This week, Kelly and Dermott show us some great things to do two hours or under from Perth
Under an hour from Perth, Peel Zoo is a zoo and wildlife sanctuary with a difference. It's privately funded and has the goal of being Australia's best boutique zoo. Think of it as visiting a friend who happens to have hundreds of pets.
Breeding programs are critical and their Tasmanian devil efforts are vital. The species is endangered in the wild because of an incurable facial tumour disease and they are going all out to contribute to the long term future of the animal.
At Peel Zoo it's much more than just looking at the residents through wire fences. It's a hands-on zoo and you can get up close to many of the 150 species living there. That includes holding a Stimsons python, koala or ferret. You will see peacocks proudly displaying their colourful feathers, kangaroos, wallabies, pheasant, Fallow deer, possums and even humble little rabbits hopping about.
There are plenty of shaded places to enjoy a rest and lunch. Picnic by a billabong or have a bush barbecue.
Kalamunda Farmers' Market
Most of us love a good market, and this one is an easy 40 minute drive from Perth.
Kalamunda is where stall holders sell what they grow, catch, pickle, preserve or bake. What you see is what's in season, not imported or from cold storage.
Much of what's on sale is organic and Kelly was very taken with Roma tomatoes pickled in fresh garlic and sweet chilli.
There is an extraordinary selection of fruit and vegetables, herbs and spices, breads, coffee, oil and beef. Cutting out the middle-man means prices are lower. Money stays in the community and encourages interaction between local businesses and customers.
Under an hour's drive from Melbourne is Healesville Sanctuary. It opened in 1921 and is one of Australia's most acclaimed wildlife sanctuaries. Set in 30 hectares in the beautiful Yarra Valley foothills, you visit more than two hundred species of Australian wildlife in their natural habitat.
Home to koalas, kangaroos, wombats, emus, birds of prey and the elusive platypus, you may like to take part in one of their 'Magic Moments' as Dermott did. Spend time with a dingo or a lace monitor, under the watchful eye of a keeper.
If you are a feather fancier, 'Spirits of the Sky' showcases native birds, particularly active at noon and 2.30pm feeding times.
Of course there are always plenty of new arrivals to enjoy and the zoo shop has some beautiful things to buy. The Adopt an Animal program is something you might want to look at.
Healesville and De Botoli have the perfect Yarra Valley day out. Relax over a two-course lunch at De Bortoli Restaurant, wine tasting, admission to the sanctuary and an optional personalised guided tour.
Red Hill Brewery
Around 90 minutes on the Mornington Peninsula, Red Hill Brewery brews handcrafted ales using their own organic hops in an area better known for its fine wines. They've won a myriad of medals of all colours and put out 2500 bottles a day.
The café sources ingredients where possible from the peninsula and many dishes are based on those enjoyed in the beer-loving countries of England, Belgium and Germany. Of course there's a classic ploughman's platter and Dermott tucked into Dromana Bay mussels, straight from the farm.
Locations two hours and under from Perth and Melbourne.
Peel Zoo entry is $18 for adults, $9 for children and $48 for a family of 2 adults and 2 children. It is open between 10am and 4pm on weekdays and 9am to 5pm on weekends.
Kalamunda Markets are open every Sunday between 8am and noon. For further information log on to www.kalamundachamber.com.au.
Healesville Sanctuary is open every day between 9am and 5pm. Entry is $24.50 for adults, $12.60 for children and $58 for 2 adults and 2 children. 'Magic Moments' cost $10 per person or $30 for a family of two adults and two children. Yarra Valley Day Out costs $85 for adults and $40 for children. Available every day.
Red Hill Brewery is open between Thursday and Sunday and public holidays between 11am and 7pm.
Virgin Australia has one-way flights to Melbourne from:
- Sydney $109
- Brisbane $145
- Perth $219
The fares are available for a limited time only so log on to www.vaustralia.com.au for further details.
Prices correct at 23/7/2011
For further information
Ph: 13 6789
Ph: (08) 9531 4322
Kalamunda Farmers Market
1 Haynes Street
Ph: (08) 9257 1190
Badger Creek Road
Ph: (03) 5957 2800
Fax: (03) 5957 2870
Red Hill Brewery
88 Shoreham Road
Red Hill South 3937
Ph: (03) 598 92959