A family holiday in Western Australia is often about wineries, small food producers and big blue skies. And for parents traveling with kids, there are also plenty of unique ways to get the children involved and excited about the gourmet experiences just as much as the adults. While there are plenty of wineries with large open spaces for kids to run while parents sip and sample, there’s no reason why the children can’t join in the tastings too. (Don’t miss The Cidery, for instance, where there are some fantastic non alcoholic options for children to try.) Here are some other interesting ideas for family-friendly activities on the gourmet trail in Western Australia with kids.
City kids often don’t know enough about where fresh produce comes from (apart from the supermarket), so an interesting way to teach them a bit about farming as well as getting them into the fresh air is to go fruit picking. There are plenty of places to do this; in Donnybrook is the Spring Valley Orchard where you and the kids can pick your own apples and plums straight from the orchards. If your kids really love it here, there is accommodation on site as well.
Western Australia’s most famous gourmet attraction is, of course, the Margaret River region. Visiting Margaret River with kids doesn’t mean the children sit around bored while you sample the local grapes. Some of the best family holidays in Western Australia with kids are spent experiencing the family-friendly activites all around the region.
Kids always love chocolate, so the Margaret River Chocolate Company is guaranteed to be a hit. Here you can sample milkshakes, chocolate fondues and all manner of chocolate desserts at the café as well as get a sneak peek into how the delicious choccies are made on site. Look out for the large taster bowls where you can sample some of the different types of chocolate for free!
The Candy Cow is another proven favourite for kids in Margaret River. Head to the super cute town of Cowaramup (affectionately known as Cow Town to the locals) and you can see the homemade boiled sweets, nougat and fudge being made before you pick up your basket to purchase your choices.
Craft beers and especially ciders are enjoying a renaissance at the moment, so sample one of the most popular local brands at Cheeky Monkey Brewery & Cidery. This is not just an attraction for adults – while you are enjoying a sunny afternoon with a cold one, the kids can run wild in the playground. On Sundays there is often live music and pizzas so the entire family can spend an entire day here relaxing and soaking up the chilled atmosphere.
If the kids are interested in sampling some local ciders as well, The Cidery in Bridgetown has non-alcoholic ciders and apple juices available too. This is a clever option if you are planning to self-drive around Western Australia with kids as it means even the driver and the kids can get involved in tasting the liquid produce of the delicious crushed Pink Lady apples. The cidery is perched on a pretty aspect near a dam so there is space to play and perhaps even spot a bandicoot. In the winter there is a cosy “snug” bar where you can set the kids up with games or colouring in. Or for something more active, teach the kids about the cider making process by viewing the historical equipment and images on display and tasting heritage apples when they’re ripe.
From November 21 to 23 2014 Western Australia’s most famous gourmet region plays host to three days of feasting and foodie indulgence at the Margaret River Gourmet Escape. As well as welcoming the likes of culinary greats such as Heston Blumenthal, the event offers fun food ideas for kids too. At the Pick It, Make It, Eat It cooking classes for kids, children can participate in hands on activities and source their own lunches from the Margaret River Farmers Market. Hosted by Rebecca Sullivan and Sibilla Gelpkefrom Dirty Girl Kitchen & The Granny Skills Movement, this is a great way to introduce kids to fresh produce so that the gourmet trail for kids will be just as enjoyable as it is for adults.
[For more travel tips on things to do in Margaret River with kids, see the suitcases&strollers story here.]
Finally, for a more prolonged insight into the lives of Western Australia’s food producers, try out a farm stay. There are several family-friendly farm stays in Margaret River and the South West of the region – to read more, click here.
[If your kids love everything gourmet, it’s worthwhile considering taking them to a fine dining restaurant to get a different perspective. For travel tips on how to eat in expensive restaurants with kids, see the suitcases&strollers story here.]
As a base to explore the South West of Western Australia with kids, Amalfi Resort Busselton is perfect. Their villas are all self contained which means you can choose to either cook and eat at home or go out as it suits you.
Amalfi Resort Busselton is only a 70-metre walk to the kid-friendly Geographe Bay beach (home to the famous Busselton Jetty and Jetty Train). From here you can also spot the magnificent southern right whales as they migrate onwards towards warmer waters. [For more travel tips on whale-watching in Western Australia with kids, see the suitcases&strollers story here.]
The property is scooter, bike and skateboard friendly. If you don’t want to pack your own wheels, they also have bikes for hire, including bikes with kids’ trailers, kids’ seats and training wheels.
When you’ve had enough of the sand, the property also boasts a heated pool and spa including a kids’ pool, playground and a tennis court. When everyone needs to wind down, there are lots of sedentary activities available too – all the villas have FOXTEL pay television, there are children’s DVDs and a Wii for hire and there are plenty of board games. Plus there is free wifi so you never have to be out of touch.
Images: Amalfi Resort Busselton, The Cidery, MargaretRiver.com
This story was sponsored by Australia’s South West