From surfies to wineries

For a tour of Perth by sea, air, river and land – start with a beach breakfast in North Fremantle, followed by a helicopter to the wineries of Caversham. Martin Donovan reports

Port Beach in North Fremantle is less than a half-hour’s drive from Perth city centre and the Coast venue offers seven spaces ranging from outdoor terraces and The Boathouse restaurant, catering for 350 guests seated or up to 1,000 standing.

A beachside breakfast experience with locally sourced produce, juices and good coffee, can be arranged with the opportunity for a stroll on the white sands of Port Beach. Under the watchful eye of Fremantle life surfers, groups can also experience the waves and avail themselves of the beach space along the Coast’s terrace or sunbathe with splendid views of the Indian Ocean.

Up and away to Swan River
Viewing Perth from all angles possible is recommended – and it’s hard to best a bird’s-eye view of the city’s coastline, urban landmarks and the greenery either side as the Swan River meanders north.

An impressive launching point for a tour of the Swan River wineries is by helicopter arranged through Corsaire Aviation, whose choppers are a familiar sight at the company’s dedicated helipad at Crown Perth but can also take off from designated locations such as Port Beach.

For more on Dreamtime 2019 – Perth Power

One starting point to explore the wineries that reach into Swan Valley is Caversham House, which dates back to the 1820s, and has two indoor venues in addition to an air-conditioned marquee, which even has crystal chandeliers for banquets.

There is also the Hidden Gardens, which features lawns and a walkway that takes guests past a four-storey waterfall that descends outside a stone balcony en route to the estate’s jetty.

Take one of the Captain Cook Cruises’ vessels, complete with bar and event space, to tour the wineries of the Caversham reaches of the Swan River.

Mandoon Estate
A good disembarkation point as the Swan River narrows is Mandoon Estate, which has meetings and event venues alongside its winery, a craft brewery, restaurants and outdoor areas.

Dale Tilbrook

Mandoon’s wooded area is an ideal spot to learn more about indigenous foods, with Bush Tucker Tasting led by Noongar elder, Dale Tilbrook, who introduces the fruits, berries and even emu eggs.

Among the other groups options are long-table lunches by the banks of the Swan River while inside Mandoon’s facilities include a pillarless function centre to host 400, which can be divided into three separate rooms.

Wineries in Australia tend to be good neighbours – and next to Mandoon Estate is the Caversham estate of Sandalford, which also has wineries to the south of Perth, at Margaret River.

Sandalford has uncorked its own appreciation of the China market, which accounts for a third of its visitors, by employing five Chinese-speaking staff, providing translated menus, wine-tasting notes and more.

The family-owned business recently opened a new events venue, The Estate Room, which is the first stage of a major expansion and redevelopment at Sandalford’s Swan Valley estate to welcome more business event groups.

Visitors to rural Australia will find that the long-table lunch is quite the thing, with Sandalford repurposing a cask-lined storage facility for group dining.

Events can be arranged in other barn-like venues. For the Dreamtime contingent of buyers, an indoor market was arranged with stalls representing producers from the West Swan area, such as Funk Cider, Murghi’s confectionary, coffee roasters and other artisanal-based outlets.

To add more of a rustic outback atmosphere, a bush band – featuring traditional folk instruments of Ireland and Scotland – can perform old Australian favourites.

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