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Australia

A Whimsical Day at Mayfield Garden, Oberon, NSW, Australia

A whimsical visit to Mayfield Gardens, NSW, Australia

Nestled on the outskirts of the Blue Mountains, in the central tablelands area of NSW, lies a hidden gem called Mayfield Garden.

Created by the Hawkins family in the mid 1990s, Mayfield is now one of the world’s largest privately-owned cool climate gardens. Set on a working farm spanning thousands of acres, the European-inspired garden is at once both intimate and immense.

A visit to Mayfield takes an entire day. It’s just that big, and, with a stunning landscape to explore such as this, why would you want to rush your visit?

Mayfield Gardens, Oberon, NSW, Australia

Mayfield is open year-round, only closing on Christmas Day and Boxing Day (or if there is snow and staff can’t get to the garden). I would strongly advise visiting in different seasons; waterlilies in summer, colourful foliage in autumn, raw structure of plants in winter and fragrant blooms in spring.

Mayfield Gardens, Oberon, NSW, Australia

In addition to the year-round garden, the additional private family garden is open four times a year during the Festival Seasons: The last two weeks in January, April, July and October. In this additional garden you can enjoy an 80m cascade, rose garden, croquet court, creek gardens, walled kitchen garden, sunken garden rooms and the brand new maze.

Mayfield Gardens, Oberon, NSW, Australia

There is an onsite cafe for dining, with a paddock & garden to plate menu. With 80% of what is served in the cafe comes directly from Mayfield’s produce, and the remaining is handpicked from local suppliers.

Mayfield Gardens, Oberon, NSW, Australia

Breakfast is served from 9am-12pm, with dishes ranging from $10-$20. Lunch is served from 12-3pm, $10-$18 entree and $19.50-$29.50 mains.

Kids meals range from $8.50-$9.50 and includes toasties, eggs, pancakes, burgers and steak with chips. In the kitchen garden area, near the café, a kids play area is opening in July.

Another fun feature for kids is the flying fox that is next to the chook houses up the top of the garden, next to the walled kitchen garden – adults are welcome to take a ride too!

Mayfield Gardens, Oberon, NSW, Australia

On the weekends, the kitchen garden comes alive with local talent performing at the “Bedford Stage” (aka the back of the Bedford truck!) in the kitchen garden area outside the café.

During peak periods (including the festival seasons) additional food options are available including woodfired pizza, gourmet pies, coffee and donuts at the Mayfield Kiosk and a gourmet sandwich bar at the Chapel & cider + swine bar.

Mayfield Gardens, Oberon, NSW, Australia

2017 Festival Season Dates:

Autumn: April 15th – April 30th

Winter: July 1st – July 16th

Spring: October 14th – October 29th

Summer: January 12th – January 26th  2018

The only way to visit the private garden; which includes the Chinese pagoda and croquet I visited, plus the blue stone chapel, Mayfield’s cascade and temple, the walled kitchen garden and maze, is during these festival times. The brand new maze is NSW’s second largest fully hedge maze

Mayfield Gardens, Oberon, NSW, Australia

During the Festival Seasons, five red row boats are available for free use, and interactive old-school games such as croquet, chess and bocce are set up in front of the obelisk for visitors to play with.

Mayfield Gardens, Oberon, NSW, Australia

To help visitors navigate the large garden, a courtesy bus runs in a loop during the Festival Season, dropping at around six different locations around the garden. The bus is free and stops every 15 minutes at each station.

Mayfield Gardens, Oberon, NSW, Australia

Cirkus Surreal in the Garden

When we visited we were fortunate enough to enjoy a performance by students from nearby Kelso High in a program called Cirkus Surreal. The program was designed to take at-risk youths in the community, teach them a circus skill, and, more importantly, pride in themselves and a place in their community. Through this award-winning circus program, Kelso High students perform regularly across NSW as well as internationally. They are regular performers at Mayfield Gardens, adding a whimsical ambience to the gardens.

Mayfield Gardens, Oberon, NSW, Australia

Tips for visiting Mayfield
Be prepared for the climate! Bring a hat, sunscreen, warm clothing, an umbrella or jacket and walking shoes.

Keep children under close supervision around areas such as bridges, waterways and stone stairs.

Many of the paths allow access for wheelchairs and strollers, however there are also many areas where exploring requires going off road, so plan accordingly.

There are change tables in the bathrooms if you’re travelling with a baby.

