Adventure, baby!

Australia

Canberra Travel Guide: Parliament House

Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

No trip to Canberra is complete without a visit to the most important building in town, Parliament House.

Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

Parliament House is the meeting place of the Parliament of Australia. The building was opened on 9 May 1988 by Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia, so as you can see, it’s quite modern in its design.

Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

I would say that the grass ramps up the sides of Parliament House are its most distinctive and popular feature. As a kid I remember running up them and rolling back down again. Now sadly there is a fence that prevents you from reaching the top of the roof from the outside – it’s now required to go through the security check at the entrance, which makes complete sense!

Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

The grass ramps actually recreate the shape of Capital Hill before Parliament House was constructed. Much of the building lies beneath Capital Hill, and current shape of the hill is very similar to its original form. Parliament House sits just four metres higher than the original hill.

Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

Of the 4,700 rooms in Parliament House, many are are open to the public. It’s incredibly easy to just turn up at any time and visit Parliament House – no booking or tours are required. There is a short queue to get through a brief security check, and then you’re on your own to discover the house.

Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

The security check leads you to the foyer with it’s gorgeous marble staircase. This room leads into the the Great Hall, which has a large tapestry on display. (If you’re wondering what happened with the scooter, we left it with the super helpful and friendly security guards).

Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

While in the foyer, take a close look at the tiles on the floor. Some of them have tiny fossils hidden in them, captured while the blocks for the floor were being created. Can’t find them? As the helpful security guards who pointed them out to us.

Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

Available for visiting are the House of Representatives chamber, which is decorated green, and the Senate chamber, which has a red colour scheme.

Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

Take some time to see the fantastic art work on display in the rooms, including portraits of former Prime Ministers and important figures and documentary photography of the British Royal Family’s visits to Australia.

Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

If you get hungry on your visit there is a light and bright cafe inside for casual dining.

Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

Before leaving, take the elevator to the roof for an incredible view of Canberra. You can see the Australian War Memorial Memorial in the distance – from there you can also get an incredible view back the other direction of Parliament House.

Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

Tips for visiting Parliament House with kids
Parliament House is extremely accessible. Strollers are fine to bring inside and there are elevators between floors.

Make it fun by running up and down the roof before going inside.

Look for the fossils in the floor in the main foyer.

Explain the rudiments of what Parliament House is for. We explained to our five-year-old that this is where “rules are made” for the country. She found that fascinating and it lead to questions like “what rules?”.

For older kids, the visit can be much more focussed on how Parliament works and how laws really do get made.

Don’t be afraid to bring kids of all ages inside. This is not some hushed library where kids have to be silent. They are very welcome to enjoy wandering around the building.

Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia

Parliament House
Parliament Drive, Canberra
Hours: Parliament House is open every day except Christmas Day.
Non-sitting days 9am-5pm, sitting days Monday-Thursday 9am-6pm
Prices: Free
aph.gov.au/Visit_Parliament

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Canberra with Kids: Questacon National Science and Technology Centre

Questacon, Canberra, Australia

Questacon has been THE place to take kids to learn about science since I was a kid myself, so it’s been an important institution for quite a while (let’s not go into details on how long that’s been!). My childhood memories are a bit foggy but the feelings remain – visiting Questacon as a child was a place of wonder and excitement – and this hasn’t changed, even though the place itself has changed significantly since I visited many moons ago.

Questacon, Canberra, Australia

Located on the southern shore of Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra, Questacon – the National Science and Technology Centre – is filled with more than 200 interactive exhibits relating to science and technology. Their aim is to promote greater understanding and awareness of science and technology within the community in a way that is fun, interactive, and relevant.

Questacon is suited to children of all ages, however each of the eight galleries, the foyer and outdoor Science Garden areas are best for certain age groups.

Questacon, Canberra, Australia

Foyer
The fun begins before you even enter the galleries! Robo Q makes an excellent first impression. Visitors can control how this humanoid sings, speaks and makes gestures by using a nearby touch screen.
Best for: 6+

Questacon, Canberra, Australia


Above And Beyond

This is a new and temporary exhibit focussing on space. Presented by Boeing in collaboration with NASA, Above and Beyond celebrates the power of innovation featuring immersive simulations, augmented reality, interactive design challenges, (make your own space ship!) iconic pieces of history and exciting concepts for the future.
Best for: All ages (I personally thought it was best for older kids as there weren’t as many interactive elements as in other galleries).

