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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Maison Saint-Honore, Swan Valley

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Maison Saint-Honoré Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Here’s a truth bomb… for years I’ve been guilty of pronouncing the word “macaron” wrong! It’s “mac-a-ron” not “mac-a-roon” (coconut biscuit). Silly me…

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I had a #girlboss catch up with a couple of lovely ladies in the Swan Valley, coffee and notepads at the ready. I work from home now, freelancing with writing and social media, and these networking and “pep-talk” meetings are invaluable for sharing ideas and encouraging each other. Working on your own can be incredibly lonely!

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Rose & Crown – Guildford

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Rose & Crown Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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.IMG_6129

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.IMG_6126

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.IMG_6125

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.IMG_6096

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.IMG_6103

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Alfred’s Kitchen – Guildford

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Alfred's Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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.

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Sittella Winery – Swan Valley

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Sittella Winery & Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

A couple of years ago I’d visited Sittella for wine tasting on a Swan Valley wine tour  and always wanted to return for lunch – it looked like a lovely place to dine. Sittella is surrounded by vineyards and has beautiful grounds overlooking a dam and gazebo.IMG_3918

We were at Sittella celebrating another Chef’s Wife – it was my Mother In Law’s birthday. We sat out on the veranda, which has sweeping views of the grape vines. The atmosphere in the restaurant is festive. I must have heard “Happy Birthday” being sung four or five times whilst we were there. It seemed to be a popular spot for a special family meal.  At times the restaurant got quite loud, but it was a jolly atmosphere of people clearly enjoying a lazy weekend lunch and the beautiful surrounds.IMG_3921

Sittella’s drinks menu has a great selection of their wines. There’s also lots of WA craft beer available by the bottle. The Sittella Pinot Noir is a very nice drop. The smooth red is made with Pemberton grapes.IMG_3923

We chatted as we grazed Sittella Winemaker’s Plate, $27.50. It is brimming with goodies. There’s smoked chorizo,  wasabi smoked salmon, shiitake arancini, a chicken and macadamia nut terrine, kalamata olives, semi-dried tomatoes, roasted artichoke hearts, port soaked figs with warm bread and Sittella’s special house made macadamia dip.       IMG_3909

For main chef chose the duck, $38.50. The tender roasted breast sits on a serve of perfectly cooked veg, the gateau of confit leg absolutely delicious and moist. The confit leg is topped with a red onion choucroute.IMG_3927

I chose the rosemary roasted lamb rack, $39.50. The sweet lamb is served medium rare, just how I like it. The tasty confit shoulder melts in the mouth. It’s accompanied by creamy sheep’s curd mash and veg.IMG_3930

Children can enjoy a three course meal for $22.50. Little Chef had these tasty fish and chips followed by a delicious chocolate pudding with sticky hot chocolate sauce. IMG_3924

Chef loved the twist on a classic crème brulee, as it had banana in it. Topped with a fresh pineapple compote and a delicious scoop of caramel and macadamia ice cream it was a scrumptious dessert. IMG_3945

One of Sittella’s signature desserts is their strawberry basket, $14. The crisp brandy snap basket is filled with Cointreau ice cream, fresh strawberrys and crushed passionfruit. IMG_3946

I absolutely love a custard tart, but very rarely get to eat them. The supermarket made tarts are often full of additives that don’t agree with me. When I spotted the Ole English custard tart, $14, on Sittella’s dessert menu I jumped at the chance to order it. The egg custard and pastry are spot on and served with mixed berries and a crème de casis (blackcurrant liquor) ice cream. A scrumptious dessert indeed! IMG_3950

The nine of us enjoyed our special lunch at Sittella. Chef Mike Price’s food style is classic and full of flavour. It’s a wonderful spot in the Swan Valley where the service is friendly, the wine is flowing and we’d absolutely dine there again. Now, when is the next family birthday?!…IMG_3954

The Henley Brook – Swan Valley

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The Henley Brook Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
The Henley Brook is an exciting addition to the Swan Valley. It’s been open a few months, but it took me a while to get a booking at the immensely popular venue, affectionately known as “The Hen”. The staff were really accommodating, though The Hen was almost fully booked, squeezing us into an early lunch spot at 11am. We could have the table for an hour and a half, which luckily was plenty of time.IMG_3733

The Hen has bucket loads of character, for a new place. The rustic, country vibe works well in the Swan Valley. The cosy bar has many local beers on offer (Mash, Feral, Hop Hog and Homestead), as well as other WA craft beers and ciders. IMG_3736

We met my parents there for a birthday lunch and scored a table right next to the open fire, which was crackling away. Our friendly waiter was prompt and helpful. We tried to be organised for once and got our order in quick, so we had plenty of time to enjoy our food.