Keep an eye out for the many upcoming events and workshops at http://www.mayfieldgarden.com/events/

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Mayfield Gardens, Oberon, NSW, Australia Mayfield Gardens, Oberon, NSW, Australia Mayfield Gardens, Oberon, NSW, Australia Mayfield Gardens, Oberon, NSW, Australia Mayfield Gardens, Oberon, NSW, Australia Mayfield Gardens, Oberon, NSW, Australia Mayfield Gardens, Oberon, NSW, Australia Mayfield Gardens, Oberon, NSW, Australia Mayfield Gardens, Oberon, NSW, Australia Mayfield Gardens, Oberon, NSW, Australia Mayfield Gardens, Oberon, NSW, Australia Mayfield Gardens, Oberon, NSW, Australia Mayfield Gardens, Oberon, NSW, Australia Mayfield Gardens, Oberon, NSW, Australia

 

Mayfield Garden
530 Mayfield Road Oberon
Hours: Open daily (except Christmas Day and Boxing Day), 9am-4:30pm (last entry 3pm)
Prices: Adult $20, Concession $18, Child $10. Kids aged 7 and under free. During the garden festivals, Adult $30, Concession $27, Child $15
http://www.MayfieldGarden.com.au
Get Directions

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby! She loves cake, her tolerant husband and her busy preschooler.

Things To See & Do In Historic Bathurst, NSW

Things To See & Do In Historic Bathurst, NSW

Bathurst is home to 1000 heritage buildings, with over 200 years of European history, and tens of thousands of years of indigenous heritage. It’s a small country town yet it is bustling with energy and colour, the locals’ pride in their town unmistakable.

Things To See & Do In Historic Bathurst, NSW

On May 7, 1815 Bathurst was declared a townsite by Governor Lachlan Macquarie making it Australia’s oldest inland settlement. It was a prominent town during the gold-rush, and features many well preserved buildings from the 1800s.

Things To See & Do In Historic Bathurst, NSW

A walk along the streets of Bathurst is like strolling through an open air museum, with buildings from its past including workers’ cottages, industrial and commercial buildings, terrace houses, mansions, slab huts and grand civic structures from 1815 to the 1950 still intact around the town.

Things To See & Do In Historic Bathurst, NSW

Plenty of architecture from The Colonial Period (1815-1840) can be seen in the simple structure of the buildings, mostly of characteristic Bathurst red brick, sometimes lime washed.

Things To See & Do In Historic Bathurst, NSW

Before Europeans came to Bathurst, the indigenous Wiradjuri people lived in the surrounding lands for more than 40,000 years. You can read more about the history of the Wiradjuri people and European settlement of the area here.

Things to see and do

Things To See & Do In Historic Bathurst, NSW

Mount Panorama
Not a rev head? Me neither. I still recommend a drive up the top of Mount Panorama to admire the spectacular view of Bathurst down below, and for the experience of driving around the world-famous race track that is available to drive as a public road 27/7 (albeit at a much-slower 60km per hour).

Things To See & Do In Historic Bathurst, NSW Mountain Straight, Mount Panorama
Online

Things To See & Do In Historic Bathurst, NSW

Step back in time
Pick up a free map and take yourself on a walk through Bathurst’s past. The streets of Bathurst are lined with impressive buildings, impressive monuments and gorgeous parks that reflect the history of the city. Particular buildings of note include the Bathurst Court House, built in 1880, and the Bathurst Railway Station (pictured above, circa 1875) with its historic Chifley Engine is on display.
Bathurst Information Visitors Centre, 1 Kendall Ave, Bathurst

Things To See & Do In Historic Bathurst, NSW

Bathurst Regional Art Gallery (BRAG)
A modern, highly celebrated regional gallery with free entry, specialising in contemporary art. If you’re visiting over the school holidays, Bathurst Regional Art Gallery runs hands-on workshops for kids in conjunction with the Bathurst City Library.
70–78 Keppel St, Bathurst
Online

Things To See & Do In Historic Bathurst, NSW

Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum
Get an up close look at the natural history of Earth. Almost 2000 fossil and mineral specimens are displayed in two exhibitions – the MasterFoods Fossil Gallery and the Minerals Gallery. On show are rare mineral specimens and even a few dinosaurs and fossilized eggs.
224 Howick St, Bathurst
Online

Play outside
Take kids to the Adventure Playground, a state-of-the-art outdoor play space designed for children of all-abilities. Featuring dinosaur statues and footprints, a dual flying fox, slides, a maze and sandpit, you’ll find it hard to drag the kids away.
Victoria Park, on the corner of Durham and Hope Street

Things To See & Do In Historic Bathurst, NSW

The Begonia House and Machattie Park
This council-owned and operated greenhouse is a perfect example of the town’s pride in it’s appearance and culture. Begonia House is filled with stunning begonia flowers between February and April (9am-4pm weekdays, 11am-3pm weekends).