Questacon, Canberra, Australia

Awesome Earth
Lots of hands-on ways for kids to experience the power of Earth! The Earthquake room was a major hit here, where we felt a simulated Earthquake and its effects on buildings.
Best for: 8+

Questacon, Canberra, Australia
Excite@Q

The most popular gallery when we visited, I would advise keeping a close eye on kids in this dark and busy room. The famous six metre slide still gives kids thrills in this gallery, but we were happy to play air hockey against a robot, test our reflexes against each other and chase scarves as they flew through pipes and into the air.
Best for: All ages

Questacon, Canberra, Australia

H2O—Soak Up the Science
Learn all about how water shapes our world. Hands-on features let visitors boil water, launch a hydrogen rocket, pump water towards the ceiling and reveal how much water is used to manufacture food and clothing.
Best for: 8+

Questacon, Canberra, Australia
Mini Q—fun for 0-6 year olds
Mini Q is like a children’s museum / play space, with its various areas designed to engage little scientists, especially babies, toddlers, pre schoolers and school aged children up to 6 years. Each zone in Mini Q encourages kids to explore their environment through hands-on activities. They are free to watch, try, see the results of their actions, then try again.  This process of observation, prediction, testing and refining teaches them the basic way scientists, both little and big, learn about the world around them. Mini Q is also a great spot to nurture the imagination, with zones set up to represent real-life places such as a construction site, veterinary hospital, grocery shop and car shop.
Best for: 0-6

Questacon, Canberra, Australia

Q Lab
Kids can look at the world through a microscope and slow-motion footage, try their hand at science experiments or watch demonstrations with Questacon’s science communicators and visiting scientists. The giant periodic table containing actual samples of 94 of the 118 known elements that are the building blocks of the universe is a popular feature of this gallery.
Best for: 7+

Questacon, Canberra, Australia
The Shed
Little makers, this one is for you. The Shed is dedicated to experimentation with ideas, tools, science, technologies, and art, with the highlight being a tinkering studio where visitors can design and make to their hearts’ content.
Best for: Ages 10+

Science Garden
Outside Questacon, the Science Garden features exhibits inspired by the sun, wind, water and rock.
Best for: 6+

Questacon, Canberra, Australia

What else is there to do at Questacon?
It’s easy to fill a whole day just in the galleries, but Questacon also runs daily science-based shows that are included in the general admission price. There are lots of shows on each day, so it’s hard to choose which one to see. We saw a show that was all about collisions, with an extremely engaging scientist leading the action. As there is no age guide for the shows, I would ask staff as to their suitability for your kids.

Questacon, Canberra, Australia

Eating at Questacon
We bought lunch at the onsite cafe, which serves basic sandwiches, burgers ($11.50-$12.50) and pasta dishes ($12.50/14.50), plus hot dogs, cakes and fruit cup. Kids can choose fish strips, chicken strips or pasta for $6.50, or a sandwich / grazing platter from the sandwich stand. You are able to bring your own food and eat it at the tables inside.

Questacon, Canberra, Australia Questacon, Canberra, Australia Questacon, Canberra, Australia Questacon, Canberra, Australia Questacon, Canberra, Australia Questacon, Canberra, Australia Questacon, Canberra, Australia Questacon, Canberra, Australia Questacon, Canberra, Australia Questacon, Canberra, Australia Questacon, Canberra, Australia Questacon, Canberra, Australia

Questacon
King Edward Terrace, Parkes ACT
Hours: Daily 9am – 5pm including holidays. Closed 25 December.
Prices: Adult $23.00, Concession $17.50, Child (4 – 16 years) $17.50, Child (Under 4 years) Free, Family (2 Adults + 3 Children) $70.00 ($8.00 for each additional child)
Questacon online

We received tickets to Questacon for reviewing purposes. All opinions my own.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Canberra Travel Guide: The National Gallery of Australia

National Gallery of Australia, CanberraThe National Gallery of Australia (NGA) in Canberra is often host to the most incredible art exhibitions, and is often the primary reason for us to base an entire visit to Canberra around.

On this trip, the exhibition was Versailles: Treasures from the Palace, which brought to life the incredible history of one of the world’s most famous (and fancy!) palaces. Featuring paintings, tapestries, sculptures, furniture and objects, this exhibition brought to Australia life in Versailles during the 17th – 18th centuries.

National Gallery Australia, Canberra, ACT National Gallery Australia, Canberra, ACT National Gallery Australia, Canberra, ACT National Gallery Australia, Canberra, ACT

While the exhibition has since finished, the gallery has a series of rotating exhibitions so whenever you visit there is something incredible and new to see, in addition to the permanent galleries.

