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Market Spotlight: Big Vegan Market

It’s nearly time for the Melbourne’s Big Vegan Market! Held Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 May, this market offers a massive range of vegan fashion wears, vegan foods, vegan beauty products and organic goods. It’s a great day out for conscious consumers, people curious about the vegan lifestyle and those who just love good food! 

The Details: 

When: Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 May 2019

Time: 10AM - 6PM Each Day

Where: Royal Exhibition Building - 9 Nicholson Street, Carlton, VIC

More Info: Only $2 Entry (and under 12’s are FREE!)

BigVeganMarket2019

Top Farmers Markets In and Across Melbourne

As May is Supermarket Free Month, we encourage you to explore some of the best Farmers Markets across Victoria with your family. 

Packed with fresh, often organic, produce Farmers Markets are a great way to spend the weekend out in the sunshine and fresh air, enjoying good food, supporting local trade and gathering some delicious treats for the week ahead. 

Here are our top picks for the month May;

 First Weekend of the Month - Saturday 4 & Sunday 5 May:

  • Saturday 4 May: Coburg Farmers Market - Coburg Primary School, 92 Bell Street, Coburg

  • Saturday 4 May: Carlton Farmers Market - Carlton North Primary School, Cnr Canning and O’Grady Streets, Carlton North

  • Saturday 4 May: Kingston Farmers Market - Sir William Fry Reserve, Nepean Highway, Kingston

  • Saturday 4 May: Vegan Market of Melbourne - Abbotsford Convent, 1 St.Helier Street, Abbotsford

  • Saturday 4 May: Veg Out Market St Kilda - Peanut Farm Reserve, Chaucer Street, St. Kilda

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  • Sunday 5 May: St Kilda Esplanade Market - Fitzroy and Acland Streets, St Kilda

  • Sunday 5 May: Alphington Farmers Market - Wingrove Street, Alphington

  • Sunday 5 May: Eltham Farmers Market - Eltham Town Mall Carpark, Arthur Street, Eltham

  • Sunday 5 May: Flemington Farmers Market - Mount Alexander College, 175 Mount Alexander Road, Flemington

  • Sunday 5 May: Daylesford Farmers Market - 21a Raglan Street, Daylesford

  • Sunday 5 May: Hurstbridge Farmers Market - Fergusons Paddock, Hurstbridge-Arthurs Creek Road, Hurstbridge

  • Sunday 5 May: South Geelong Farmers Market - 200 Yarra Street, South Geelong

Second Weekend of the Month - Saturday 11 & Sunday 12 May:

  • Saturday 11 May: Collingwood Farmers Market - Collingwood Children’s Farm, St Heliers Street, Abbotsford

  • Saturday 11 May: Coburg Farmers Market - Coburg Primary School, 92 Bell Street, Coburg

  • Saturday 11 May: Elwood Farmers Market - Elwood College, 101 Glenhuntly Road, Elwood

  • Saturday 11 May: Berwick Farmers Market - Old Cheese Factory, 34 Homestead Road, Berwick

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  • Sunday 12 May: Alphington Farmers Market - Wingrove Street, Alphington

  • Sunday 12 May: Eltham Farmers Market - Eltham Town Mall Carpark, Arthur Street, Eltham

  • Sunday 12 May: Flemington Farmers Market - Mount Alexander College, 175 Mount Alexander Road, Flemington

  • Sunday 12 May: Bon Beach Farmers Market - 29-63 Breeze St, Bonbeach

Third Weekend of the Month - Saturday 18 & Sunday 19 May:

  • Saturday 18 May: Gasworks Farmers Market - Gasworks Parkland, 21 Graham Street, Albert Park

  • Saturday 18 May: Coburg Farmers Market - Coburg Primary School, 92 Bell Street, Coburg

  • Saturday 18 May: Carlton Farmers Market - Carlton North Primary School, Cnr Canning and O’Grady Streets, Carlton North

  • Saturday 18 May: Booroondara/Hawthorn Farmers Market - Patterson Reserve, Auburn Road, Hawthorn East

  • Saturday 18 May: Warragul Farmers Market - Civic Park, Civic Place, Warragul

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  • Sunday 19 May: Eltham Farmers Market - Eltham Town Mall Carpark, Arthur Street, Eltham

  • Sunday 19 May: Flemington Farmers Market - Mount Alexander College, 175 Mount Alexander Road, Flemington

  • Sunday 19 May: South Geelong Farmers Market - 200 Yarra Street, South Geelong

Fourth Weekend of the Month - Saturday 25 & Sunday 26 May:

  • Saturday 25 May: Coburg Farmers Market - Coburg Primary School, 92 Bell Street, Coburg

  • Saturday 25 May: Bentleigh Farmers Market - 90 Bignell Road, East Bentleigh

  • Saturday 25 May: Berwick Farmers Market - Old Cheese Factory, 34 Homestead Road, Berwick

  • Saturday 25 May: SlowFoods Melbourne Farmers Market - 16 Mary St, Spotswood

  • Saturday 25 May: Geelong Vegan Lifestyle Market - 1 Barwon Heads Rd, Belmont

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  • Sunday 26 May: Eltham Farmers Market - Eltham Town Mall Carpark, Arthur Street, Eltham

  • Sunday 26 May: Flemington Farmers Market - Mount Alexander College, 175 Mount Alexander Road, Flemington

  • Sunday 26 May: Mount Eliza Farmers Market - Cnr Mt Eliza Way &, Canadian Bay Road, Mount Eliza

Enjoy your weekend Farmers Markets with your family! 