Things To See & Do In Historic Bathurst, NSW Things To See & Do In Historic Bathurst, NSW

Begonia House is situated in beautiful Machattie Park park which has a fair amount of pretty flowers itself, plus a fountain and arbour. Its history is more gruesome – it used to be the site of the old city gaol and executions took place where the beautiful greenery now lies.
Machattie Park on the corner of William and Keppel Streets 


Where to eat

Things To See & Do In Historic Bathurst, NSW

Legall Patisserie Cafe
A little slice of France in regional Australia. Legall is owned and run by Frenchman Phillippe Le Gall, and is renowned for its macarons, éclairs, fruit tartlets and freshly baked bread.
56 Keppel St, Bathurst
Online

The Hub Espresso, Bar & Eatery
Serving up modern cafe food with a twist, The Hub is a favourite with locals and visitors alike. The Hub has won Best breakfast Cafe in Australia in the Restaurant & Catering Awards several years in a row.
52 Keppel St, Bathurst
Online

Things To See & Do In Historic Bathurst, NSW Church Bar & Woodfired Pizza
Housed inside an old Anglican Church School, Church Bar serves up delicious pizza with a dash of old-world charm.
1 Ribbon Gang Ln, Bathurst 
Online

Annies Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlour
Serving up fresh, homemade ice cream in an old fashioned 1950s-style milk bar. Try their local specialty, the Sofala Gold.
82/86 George St, Bathurst 
Online

Things To See & Do In Historic Bathurst, NSW

The George Hotel
A family-friendly gastro pub offering a seasonal menu made from local produce.
201 George St, Bathurst
Online

Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW

Where to stay
I stayed at Bishop’s Court Estate, a Victorian mansion built in 1870 by Australia’s first Anglican Bishop, Samuel Marsden. Interior designer Christine Le Fevre bought the mansion in 2001, restored it to its current magnificent state and turned it into an award-winning, luxury boutique hotel. Guests arrive at Bishop’s Court Estate as strangers and leave as friends, thanks to the warm welcome given by owner Le Fevre, her cuddly cats and “spice girls”, the much-pampered chickens who live a life of luxury while providing guests with eggs for brekkie. Get more info on my stay here.

Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW

Bishop’s Court Estate, 226 Seymour St, Bathurst NSW
Online

Things To See & Do In Historic Bathurst, NSW

Getting around
I toured Bathurst with the wonderful Ian, owner of Bathurst Tours. I can highly recommend him for any of your touring needs! If you are self-driving, Bathurst is an easy town to drive around.

Things To See & Do In Historic Bathurst, NSW Things To See & Do In Historic Bathurst, NSW Things To See & Do In Historic Bathurst, NSW Things To See & Do In Historic Bathurst, NSW Things To See & Do In Historic Bathurst, NSW Things To See & Do In Historic Bathurst, NSW Things To See & Do In Historic Bathurst, NSW
Things To See & Do In Historic Bathurst, NSW Things To See & Do In Historic Bathurst, NSW Things To See & Do In Historic Bathurst, NSW

Thanks to Mayfield Gardens, Destination NSW, Bathurst Tours, Bishop’s Court Estate and Bathurst Council for hosting my wonderful Bathurst stay.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby! She loves cake, her tolerant husband and her busy preschooler.

High Tea and History at the Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains, Australia

Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

The Hydro Majestic Hotel Medlow Bath in the Blue Mountains is one of Australia’s most iconic hotels. Perched atop an escarpment overlooking the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains National Park, a visit to the Hydro Majestic is a stylish experience filled with fascinating history, delicious food and plenty of relaxation.

Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

Stepping into the Hydro Majestic’s breathtaking Casino Lobby is akin to walking back in time to an age of opulence and elegance. The hotel opened its doors in 1904, built by retailing magnate Mark Foy who had an eye for detail and a flair for the dramatic. His “palace in the bush” is a beautiful tribute to a bygone age, with a creative mix of art deco, art nouveaux and gothic designs, and luxurious oriental furnishings.

Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

The hotel has undergone a significant refurbishment. After being closed for six years, it reopened in 2014, returned to its former opulent glory.

Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

Blue Mountains Afternoon High Tea

High tea is served in the elegant Wintergarden, with panoramic views overlooking the Megalong Valley.