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I was very pleased with my choice – slow cooked pork belly, $32. It looked a treat, adorned with a spiral of crispy crackling. The belly itself fell apart at the touch of my fork. It was so moist and tasty. Underneath, was a truffle mash, fresh beans and a field mushroom gravy. Love it!IMG_3747

The Hen House chicken parmy, $26, got the thumbs up from Chef. His pub favourite was topped with smoked ham, semidried tomato fondue, melted smoked cheese and served with fries and salad. IMG_3745

The Beef and stout pie special ($21.50) looked good and my Mum enjoyed it, though she did also say the filling was very rich. It was brimming with beef, spinach and veg and came with a side of chips to soak up the gravy.IMG_3755

My Dad really enjoyed a tasty steak. It was a hearty dish that came with a pumpkin tart and sautéed Brussel sprouts that he loved (yes really!).IMG_3742

There’s a wood fired pizza oven out the back and The Hen’s pizza menu has a good selection of toppings. Little Chef chose a kids Hawaiian pizza and quickly scoffed the lot.    IMG_3739

There’s a lot of seating outside under the veranda. The popular spot also has picnic rugs and crates on the grass. There’s a huge grassed area, so kids have plenty of room to run and it’s great for a ball game too. IMG_3759

We all really enjoyed our lunch at The Hen. It’s a great addition to the Swan Valley.  We absolutely plan to go back, next time I’ll book a couple of weeks in advance to secure a table for a longer stay!IMG_3761

Oakover Grounds – Swan Valley

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Oakover Grounds Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I love the vibe at wineries and breweries in the Margaret River area. They’re often geared towards families and I’d always hoped that the Swan Valley would follow suit with some quality family friendly venues, closer to home. Last year my prayers were answered with the fab Mandoon Estate. I’ve been hearing good things about the Oakover Winery’s transformation into kid friendly Oakover Grounds and so we headed there for lunch to check it out.IMG_2924

The winery is in a lovely setting, on a little lake and surrounded by rolling lawns. We were there for lunch, celebrating my birthday with Chef’s brother O (The Pasty Chef) and his lovely bride-to -be Kristie. It was a cool Autumn weekend, but sill pleasant enough to sit outside on the veranda.IMG_2914

I should have been sampling the Oakover wines, but coffee was calling my name. Oakover Grounds is also home to FiORi coffee, which is roasted fresh on site.IMG_2889

The menu is a good mix of casual favourites – share plates, burgers, salad and more. O and I are both pork-addicts so we both had our beady eyes on the fennel salted pork crackle with sidekick cider gel, $10. The plate was brimming with jaw cracking goodness!IMG_2893

Chef picked the organic beef burger, $26. Topped with tomato relish, bacon, cheese, lettuce, pickle and mayo, with a generous bowl of chips on the side. It was all washed down with a local craft beer. Oakover Grounds have a small selection of boutique beers on tap. IMG_2898

O and I both chose the special of house made gnocchi with pulled beef and mushrooms. Wow, that was a stunning dish and something I was not expecting! The pillowy soft gnocchi was amongst the best I’ve had and complimented  by the rich meaty sauce. I could have happily licked the plate clean. If it was a permanent fixture on the menu I’d be back in a heartbeat.IMG_2900

Kristy enjoyed the Clarence River school prawns, $13. The crisp prawns are eaten whole, served on a bed of creamy tartar sauce and grilled lemon on the side. It would also be a great dish to share.IMG_2895

Little Chef scoffed his kids cheese burger, $12. The slider style burger  was made up of a beef pattie, tomato relish and cheese and chips on the side.IMG_2890

Afterwards, Little Chef was keen to have a ride on the peddle boats. They are free to use. It was good fun and worked off a little bit of lunch! IMG_2906

Keen Fishermen Chef and O were excited to hear the lake is stocked with fish. Rods are free to use and if you catch anything then you can take it home for dinner, at $16 per fish. The boys caught 5 Barramundi in just 15 mins, they were stoked!! IMG_2929

Fish for dinner! IMG_2930

New Head Chef Bec McConnell has banged the pans at some fine Swan Valley establishments, including Sandleford Winery. We enjoyed her food and will certainly be back for more!

Oh and if you need any more reasons to dine at Oakover…

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