National Gallery Australia, Canberra, ACT

The NGA is the national art museum of Australia and is home to than 166,000 works of art, including over 7500 works by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

National Gallery Australia, Canberra, ACT

In the Australian art section, the Ned Kelly series by Sidney Nolan have long been a favourite of mine to visit, as well as the works by Australian Impressionists such as Tom Roberts and Arthur Streeton on display.

National Gallery Australia, Canberra, ACT

Upstairs, a stroll through the European and American art collections reveals Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works including a lovely Waterlillies by Claude Monet and one of Degas’ exquisite sculptures of a dancer.

National Gallery Australia, Canberra, ACT National Gallery Australia, Canberra, ACT

The NGA also displays modern and contemporary artworks in the gallery, and on this visit the whole family was entranced by a video work by Pipilotti Rist, called Worry will vanish revelation. On display until August 20, 2017, this large-scale work takes up an entire room and is completely mesmerising.

National Gallery Australia, Canberra, ACT

Entrance to the NGA is free. Fees apply for special exhibitions only. I absolutely love free galleries when we travel as a family as it means there is no pressure on us to see everything to get our money’s worth – instead we can see one thing or a few, leave when the youngest member has had enough, and even return again to see something else the following day. We did this on our recent Canberra trip when, over the four days we were there, three of them included a visit to the NGA.

National Gallery Australia, Canberra, ACT

Visiting Art Galleries With Children
I’ve been visiting art galleries around the world since I was a child myself, so when Cheese came along, she was bundled up from a few weeks of age and taken along with me to continue my artist explorations. As such she is now, at age 5, an excellent art gallery companion. When we visit galleries we do so to observe the art together, even if it’s at a much faster pace than I would go if I was doing so alone!

National Gallery Australia, Canberra, ACT

I love to observe what stands out to her when we look around galleries. It’s rarely works that are famous that will draw my attention because I recognize them from being featured in other media. She will stop before works that I might completely miss and walk past, which was the case at the NGA.

National Gallery Australia, Canberra, ACT

We stopped for quite a while in the Indigenous section while she took in the works and asked questions about what was going on in them, and she could have stayed in the video installation room all day, asking me with every changing scene what was happening.

National Gallery Australia, Canberra, ACT

The NGA is extremely family friendly, from its accessibility to friendly staff and activities designed especially for children. We’ve often been at galleries where staff have kept a close eye on us and hovered closely to ensure we didn’t get to close to the art works. It was a relief at the NGA to be able to wander through the galleries without feeling like we were constantly being watched.

National Gallery Australia, Canberra, ACT

NGA PLAY
When we visited the NGA they had a fantastic area set up called NGA Play that was designed especially to engage children in art, craft and play activities relating to the Versailles exhibition. It was a lot of fun for all of us to get involved with making objects together as a family.

National Gallery Australia, Canberra, ACT

After this exhibit is removed, there will be a new interactive feature built in its place to engage visitors of all ages.

National Gallery Australia, Canberra, ACT

Sculpture Garden
Outside, in the grounds surrounding the NGA, are 26 sculptures on display by both Australian and International artists. It’s an extremely pleasurable experience to walk through the bush discovering these incredible works of art, and also a very easy way to introduce kids to art if you’re a bit nervous of taking them inside a gallery with their sticky hands.

National Gallery Australia, Canberra, ACT

On the south side of the gallery you’ll find a major new Skyspace by American artist James Turrell. The Skyspace is a viewing chamber that uses light to affect the way we perceive the sky. It’s a wonderful work that is really engaging as well as fun as one needs to move into, through and out of it, and each step taken reveals a different element of the work.

National Gallery Australia, Canberra, ACT National Gallery Australia, Canberra, ACT

NGA Cafe
Overlooking the Sculpture Garden the newly refurbished NGA café offers morning and afternoon tea and lunch options, children’s meals, plus a selection of wines by the glass, great coffee and sweet treats. It cost us $40 for a flat white coffee, two sandwiches, Vegemite toast, a fruit salad and an apple juice.

National Gallery Australia, Canberra, ACT National Gallery Australia, Canberra, ACT

National Gallery Australia, Canberra, ACT National Gallery Australia, Canberra, ACT

National Gallery Australia
Parkes Pl E, Parkes
Hours: Daily, 10am-5pm (closed Christmas Day)
Prices: Free
nga.gov.au
Parking: Free underneath the gallery on weekends.