Choose from the traditional High Tea, Eastern High Tea or Gluten-Free High Tea, each served to the table on a three-tiered silver stand and including a range of tea and coffee.

Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

Traditional High Tea

A selection of pastries, scones, clotted cream, jam and your choice of tea or coffee.

Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia
Savouries
My vegetarian option included an egg sandwich, salad wraps, a small frittata and a goat’s curt tart. They were just delicious. Fresh ingredients, fluffy bread, and a copious amount, which I prefer with a high tea.

Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

Scones
Two scones per serving, one plain and one with fruit. The scones were excellent, large, fluffy and fresh, with a strong fruit jam that I suspect is locally made and right cream.

Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

Pastries
An array of desserts including maracons, chocolate squares, hedgehog slice, raspberry tart and fruit jelly (using a vegetarian alternative to gelatine). I was so full from the rest of the food I struggled to fit in all of the sweets, so save room! The sweets were perfectly bite sized and filled with vibrant flavours. Not only did they look gorgeous, they tasted delicious, too.

Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

$55.00 per person (weekday) and $65.00 per person (Saturday, Sunday and Public Holiday), Deluxe High Tea from $69.00 per person including a glass of Australian sparkling wine (weekday) and $79.00 per person including a glass of Australian sparkling wine (Saturday, Sunday and Public Holiday), Luxurious High Tea from $75.00 per person including a glass of Pol Roger NV French Champagne (weekday) and $85.00 per person including a glass of Pol Roger NV French Champagne (Saturday, Sunday and Public Holiday)

Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

Eastern High Tea

A selection of steamed eastern dumplings, crispy bbq duck spring roll, prawn and vegetarian rice paper roll, twice cooked pork belly and a selection of eastern and western desserts and your choice of tea or coffee.

Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

$60.00 per person (weekday) and $70.00 per person (Saturday, Sunday and Public Holiday). $69.00 per person with a flute of sparkling wine and $75.00 per person with a flute of Pol Roger NV Champagne (weekday). $79.00 per person with a flute of sparkling wine and $85.00 per person with a flute of Pol Roger NV Champagne (Saturday, Sunday and Public Holiday)

Also on offer is a Kids High Tea
A selection of soldier sandwiches, sweet treats and pikelets with jam and cream and your choice of tea or hot chocolate $35.00 per person (3 – 12 years).

Beverages offered
Espresso, long black, flat white, cappuccino, café latte, chai latte, macchiato, mocha, hot chocolate

Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

Tea Selection
English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Green, Lemon and Ginger, Peppermint, Darjeeling, Chamomile, Oolong. Blossom Tea: For an additional $5 per pot, try a gorgeous blossom tea. Each blossom slowly unfurls into an elegant display when placed in warm water.

Vegetarian and gluten free options can be catered for at no additional cost, please advise any dietary requirements at the time of booking. 

Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia
Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

History Tour

After a luxurious high tea, be sure to take a wander around the property and soak in its history. If you’re really keen on knowing more, I highly recommend the guided history tour. The tour begins in the Casino lobby with its iconic domed roof, then takes in the vibrant Salon Due Thé and Cat’s Alley, the stunning Majestic Ballroom and concludes in the Hydro Majestic Pavilion with its colour displays of Hydro’s historic past along with boutique and regional food and wine from the Blue Mountains and its regions.

Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

Tour Details
Cost: 10pp
Monday to Friday commencing at 11am and 3pm
Saturday and Sunday commencing at 10am, 11am, 3pm and 4pm.
Arrive 10 minutes prior to the commencement of the tour.
All tours run for approximately 30-45 minutes and start from the Casino Lobby and finish in the Hydro Majestic Pavilion
Bookings are essential

Hydro Majestic, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

The Hydro Majestic
52-88 Great Western Hwy, Medlow Bath NSW
Phone: (02) 4782 6885
Afternoon High Tea Sittings: Mon – Fri 11.00am – 3.30pm, Sat – Sun 10.30am – 3.30pm
Reservations essential
Get Directions

I was hosted during my time at the Hydro Majestic. All opinion are my own.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby! She loves cake, her tolerant husband and her busy preschooler.

Things To Do In The Margaret River (Away From The Wineries)

Margaret River, Western Australia

The Margaret River region is well known for wine but not as much for being a family or relaxing holiday destination. The spectacular beaches, wildlife and fun activities, however, make it an incredible place to visit to enjoy the scenery, food and wildlife. We found plenty of things to do in Margaret River for the whole family to enjoy, from little kids to adults.

