As 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.
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.
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.
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
The Rose and Crown Hotel, on leafy Swan Street in Guildford, is a stunning heritage building. It is the second oldest operating pub in Australia. The grand old building, which is over 175 years old, has been restored beautifully.
We’ve visited the historic hotel many times over the years. It’s somewhere we like to have long lunches, drinks with friends and take overseas guests to. We just love any excuse for a bite to eat in the shady beer garden.
The Rose and Crown is also lovely on a cold winter’s day. We’ve often stopped by on a chilly day and eaten indoors, by the roaring fire. I cannot rave enough about the beer garden. If you’ve never been, do yourself a favour and go and have a lazy afternoon in the sun dappled garden.
On this day I was meeting my parents on my birthday. We wanted to meet somewhere near the Swan Valley that had good food, but was casual enough for kids. We sat in the beer garden with a glass of wine, while Little Chef busily chatted and coloured in.
We enjoyed a delicious lunch. My Dad loved his masterstock pork belly ($36). A generous slab of flavoursome pork belly is served with tender grilled Freo octopus, a herb salad, crispy pork scratching and an apple gel.
One of Perth’s most loved burger joints has recently become a whole lot more family friendly. Alfred’s Kitchen has been a Guildford institution for over 70 years. Previously, the takeaway didn’t provide much seating, apart from a few benches around the much loved fire pit. Perthies were happy to stand around munching on their burgers, though it could be a bit of a juggling act.
Now there is another alternative – Alfred’s have added a restored train carriage and courtyard which have loads of seating to eat your burgers and chips in comfort, making it much easier for little burger lovers too.
From the moment we pulled up at Crowne Plaza Hotel and handed our keys to Concierge to valet park the car, we felt relaxed. With limited time, a family staycation with just 25 minutes travel required, suited us down to the ground.
The four and a half star hotel is right on the edge of Perth’s CBD, with many attractions just a short stroll or free bus ride away. Crowne Plaza Hotel is found on Langley Park, opposite the Swan River.
Check in was very quick and by the time we’d headed up to the 10th floor in the lift, our bags were already waiting for us in the room. We opted for a Premium River View Room (with a trundle bed for Little Chef), so we could enjoy a river facing balcony. Large family rooms are also available, which have two queen beds and larger en-suites. Before we headed out to explore the rest of the hotel, East Perth and track down some food, we had a good look around our lovely room. Continue reading
As a kid growing up in the Perth Hills, I went on many a Sunday drive to Mundaring Weir – it usually would end with a cone from an ice cream truck at the dam or a trip to the Mundaring Weir Hotel. Now with Little Chef, it was a case of history repeating itself some decades later, as we stopped at the historic hotel for a bite to eat.
The Mundaring Weir Hotel, just a two minute drive from the Mundaring Weir dam wall, has huge gardens and an amphitheatre where they stage regular concerts by popular artists like Kacey Chambers, Kate Cebrano and more. We walked through the historic hotel which is over 110 years old. The upstairs bar is full of antiques, which caught Little Chef’s interest. He’s never seen a gramophone before.
The hotel’s café is found downstairs, at the back of the building and there are loads of shady decks and verandas dotted around it in an eclectic fashion. It can be a bit of a maze. We ordered our food at the café and about 15 minutes later our buzzer went off for us to collect our lunch.
Both my Dad and Chef chose a steak sandwich, $21, to enjoy with a cold pint of beer. They gave it the thumbs up. A scotch fillet steak with onion jam, cheddar cheese, beetroot, rocket and BBQ sauce was served between two slices of Turkish bread with a serve of extra chunky beer battered chips.
Solo Pasta is the new kid on the Beaufort Street strip. It’s not your traditional Italian pasta joint at all. It brings to the dinner table a fresh and fun new concept of ordering “pasta by the metre”. I’d never really put that much thought into how much pasta, in length, that I ate! At Solo Pasta, their standard sized patsa dishes come in three metre serves, which is the average amount a person eats, if they laid out their pasta end to end!
The three of us were kindly invited to dinner at Solo Pasta by David Caro, one of its owners. He enthusiastically explained how the idea behind the new restaurant works and it sounded intriguing. The dining room is light and bright, overlooking the bustling Beaufort Street.
The menu is made up of share plates and pasta dishes, which are ordered in three steps.
- First you choose your type of pasta – classic, beetroot or spinach.
- Next choose your length of pasta, we chose the standard three metres. For those of us with big appetites, you have the option of adding extra pasta to your bowl for $4.50 per metre. Kids serves are two metres.
- Then you choose your sauce. There are options of tomato based sauces (like meatballs, bolognaise, chorizo and chilli and more), cream based (like carbonara, mushroom and more) and olive oil/jus based sauces.
To begin Chef and I shared the tender and tasty lemon pepper calamari, $14, served with aioli and a wedge of lemon.
There’s no kids menu at Solo Pasta. Children get to pick their pasta dish from the whole menu. They simply receive a smaller pasta serve of two metres. For $13 children also receive a soft drink and vanilla ice cream along with the pasta.
Little Chef chose the spaghetti and meatball dish, though he was also tempted by the chorizo pasta too. He absolutely loved his super long pasta, served in thick, flat strips. It was topped with the pork and kale meatballs and parmigiana reggiano. I loved that there was kale in his meatballs and he didn’t even notice! Many of Solo Pasta’s dishes have hidden veggies and their beetroot and spinach pastas are packed with nutrients too.
We’ve often stopped by Margaret River Bakery for a early morning pie. I can tell you that their buttery pastry and hearty fillings really help with winery/brewery induced hangovers! We’d heard great things about their breakfasts, so we stopped by for a more substantial bite to eat.
It’s not your typical, sterile shop-like bakery. Margaret River Bakery is eclectic. The furniture and crockery are completely mis-matched. The café has a bustling atmosphere with a real mix of customers too. There are lots of freshly baked treats and breads available, as well as good coffee. It wasn’t particularly busy when we went, though I had to ask twice to get the previous customer’s dirty plates and glasses moved, which were still sitting on our table when our food arrived (see below pic).
Little Chef, with his plate barely fitting on the full table, devoured his fresh croissant that was filled with gooey cheese and good quality ham. Chef loved his brekkie burger, brimming with crisp bacon, runny egg, Swiss cheese, relish and rocket. It also came with a bottle of fresh juice.