched qualifying and each race.

So why the big obsession? To be honest, it doesn’t come down to just one thing. I love the excitement, speed, noise, glamour and drama of each race and season. What the drivers, team managers and expert pundits have to say absolutely fascinates me.

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My husband “Chef” will occasionally watch a race with me. He’ll shake his head when I insert a random nugget of info that I know – like Michael Schumacher broke his leg at Silverstone in 1999 (at Stowe Corner) or an inconspicuous person sitting on the pit wall is Rob Smedley, one of the technical peeps at Williams – who incidentally haven’t been at their best for a long time (like, decades). Or I have to tell him to “calm the eff down” cos the F1 car is NOT on fire – it’s just brake dust or sparks flying from the undercarriage hitting the track. I’ve forgotten how many times I’ve explained the DRS (Drag Reduction System) to him. My party trick is to name every F1 Champion and team (in order) for the last 25 years. As you can see, a lot of incredibly useless F1 info is swarming around in my head. Though I find it endlessly captivating.

In my 19 years of being a dedicated fan, I’ve not been to a race yet. It is top of my bucket list (in red, underlined AND highlighted). Distance and cost have been factors (gotta love living in the world’s most isolated capital city)! I am determined to get to an actual race weekend one day. Which one would I go to? Melbourne and Singapore would both be obvious choices and fantastic destinations for a foodie too! Monaco would also be an iconic race to visit. My first choice would have to be the Belgium GP. To watch an F1 car zoom up the sweeping Eu Rouge would be breathtaking.

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My Most Memorable Race

One of my all-time favourite F1 races was at Spa in 1998. It really cemented my love of F1. It was a crazy race where anything and everything happened (a bit like this year’s Azerbaijan race). Torrential rain caused a mass pile up on the starting lap, which took out about 13 of the cars. It was a spectacular sight and a wonder no one got hurt. Back in those days each team was lucky to have a spare car, so many of the drivers were still able to race at the re-start.

Cars were aquaplaning off the circuit left right and centre in the horrendous conditions. Michael Schumacher was winning by miles (he was the rain-meister after all). His Ferrari came up to lap David Coulthard in the McLaren and he ended up slamming right into the back of him, as visibility was so poor. He lost one of his front tyres and had to three-wheel it back to the pits. I remember chuckling as he stormed down to DC’s garage, it looked like there was going to be a punch up. In the end, after even more bingles, only 8 out of 20 cars finished and the bright yellow Jordan’s earned their very first race win, and a 1-2 at that (Damon Hill & Ralf Schumacher).

 

RB10 at the WA Motor Museum

At the WA Motor Museum (Whiteman Park, Western Australia) the RB10, Daniel Ricciardo’s race winning Red Bull from his break out 2014 season, sits proudly rotating on the turntable. This car is the real deal. It’s not a shell or a replica. Its Renault engine is hidden under the shiny Newey-designed chassis. Even the steering wheel, with its many buttons, is still in the cockpit.

This car took Daniel to his maiden Formula One victory in Canada and then wins in Belgium and Hungary later that year. And he’s been kind enough to loan his very special car to the museum, on a long term basis. We’re so lucky to have this here in Perth.

It blows my mind at how much it is worth, “seven figures” according to Daniel Ricciardo, that’s over a million dollars! In future, I’d love to see some more memorabilia at the museum on Daniel Ricciardo and other past Aussie F1 drivers.

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Anyways, I could go on about F1 till the Minardis come home… Of course Daniel is my favourite of the current drivers, but not just as he’s from Perth (and is wildly entertaining off track). He grabs every chance he gets with both hands and is so fierce. Given the right car (and engine), I have no doubt he’ll be our very first West Aussie F1 World Champion.

Did you know Danny Ric is a bit of a foodie too? He’s always hunting down the best food whenever he travels, Sushi in Japan, BBQ in Texas and he is a partner in a micro-brewery in the South of France with another of my F1 faves, 2009 World Champ Jenson Button. How cool is that! Blue Coast Brewing Co is just outside of Nice. I wonder if he’ll bring it to Perth one day?

And for now, we all have a little slice of F1 at the WA Motor Museum. How lucky are we!? Make sure you go down to Whiteman Park and check it out.

Here’s my Buggybuddys review of the Motor Museum. I was stoked to be able to write about cars for once!

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More on the WA Motor Museum here.

NEW Vines Mini Golf & Kid Friendly Swan Valley Eats

The newly opened Vines Mini Golf course at The Vines Resort is very impressive. This stunningly landscaped miniature golf course has wine barrels, tractors and lots of timber, giving it a real Swan Valley feel.

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The course has been designed for both adults and children to enjoy. And the three of us do love a family game of mini golf! Everybody tees off from the same point, but depending on your own choice, you can aim towards the blue or red flags – designed to give you a slightly different experience if you play more than once.

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Each hole has its own individual challenges – sand traps, slopes and hills, bridges, tunnels and water features. There are streams meandering past many of the holes. We lost a couple of balls in there… whoops!

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All the holes were fun and each had its own individual challenge. There’s a hole with two tunnels, taking the balls down to a lower level, that was a big hit with Little Chef. He was stoked that he got TWO holes in one too!