Busselton, Margaret River, Western Australia

In and around Busselton
A popular town for families to vacation, Busselton has plenty to offer for entertainment. Check out the 150-year old Busselton Jetty – at 1.8km in length, it’s the longest timber-jetty in the Southern Hemisphere. Walk out or catch the little train to the end of the jetty to the Underwater Observatory, where life in a coral reef is on view.
busseltonjetty.com.au

Dunsborough, WA

In and around Dunsborough
A coastal town in the Margaret River region, Dunsborough has several cafes, bakeries, groceries stores and the like, set by a gorgeous, family-friendly beach.

Eagle Bay, Margaret River, Western Australia

Eagle Bay
A stunning beach known for its dazzling white sand and vivid, turquoise water. Eagle Bay is a great swimming beach thanks to its shallow, calm water. There is nothing else to do here but swim and enjoy one of the most beautiful views in the world.

Meelup Beach
A fabulous family beach located near Dunsborough, Known for its calm water, Meelup also has excellent public change rooms, toilets and showers.

Canal Rocks, Margaret River, Western Australia

In and around Yallinup
Yallingup is a popular tourist place to visit thanks to its stunning beaches and limestone caves.

Yallingup Beach
A protected lagoon that’s perfect for swimming and snorkelling.

Busselton, Margaret River, Western Australia

Yallinup Maze
A fun place to drop by to have a run through their ever-changing timer maze, jump on the
bouncy castle and try a free puzzle or game in the puzzle cafe.
yallingupmaze.com.au

Swings & Roundabouts, Margaret River, Western Australia Swings & Roundsbouts
This winery has an incredible outdoor space with all kinds of old school play equipment. The food it a touch pricey: we paid $22 for a small pizza and $16 for a small plate of squid
swings.com.au

Canal Rocks, Margaret River, Western Australia Canal Rocks
Walk across the timber pathway to the rocks and tide pools Canal Rocks is famous for. Swimming and snorkelling are popular here but be aware of the tide, currents and lack of lifeguards.

In and around Margaret River Town

Margaret River Chocolate Company, Margaret River, Western Australia Margaret River Chocolate Company
Kids will enjoy the free chocolate samples while adults try to choose between the many varieties of chocolate on offer (good luck, it’s a tough choice!). Stop by the cafe for breakfast, lunch and sweet snacks.
chocolatefactory.com.au

Woody Nook Winery & Cafe, Margaret River, Western Australia

Woody Nook Wines
A great place for lunch with the family, the outdoor Nookery Café has delicious food, a kids’ menu and a grassy play area with swings.
woodynook.com.au/

Cowaramup, Margaret River, Western Australia

Cowaramup
The locals call it ‘Cowtown’ thanks to the 42 life-sized fibreglass Friesian cows and calves that have been placed all over the streets. The locally made goods are excellent –
sample nougat, chocolate, ice cream, fudge, olive oil and fresh produce.

Augusta, Margaret River, Western Australia
In and around Augusta
Augusta is the most south-western town in Australia and near Boranup Forest, Jewel Cave and Hamelin Bay. The town is a popular destination for snorkelling, swimming, SUP, canoeing and whale watching – between June and August around 35,000 whales pass along this coastline.

A Drive Through The Boranup Karri Forest, Western Australia

Boranup Karri Forest
An absolute must is to drive through the towering karri trees. The forest is a 25 minute drive south of Margaret River town along Caves Road. Stop by Cafe Boranup to break your trip. More info on the forest and cafe here.

Augusta, Margaret River, Western Australia
Leeuwin Lighthouse
The most south-westerly point of Australia, it’s a must to see even if you don’t want to pay the $8pp entry to the grounds to walk around the base. It is however the tallest lighthouse on mainland Australia and overlooks the point where two oceans meet.

Hamelin Bay, Margaret River, Western Australia

Hamelin Bay
Friendly stingrays frequent this bay, attracted by the fish remnants dropped by fishing boats that use the boat ramp on at Hamelin Bay. A gorgeous beach for swimming, snorkelling, kayaking and photography, this beach also has public bathrooms and a nearby holiday park with a kiosk. Get more info on Hamelin Bay here.

Getting around
It’s a must to hire a car in the Margaret River region. We hired ours from Australian company Redspot.

Where to stay
We were lucky that we bunked in with relatives during our visit, but I would suggest staying in Busselton or Dunsborough for a central location on the beach, or in Augusta for a few days in that region.

This post contains affiliate links. That means if you book a hotel through a link on my site I will receive a small commission for referring you to that website. It won’t cost you a cent extra. Thank you for supporting Adventure, baby!

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby! She loves cake, her tolerant husband and her busy preschooler.

