In honour of Father’s Day, we thought it would be great to get a Dad’s view on travel. And what better topic than wine, specifically wine tasting. So I suggested to my husband he could write a piece about wine tasting with the kids in tow. We’ve recently been on a family holiday to South West Australia and had a fantastic time. So here is what he wrote:
“Wine tasting with the kids …. don’t do it.”
And after a raised eyebrow from his wife, here is the extended article:
A Dad’s Tops Tips for Wine Tasting in the Margaret River Region
This is definitely an occasion when it’s worth spending the extra money to have everyone insured as a driver on the hire car. Don’t forget to make sure everyone knows who the designated driver is before you hit the first winery. If you are going to flip a coin for it, I would recommend you click on this article:
Have a (Vague) Plan
It would be great to be able to spend the whole day(s) on the vineyard trail but, as you never know quite how the day is going to pan out with the little ones, put in the research and have a list of your favourites wineries to hand. Aim for these first and anything else is a bonus. Actually, anything at all is a bonus!
Depending on the age of your children you might still be able to hit the wine tasting jackpot when your sampling coincides with kids napping in the pram. However, chances are you aren’t going to have to time to leisurely enjoy the tipples so it’s worth visiting vineyards that offer something the children might enjoy.
At Cape Mentelle we found swings and colouring pages, Vasse Felix has a great space to let off some steam and lots of ducks to admire and The Berry Farm offers a children’s corner and a playground. Check out more local parent reviews of family friendly vineyards here from BuggyBuddies, the online family guide to Western Australia.
Drink More Alcohol…
More of a variety of alcohol that is! Be open to widening your tastings to breweries as well. They are very family friendly and almost all, with out fail, offer playgrounds, highchairs, kids menus and fantastic food and drinks options for the grown-ups. Top of our tasting list were Cowaramup Brewing Company, Cheeky Monkey Brewery & Cidery and Bootleg Brewery.
To the north of Margaret River we can recommend the Eagle Bay Brewing Company. With spectacular views, it is also conveniently located for trips to the Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse and the beautiful Bunker Bay and Meelup Beach.
Think Outside the Box
Or, in fact, ‘think about the box’. Taken from a different angle, this happy family photo below would show a recently purchased case of wine being wheeled carefully to the car!
Don’t be scared to make use of the mountain of baby/kiddy equipment you have likely lugged with you. Leggings/onesies/kids floaties are all useful for when it comes to pack up the bottles for the trip home.
Top Temper Tantrum Tip
At some point, tempers might get fraught, feet might be stomped and sulks might occur. So to cheer up your wife, I would suggest a trip to the Margaret River Chocolate Company. The kids will enjoy it too. Other foodie stops, to keep the blood sugars up and the team happy, include Millers Ice Cream Farm Cafe, Simmos Ice Creamery and Dunsborough Bakery. And if you need a caffeine hit after a disturbed nights sleep there are a number of places offering excellent flat-whites.
There is loads to do for kids in the area when they start to get fractious. Pony treks, mini golf, mazes, caves, whale watching (seasonal), beaches with great facilities, shearing sheds … the list goes on! Check out this comprehensive Family Fun list here.
House vs Hotel
I’d recommend a house stay for the trip. We used Stayz for our booking. A house rental instead of a hotel gives you a bit more space and flexibility when travelling with the children. With a four year old and a six month old in tow, having our own kitchen was invaluable. We typically ate out at lunch (see breweries above) and then made the most of the amazing local produce and the in-house BBQ for family dinners. The view wasn’t too bad either.
Go! We had a brilliant time in South West Australia and couldn’t recommend it highly enough to other families. So much to see, do, eat and drink for all ages. Our only complaint was that we wished the holiday was longer. Well that, and maybe we should have brought the grandparents for some
babysitting while we went wine tasting quality family time.
Happy Father’s Day all!