If you can’t make it to a Farmers Market, but still crave that fresh produce then be sure to check out YourGrocer.com.au - an online grocery shopping and delivery service in Melbourne and Sydney. YourGrocer offers produce from Melbourne and Sydney’s top organic stores and markets - including Aunt Maggies Organics, South Melbourne Market and Dench Bakery

For more information on Farmers Markets across Melbourne, and the wider state of Victoria, be sure to visit the Victorian Farmers Markets Association’s website.

For more information on Supermarket Free Month check out www.supermarketfree.com.au

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Nature Play May - The Importance Of Outside Play

It’s Nature Play May!! Here at Plant Based Mum we are massive fans of getting out in nature and experiencing outdoor play!  

Children of all ages just love running around outside in the fresh air - exploring in the leaves, climbing on big branches and rocks, and playing with the sticks on the forest floor. Playing outside also provides some exposure to the sun, resulting in a boost of the much needed Vitamin D (of course, it absolutely goes without saying that it is always important to wear sunscreen, put on your hats and to be sun safe when playing outside).

Children naturally love to run around and explore the outdoors, which makes it the perfect way for them to get exercise and be active - and all that exercise can help to build their gross motor skills, strengthen their heart and lungs, and improve balance and posture. Outside play also provides endless opportunities to get creative, to use their imagination, to socialise with other children, and to foster their curiosity for nature and the environment.

Here are some of our favourite outdoor activities for the family: 

Walking 

We love going for walks! Whether it is a brisk walk around our neighbourhood with the pram and our puppy dogs, or exploring different parts of Victoria on foot, a nice walk is always tops our list of favourite family activities. A good walk can improve cardiovascular health, reduce your risk of heart disease, improve your pulmonary health, boost your circulation and increase your overall fitness. Walking is one of the best ways to get active with your family, to take in the sights, and to explore different (or much loved) areas - and you never know, you may even find some new treasures on the way! We share some of our favourite walks in Melbourne on the blog.

Outdoor Playgrounds 

Our favourite playgrounds are outdoor playgrounds. Fresh air, sunshine, and plenty to explore. Outdoor playgrounds promote health and wellbeing by allowing your children space to roam without being cooped up inside an air-conditioned building (because the spreading of multiple germs is never fun!). Some of the best fenced outdoor playgrounds can be found in the east side of Melbourne, and there are also a few great picks across the south, north and west sides of Melbourne too. We share some of our favourites in older posts here and here on the blog.

Farmers Markets

Farmers Markets are another way to enjoy the great outdoors with your family. They make for a fun, inexpensive (well, depending on how much produce and food you purchase!), weekend adventure. There’s so many plentiful farmers markets across Melbourne and the wider suburbs of Victoria that you could visit several every weekend of the year! Some of our favourites are listed here and here on the blog.

Enjoy your time in the outdoors!! 

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Best Organic Food Stores in Melbourne

Today on the blog we share top picks for local organic stores across Melbourne. Organic produce, food items and household goods are free from herbicides, pesticides and other harmful chemicals and make a great choice for the environment and personal health.

The Environment Working Group (EWG) shares a great resource on pesticides in food, identifying twelve foods with concerning amounts of pesticides - often dubbed ‘the dirty dozen’. Going organic, especially when shopping for the ‘dirty dozen’ items can be of great benefit. Choosing to shop organic also helps you to focus on what fruits and vegetables are in season, meaning fresh and vibrant produce for your pantry.

This May is Supermarket-Free Month, making it the perfect time to visit your local organic food store. Some of our favourite organic food stores in and around Melbourne include:

Aunt Maggies Organics - Malvern

Aunt Maggies Organics have several locations across Melbourne - in Malvern, Fitzroy and Carlton. They stock a range of items from fresh organic produce, to pantry and baking goods, and eco-friendly household cleaning products.

Where: 72 Glenferrie Road, Malvern

(They also have stores at 188 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy and Shop 7/8 Lygon Court, Carlton)

More Info: Aunt Maggies

Eastfield Natural Food Store - Croydon

Eastfield Natural Foodstore stocks a variety of fresh, organic and biodynamic foods. They also have a selection of supplements and eco-beauty products in the back part of the store. People travel far and wide to shop here, so you can be assured the quality and range of produce is top-notch. The store itself is very small, so leave the pram at home - this one is best for baby carriers only. After you have visited be sure to stop by Soul Pod Foods for a good coffee and a delicious treat! 