A Drive Through The Boranup Karri Forest, Western Australia

A Drive Through The Boranup Karri Forest, Western Australia

If you drive 25 minute south of Margaret River town along Caves Road in Western Australia, you might be forgiven for thinking you’ve stumbled across fairy land. Suddenly rising from each side of the road are towering karri trees, some over 60m in height, with bright white trunks, filling the valley below.

A Drive Through The Boranup Karri Forest, Western Australia

If you keep a look out on the eastern side of Caves Road you’ll find The Karri Lookout, which is an ideal place to pull over, photograph and then wander into the forrest in search of wildflowers, orchids, funghi and, of course, fairies.

A Drive Through The Boranup Karri Forest, Western Australia

The forrest is also home to many species of birds, so keep an eye out for a Purple-crowned Lorikeet, Splendid Fairy-wren, White-breasted Robin, Crested Strike-tit, Golden Whistler and many other birds.

A Drive Through The Boranup Karri Forest, Western Australia A Drive Through The Boranup Karri Forest, Western Australia A Drive Through The Boranup Karri Forest, Western Australia

A Drive Through The Boranup Karri Forest, Western Australia

A bit further into the forrest will bring you to Cafe Boranup, which is a great place to break for lunch or tea and scones. They serve wholesome food, housemade cakes, chutneys, jams, coffee and tea.

A Drive Through The Boranup Karri Forest, Western Australia

You might also spot a Splendid Fairy (blue) Wrens while you’re dining. The cafe also has disabled facilities, information on what to do nearby, a little playground for the kids and couches with books and board games.

A Drive Through The Boranup Karri Forest, Western Australia A Drive Through The Boranup Karri Forest, Western Australia

Next to the cafe is the Boranup Gallery, which is a great place to admire or buy works by local artists.

A Drive Through The Boranup Karri Forest, Western Australia A Drive Through The Boranup Karri Forest, Western Australia

Cafe Boranup
7981 Caves Rd, Forest Grove
Hours: Daily, 10am-4pm
Online

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby! She loves cake, her tolerant husband and her busy preschooler.

Meet the Hamelin Bay Stingrays, Western Australia

Hamelin bay Stingrays, Western Australia

There is a part in Moana, the Disney movie that is on serious repeat in our house right now, that moved me to tears. Stay with me, I promise it’s relevant. It’s when our family’s new favourite heroine, Moana, sees her grandmother’s spirit stingray appearing to guide her at her lowest moment and help her discover who she truly is. The ray, symbolising her grandmother, is a powerful reminder that we are never alone, that we carry our family with us at all times, even if they’re not physically present. Cue tears, lots of them.

Afterwards, I found myself wondering why choose a stingray for this spirit animal, of all the creatures in the ocean? There are a lot of awe inspiring animals to choose from, after all.

A few weeks later, when I make my way to Hamelin Bay and see these incredible creatures for myself, I discover animals that take my breath away with their size, speed, grace and beauty. Stingrays are truly majestic, magnificent creatures, and I can see why Disney chose this animal to represent a person who is so strong and kind.

Hamelin bay Stingrays, Western Australia

When I tell people that I met stingrays up close, they have reacted with comments like, “Wow you’re so brave!”, which made me realise that rays are misunderstood by many people to be dangerous, aggressive animals.

They’ve had a bit of a bad rep after the unfortunate death of Steve Irwin in 2006, by a stingray barb to the heart. He was incredibly unlucky as there have only been three recorded deaths in Australia due to stingrays, including Steve Irwin, with the other known stingray deaths in c.1930 and 1988 (also as a result of a direct sting to the heart). It is believed that there has only been 17 fatal stingray attacks worldwide, so your chances of being killed by a stingray are very, very, very slim.

Hamelin bay Stingrays, Western Australia

Stingrays are actually incredibly docile creatures and can be friendly and curious, as I found when I met the gentle wild rays of Hamelin Bay.

Hamelin Bay is located in the south end of Western Australia’s Margaret River and is a popular place for families to come to stay at the nearby Hamelin Bay Caravan Park.

Hamelin bay Stingrays, Western Australia

A group of stingrays has been visiting this bay for years, attracted by the scraps from the fishing boats that use the boat ramp and jetty on the beach.

Hamelin bay Stingrays, Western Australia

Your chances of spotting a ray are highest in summer but they are known to visit all year round. Groups range in size between 3 and 10 rays, swimming up and down the beach on patrol.