Thank you to the NGA for media tickets to see Versailles: Treasures from the Palace. All opinions my own.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Hotel Review: Novotel Canberra

Novotel Canberra, ACT Australia

We often stay at Novotel hotels when we travel because they are always to the high standard we expect from hotels in this brand’s family. The Novotel Canberra is no exception.

Novotel Canberra, ACT Australia

With its excellent location right in the centre of Canberra, the hotel is a fantastic place to stay when visiting Australia’s capital city. A short walk away you will find restaurants, shops, a pharmacy, convenience stores, taxis and buses. It’s an excellent place to base yourself for a Canberra visit.

Novotel Canberra, ACT Australia

The Novotel Canberra is a 4 ½ star hotel with 286 rooms. It’s located 0.2km from the city centre, entertainment and retail precincts and 8km from the airport. 24 hour room service is available, with healthy meal options, plus the hotel offers a complimentary in-room yoga channel with yoga mats available, a newly renovated indoor swimming pool as well as gymnasium, spa and sauna.

Novotel Canberra, ACT Australia

Reception is manned 24 hours a day, which is great for late and early check ins/outs. There is a small play area in reception for kids to play while adults are handling the paperwork.

Novotel Canberra, ACT Australia

Our room was light and spacious, with two queen beds, tea and coffee making facilities, a bar fridge and a great Angry Birds welcome gift for kids.

Novotel Canberra, ACT Australia

Wifi is offered for free to members (it’s free to sign up).

We always drive to Canberra and were pleased to see that we could park underground at the Novotel Canberra at a cost of $20/night. A bit pricey for parking, but the hotel locations is such that you would otherwise struggle to find anywhere near the hotel to park.

Novotel Canberra, ACT Australia Novotel Canberra, ACT Australia Novotel Canberra, ACT Australia

As always, we highly enjoyed our stay at the Novotel Canberra.

Novotel Canberra
65 Northbourne Ave, Canberra
Book your stay at the Novotel Canberra

I received a media rate for our stay. All opinions are my own. Affiliate links are used on this page. This means if you use a link to purchase or book something, I will receive a small commission at zero extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting Adventure, Baby!

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant

East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia

The very instagrammable East Hotel is our fave place to stay in Canberra. It’s a vibrant, contemporary, very artsy hotel, in the perfect location for a stay in our nation’s capital.

East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia

Located only 2.3 km from Parliament House and 2.9 km from the National Gallery of Australia, the East Hotel is what I would class as walking distance to all the major attractions we like to hit up in Canberra. When we travel with the little one we taker her scooter so the distances are still manageable for her, and a good amount of exercise for us.

East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia

The hotel is fantastically designed to appeal to a wide range of people – from young hip couples thanks to its visual appeal, to families wanting more space and amenities. The free lollies and fruit at reception doesn’t hurt its popularity either – it’s hard to tell who liked the lollies more, the kids or the adults!

East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia

A big draw of the East Hotel, beyond the contemporary aesthetic, are the bright rooms that feature either kitchens or kitchenettes, balconies, free limited Wi-Fi and Nespresso machines. There are one and two-bedroom apartments that have full kitchens, and fantastic rooms for kids with bunk beds, bean bags and Xbox 360 video game consoles.

East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia

We had a one-bedroom apartment with a king bed and fold out bed in the living room, with a full kitchen. It was a huge room for the three of us, compared to the amount of space we usually have in a hotel.

East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia The full kitchen is amazing and means we can buy plenty of food and make our own stuff, cutting down massively on the costs of eating out – as well as making sure we always have something on hand for the fussy five-year-old to eat.

East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia

While the popular “Kid Cubby” rooms, that feature the bunk beds, Xbox 360 and other fun stuff were all booked out for our stay, we still really enjoyed the extra toys, games and books the staff thoughtfully put in our room for us.

East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia

We stayed over Easter weekend and the staff very thoughtfully held a free Easter egg hunt for the guests.

If biking is your thing, the East Hotel offers free bike rental at reception, including kids bikes.

East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia

Parking is available under the hotel for $10 a night. Check the website for special offers, however, as I happened to find a voucher just as I was checking in that gave me free parking plus two free drinks from Joe’s Bar in the lobby.

East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia

An added draw for the hotel is the brand new restaurant that lives on the base level of the hotel, Agostinis. This gorgeous Italian restaurant has beautiful decor, a welcoming vibe and, most importantly, delicious food.

East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia

Guests of the East Hotel can order room service from Agostinis by dialling hotel dining on the room phones. Our meal arrive quickly and was honestly the best room service we’d probably ever had.