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Unlike traditional golf at The Vines, there’s no strict dress code, though everyone must have footwear on at all times and you cannot wear high heels on the course. There’s no shade and the average play time is about 1 hour, so remember to slip, slop slap!

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When we played, we were lucky to get a sneak peek before the course opened to the public. They were still making a few finishing touches, including a fun “winner’s podium”, just to make it a little more competitive – everybody wants to be on the top step and get mini golf bragging rights!

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Vines Mini Golf is a “hole” lot of fun! We enjoyed the challenges of trying to keep the ball out of the water and of course, Little Chef beat me. I’ll be challenging to a re-match very soon. We will definitely go back there again. It’s loads of fun for the whole family – no experience necessary!

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8 Swan Valley Kid-Friendly Eats

And while you’re in the Swan Valley, how about you try one of these kid-friendly spots?

Oakover Grounds – this winery has excellent casual food in a beautiful setting on a lake. There’s free peddle boats and fishing too! If you’re lucky enough to catch a fish (like us) you can pay for it and cook it up at home! Read my blog here.

For Kids: kids menu, loads of space for them to run around, peddle boats and fishing.

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Taylors Art and Coffee House – my favourite Swan Valley brunch spot. There’s fluffy pancakes, great coffee and other scrumptious creations. Read my blog here.

For Kids: kids menu, casual vibe and a sandpit in the back courtyard.

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The Hen – The Hen has bucket loads of character, for a new spot. The rustic, country vibe works well in the Swan Valley and we enjoyed a tasty lunch there last year. Read my blog here.

For Kids: kids menu, and loads of space for them to run around – balls and frisbees available.

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Maison St Honore – this macaron factory is a fantastic spot for a sweet treat and coffee. There’s a few savoury items available too and I did spy a brunch menu, so I’ll have to “investigate” that further! Read my blog here.

For Kids: scrumptious treats, loads of lawn and a playground.

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Fun, Food and Flying Pigs at the 2017 IGA Perth Royal Show

It’s showtime! The IGA Perth Royal Show is on NOW till Saturday the 30th of September.

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Growing up, the Perth Royal Show was a firm favourite of mine. I have fond childhood memories of Bertie Beatle showbags and cuddly animals, as well as stomach churning rides when Chef and I were dating in our early 20s.

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This year it was Little Chef’s very first time experiencing all the fun of the show and he’d given us very strict instructions on what show bags he’d like and just what he wanted to see and do.

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Not surprisingly, other than the rides and side show alley, he was most excited about seeing all the animals. Little Chef cuddled chicks, guinea pigs and patted some piglets too.

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Just outside, you’ll find the “Racing and Flying Pigs Show”. This goes for about 15 minutes and we loved seeing those porkers fly!

We really enjoyed “Walk Through WA”, here all regions of WA are featured. Little Chef loved the farming virtual reality, seeing cute baby camels and also prospecting for gold, where he found a gold coin to keep.

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Before we knew it, it was lunchtime! We headed to the huge Taste WA tent, which was a perfect place to discover some delicious Royal Show award winning West Aussie produce to eat – from Perth’s best sausage to gold medal pies and bread.

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There’s loads of seating, making it a good stop in the changeable weather.

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Little Chef tucked into crumbed Pilbara Spanish Mackerel. The hand cup chips are from the south west – even the salt is from WA!

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I had some saucy Linley Valley pork ribs and chips.

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While we were chowing down on all that, we watched a cooking demo by West Australian Food Ambassador, Chef Don Hancey.

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There’s a bar and cider truck from my favourites Core Cider House too!

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There’s loads of other food options all around the show. From the run of the mill hamburgers and hotdogs, to something a bit wild and wacky – deep fried Oreos anyone?!

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OMG… I sniffed out these giant turkey legs and lamb shanks, which looked A-frikkin-mazing! Too bad we’d just had our lunch.

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These meaty morsels are found at that little food vendor with the yellow roof that’s between the top of the oval and the Ferris wheel. I remember it from when I was a kid, so it’s been there quite some time! A trip here is definitely on my list for next year! Continue reading

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

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!

Peel Zoo, Pinjarra

IMG_7774As part of our weekend in Mandurah and the Peel region, Chef and I took Little Chef somewhere we knew that he would love – Peel Zoo. It’s found on the banks of the Murray River near Pinjarra. The boutique zoo specialises in Australian native animals and some farm animals too.

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On entry, we are given a bad of small pellets to feed some of the animals. One of the Zoo’s unique features are the ‘hands-on experience’ that is available to all guests. Children and adults can enjoy hand feeding animals, having a bird fly onto your shoulder, holding a slithery snake and more.

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The grounds of the zoo are lush and shady, making it a lovely spot to stroll around. Peel Zoo is home to over 100 species of birds and animals. We started off at the possum enclosures, they were all having an afternoon nap in their logs. We followed the map around, you can also scan the unique QR code on each of the Peel Zoo enclosures. You do this with your smartphone that will provide you with the name of the animal, as well as a Fact Sheet about each of the animals.

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We spotted some turkeys in the bushes roaming around. A sleepy Koala was munching away on some gum leaves in a tree. We then fed some friendly roos in the Kangaroo enclosure. Continue reading