Hamelin bay Stingrays, Western Australia

The stingrays are absolutely massive, with a wing span of up to one metre across. They are completely unafraid and swim right up to the shallows. As these are wild rays, there is no guarantee that they will be there when you visit, but the beach is so stunning that it’s a good place to visit even if you don’t spot a ray.

Hamelin bay Stingrays, Western Australia

There are two types of stingrays found in Hamelin Bay. The smooth stingray is the largest of the world’s stingrays and is dark grey or black and round in shape. Of the two stingrays, the smooth is the more likely to approach visitors on the beach.

Hamelin bay Stingrays, Western Australia

The eagle ray is diamond shaped with distinctly pointed wings and is often a paler shade of brown or browney-grey or even blue-grey rather than black.

Hamelin bay Stingrays, Western Australia

When we visited the rays we stood in the water for a while watching them swim past in absolute awe. One of the smooth rays came up to check me out as you can see in the photo, and rubbed against me as it swam by. Absolutely incredible.

Visiting the Hamelin Bay stingrays was an amazing opportunity for Cheese to meet the spirit animal from Moana in real life and see for herself what a precious creature it is. Another animal to be observed, enjoyed from a safe distance, and protected.

Hamelin bay Stingrays, Western Australia

Tips for visiting the rays

Stingrays generally only attack if they feel threatened, so don’t approach them in the water and be careful not to tread on them.

You can swim at the beach and snorkel, but be aware that there are no lifeguards on patrol.

There are public bathrooms available in the parking lot.

With younger children, have them watch the rays safely from the shore rather than venturing in for a closer look.

Hamelin bay Stingrays, Western Australia

Reinforce with older children that the stingrays are wild animals and are such are unpredictable. Have them stand still in the water and let the rays come to them if they want to.

The best season to see the stingrays is summer when the water has less seaweed and is calmer.

Visit in the morning between 9am-10am or afternoon when the boats are returning for your best chance to see them.

Hamelin bay Stingrays, Western Australia

The stingrays at Hamelin Bay are protected and must not be harmed. Please report any incidents if you witness people harming the rays.

I would advise not trying to touch the stingrays, but to observe them instead. One might find you interesting enough to come up and say hello, as one did to me! You never know your luck.


Getting to Hamelin Bay

Hamelin Bay is located in the south of the Margaret River Region. It’s about a 15 minute drive north of Augusta or 25 minute drive south of Margaret River Town. Drive south down Caves Road right to the very end or, if heading north from Augusta, turn left at the junction of Bussell Highway with Caves Road.

The drive is doable in one day, or you can stay the night at the The Hamelin Bay Caravan Park.

Hamelin bay Stingrays, Western Australia

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby! She loves cake, her tolerant husband and her busy preschooler.

Kings Park & Botanic Garden: The Best of Perth, Western Australia

Kings Park & Botanic Garden, Perth, Western Australia
Let your wild thing roam free at Kings Park, a 4.06-square-kilometre park on the western edge of Perth’s CBD.

You could easily spend a whole day or even more in the park, there’s so much to see and do.

Perth, Western Australia

Fraser Avenue Precinct Venues
Enter the park via Fraser Avenue and pull over at the car park near the entrance to enjoy a short walk that takes visitors to the State War Memorial and Western Australian Botanic Garden entrance. You’ll also get stunning views of the Swan and Canning Rivers, the city skyline and the Darling Ranges.

Perth, Western Australia

Perth, Western Australia

Western Australian Botanic Garden
The place to explore more than 3,000 species of native flora, most of which are found nowhere else on the planet.

Perth, Western Australia Perth, Western Australia

Rio Tinto Naturescape Kings Park
A place for children to connect with nature and to learn to appreciate the unique Western Australian environment.

Perth, Western Australia

Synergy Parkland
Our favourite part of the park, Synergy Parkland is a recreation area for the entire family. The area features expansive lawns for picnics, dinosaur-era themed play equipment and the Zamia Cafe. We also saw plenty of ducks on the pond (including babies!). With public bathroom facilities and plenty of shade, this is a popular park for families to enjoy.

Perth, Western Australia

Perth, Western Australia

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More info on Kings Park.

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Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby! She loves cake, her tolerant husband and her busy preschooler.

Fremantle: The Best of Perth, Western Australia

Fremantle, Perth, Western Australia

A port city that’s traditionally known for its maritime history, gorgeous Victorian architecture and remnants of the past, “Freo” is also the arts hub of Perth.

Perth, Western Australia

While Fremantle is our top choice of where to stay when visiting Perth, if you only have a day or two free to visit the area, you absolutely must make time to see these top four spots.