East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia

We also chose to dine in the restaurant the following night because the room service was so good, and had a wonderful evening in this very family-friendly, chic restaurant. The staff were friendly and attentive, the food exceptional.

East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia

From the menu we selected the Insalata Caprese Con Burrata (heirloom tomatoes, Burrata cheese, basil & Agostinis’ olive oil, $15), the Spaghetti Al Pomodoro E Basilico (fresh house-made pasta with tomato, garlic, basil, $18) and the Capricciosa (prosciutto cotto, mushrooms, artichokes, olives & Fior di Latte mozzarella, $24). For the little one, she had one of the kids pizza and pasta meals $15 each (including a drink and gelato for dessert).

East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia
East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant AustraliaEast Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia East Hotel Canberra + Agostinis Restaurant Australia

I would highly recommend dining at Agostinis regardless of where you are staying in Canberra!

East Hotel
69 Canberra Ave, Kingston ACT
Book your stay at the East Hotel

We received a media rate when staying at the East Hotel. We have previously stayed paying the full rate. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links, which means I will receive a small commission if you book using my links. It will not cost you any extra. Thanks for supporting Adventure, baby!

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Bishop’s Court Estate: A Luxury Stay in Bathurst

Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia

A stay at the Bishop’s Court Estate is like spending the night at the house of a friend. If your friend lived in a luxurious, historic mansion, that is. Built in 1870 as the home of the first Anglican Bishop, Bishops Court Estate is a two-storey Victorian mansion that has been exquisitely restored to its former glory by owner Christine Le Fevre.

Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia

Le Fevre greets us by name as we arrive, and ushers us into our rooms, which all have their own name and character. There are only six rooms in this boutique hotel, making the stay a cosy, intimate affair. My room for the night is the Bishops Room – the bedroom that was previously reserved for the Bishop of the house.

Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia

The room is spacious and elegant, decorated with a unique art collection and European inspired furniture. There is direct access to the upper terrace from the room, which overlooks the chapel and garden. It’s peaceful, luscious and so relaxing. Complimentary port and choccies await me in the room, a lovely surprise gift for guests.

Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia

A big quick of the rooms at Bishop’s Court Estate is their lack of in-room ensuites. Only one room at the hotel has a bathroom ensuite, the rest, all large, luxurious bathrooms, are allocated to each room in different locations nearby. It’s pretty easy to slip on the provided plush robe and totter down the hall, and kind of feels like I’m on set at Downton Abbey when I do.

Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia

In the evening the chapel is filled with candles and transformed into the ethereal eatery that is 9inety 2wo restaurant. They serve Modern Australian cuisine in one of the most beautiful surrounds I’ve ever dined in.

Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia

Our meal is delicious. I enjoy the twice baked asparagus Soufflé with blue cheese and parmesan crisp, hand-cut pasta with mushrooms and baked stuffed eggplant with asparagus risotto, braised okra and spinach sauce. I’m similarly stuffed and can’t fit in dessert, which is a crying shame as it’s an exquisite-looking creme brulee.

Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia

It’s to bed after dinner, which is a wonderfully short stroll up the stairs, and to sleep on my bed, which is so comfortable it feels like sleeping on a cloud.

Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia

In the morning I’m cheerfully greeted by Le Fevre when I emerge downstairs, and step outside to explore the gardens. Serene angel statues are dotted throughout the greenery, giving the garden a celestial feel that, when combined with the solitude of the estate, gives a feeling of supreme peace.

Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia
Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia
Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia
Around the corner from the chapel is the chook shed, where the “Spice Girls”, Le Fevre’s much-loved chickens, live a life of luxury.

Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia

The eggs served at breakfast in the house dish, the “Bishop’s Court Stack” are freshly laid by the Spice Girls, with the fruit grown in the kitchen garden. We sit at a long table, strangers no more. We depart Bishop’s Court Estate as newly found friends, thanks to Le Fevre’s extraordinary warmth and hospitality, and the unique bonding experience of spending a night in this gorgeous estate.

Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia Bishop's Court Estate, Bathurst, NSW, Australia

Bishop’s Court Estate
226 Seymour St, Bathurst
Online
Bishop's Court Estate Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I was hosted by Bishop’s Court Estate, Destination NSW, Bathurst Council and Mayfield Gardens for my stay in Bathurst. All opinions are my own.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

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/

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 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!

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, NSWChurch 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!

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!

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

Things To Do In The Margaret River

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 AustraliaCanal 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.

Things To Do In The Margaret River

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!