Perth, Western Australia

Fremantle Prison
WA’s only UNESCO world heritage-listed building has to be top of the list. Spend a few hours reliving the past on a tour: choose between “Doing Time”, “Great Escapes”, “Tunnels Tour”. “Torchlight Tour” and the “Arts Tour”. Make sure to drop by the Visitors Centre for an up close look at what life in the prison was like – on display are artefacts of punishment and reform, actual footage of prison life and informational panels depicting the prison’s history, riots, punishment and reform programs. Have you ever wondered if you have a convict in your family tree? Now’s the chance to find out: search for your convict ancestors on the convict database.

Perth, Western Australia

Fremantle Prison1 The Terrace, Fremantle,
9am – 5pm, 7 days a week (Closed Good Friday & Xmas day)

Perth, Western Australia

Cappuccino Strip
The place to see and be seen in Perth, the strip (also called “South Terrace” if you’re looking for it on your car navigator) is home to many cafes, restaurants and pubs, famous for it’s Italian origins and the state’s best coffee. Shop the locally made designer clothing stores, pick up a gift and browse books in this atmospheric part of town.

Perth, Western Australia

If you have a little one who believes in magic, be sure to visit The Picked Fairy shop. We loved it so much we went back twice!

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Perth, Western Australia

Fremantle Markets
This busy indoor market dates back to 1897. It’s completely free to enter the markets to wander through the with stalls selling food, local produce, clothes and handicrafts. You’ll find a variety of food and good produced by locals – we found beautiful photography and artworks, fresh ripe fruit and delicious popcorn and chocolate. The atmosphere is lively thanks to the live music often playing inside.

Perth, Western Australia

Perth, Western Australia
Fremantle Markets
, South Terrace & Henderson St, Fremantle
Hours: The Yard Friday 8am-8pm, Saturday, Sunday and Monday public holidays 8am-6pm. The Hall Friday 9am-8pm, Saturday, Sunday and Monday public holidays 9am-6pm.

Perth, Western Australia

WA Shipwrecks Museum
Inside a restored 1850s-era commissariat building lives the foremost maritime archaeology museum in the southern hemisphere. The galleries contain hundreds of relics from ships wrecked along WA’s treacherous coastline, including the original timbers from the Batavia (wrecked in 1629) and countless artefacts from the Dutch shipwrecks Zuytdorp, Zeewijk and Vergulde Draeck.

WA Shipwrecks Museum, 45 Cliff St, Fremantle
Hours: Open daily, 9:30am-5pm (except certain public holidays)

More info on Fremantle.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby! She loves cake, her tolerant husband and her busy preschooler.

Elizabeth Quay: The Best of Perth, Western Australia

Elizabeth Quay, Perth, Western Australia

A brand new area on Perth’s waterfront, Elizabeth Quay is in the process of becoming a vibrant destination for tourists with activities for people of all ages. Take a ride on the gorgeous traditional, handcrafted Venetian carousel, walk across the Elizabeth Quay bridge to the new maritime inspired playground Island Playground, or cool down with a run through the BHP Billiton Water Park.

Perth, Western Australia

Before heading home, grab lunch at a nearby restaurant, try a delicious scoop of Gusto Gelato and pose beneath the 8-story-high “Spanda” sculpture.

Perth, Western Australia Perth, Western Australia Perth, Western Australia Perth, Western Australia Perth, Western Australia
Perth, Western Australia Perth, Western Australia

Perth, Western Australia Perth, Western Australia Perth, Western Australia Perth, Western Australia

More info on Elizabeth Quay.

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Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby! She loves cake, her tolerant husband and her busy preschooler.

Cottesloe Beach, Perth, Western Australia

Cottesloe Beach, Perth, Western Australia
The most iconic of Perth’s city beaches, Cottesloe is also one of it’s most popular. Located midway between the Perth central business district and the port of Fremantle in Perth’s western suburbs, it’s only a 15 minute drive from the city centre. Located directly on a train line and equiped with bathrooms, cafes and plenty of shady trees, Cottesloe is the perfect beach to while away the day on.

Perth, Western Australia

We loved the beach’s clean white sand and beautiful clear turquoise water, and particularly the grassed areas behind the beach with plenty of tall pine trees for shade. A short walk around the rock line gives a fantastic view of the striking art-deco Indiana Teahouse building that is a Cottesloe landmark featured on many post cards and tourist brochures.

Perth, Western Australia
Perth, Western Australia
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More info on Cottesloe Beach.

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Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby! She loves cake, her tolerant husband and her busy preschooler.