Where: Eastfield Natural Foodstore - 41 The Mall, Croydon South

More Info: Eastfield Natural Foods

Golden Age Vegetarian and Health Food Mart - Box Hill

This quaint but friendly health food store stocks a wide range of Taiwanese vegetarian and vegan produce and foods.

Where: 18B Rutland Rd, Box Hill

More Info: Golden Age Vegetarian and Health Food Mart

Green Mumma Organics - Rippleside

Green Mumma Organics really are a one stop shop if you're out in Geelong or on the Bellarine Peninsula. They stock a wide range of organic goodies from essential oils and fresh organic produce to nourishing smoothies, delicious takeaway meals and healthy snacks - there's something for everyone.

Where: Green Mumma Organics - 169 Melbourne Rd, Rippleside

More Info: Green Mumma Organics

Hello Charlie - Bundoora/Online

Hello Charlie stocks all your essential baby needs, plus something for mummy too! Hello Charlie stock a wide range of excellent organic, sustainable and eco-friendly products - safe for baby, mumma and the environment. You can shop online at hellocharlie.com.au - and you have the option to collect your order direct from their warehouse in Bundoora, or to have your items delivered.

Where: 4/30 The Concord, Bundoora

More Info: Hello Charlie

IHerb - Online

For the largest range of supplements and eco-beauty products online be sure to check out iHerb.

Joe’s Organic Market - Northcote

Joe's Organic Market is open 7 days and offer a range of organic produce and package goods. There is even a small vegan cafe on site.

Where: 64 Victoria Rd, Northcote

More Info: Joe’s Organic Market

Miss Spelt’s - Healesville

Miss Spelt’s Grains and Goodies are located in Healesville, so they make for the perfect spot to pop in after a nourishing breakfast at Healesville Harvest (Yarra Valley Harvest). The store itself is quiet small, so not really suitable for prams. Miss Spelts stock a range of organic goods; from eco-beauty essentials to personal items to frozen pies!

Where: Shop 1/2/232 Maroondah Hwy, Healesville

More Info: Miss Spelts

Natural Balance - Mornington

Natural Balance can be found on the main street of Mornington. They stock a wide range of organic goods and vitamins. There is plenty to do while you are in Mornington too - find out more on the blog!

Where: 148 Main St, Mornington

More Info: Natural Balance

Organic Empire - Mount Evelyn

What can't Organic Empire do? They sure are true to their name - an empire of all things organic! Organic Empire is a beautiful farm store with fresh organic produce, nutrition and health books, eco-beauty products and a range of local goodies. They run cooking classes too, which mummy green highly recommends! With a heavy presence online, Organic Empire also has an e-store with delivery available, for when you're too busy to venture out.

Where: 138 Monbulk Road, Mount Evelyn

More Info: Organic Empire

Organic Food and Wine Deli - Melbourne

If you're exploring Melbourne, the Organic Food and Wine Deli is a great place to stop by for a bite to eat, or to pick up some organic produce and a sweet treat.

Where: 28 Degraves St, Melbourne

More Info: The Organic Food and Wine Deli

Sherbrooke Health Foods - Belgrave

Sherbrooke Health Foods (or ‘Hilltribez Natural Health’) is a small heath food store offering a range of supplements, eco-beauty goods, organic produce and assorted health food items. They even run raw food workshops!

Where: 1658 Burwood Hwy, Belgrave

More Info: Sherbrooke Health Foods

The Common Good Store - Hawthorn

The Common Good Store stock a large range of organic and gourmet goodies to fill your pantry. From organic vegetables to cleaning products, you can always find what you need here. There is a large range of vegan, dairy free and gluten free products in stock, and the staff are always extra helpful.

Where: 77 Church St, Hawthorn

More Info: Common Good Store

The Cruelty Free Shop Melbourne - Fitzroy

One of Melbourne’s most loved organic goods stores, The Cruelty Free Shop stocks some of the most well known vegan, organic and health-food brands. From your pantry, to household cleaning, vitamins, gifts and beauty needs there is a big range in store.

Where: 124 Johnston St, Fitzroy

More Info: Cruelty Free Shop

The Staple Store - Ripponlea

The Staple Store houses all your organic needs from personal items and specialty teas through to dried fruits and nuts.

Where: 19 Glen Eira Rd, Ripponlea

More Info: The Staple Store

This Is Life Family Wellness Emporium - Elwood

This Is Life Family Wellness Emporium is just as the name suggests - an emporium of wellness for your whole family. From holistic health services (such as chiropractors, nutritionists, naturopaths), to workshops and a wellness store this place is well worth a visit!

Where: 109 Brighton Rd, Elwood

More Info: This Is Life

Wholefoods Store - Frankston

Wholefoods in Frankston stock a range of organic produce, condiments, eco-beauty products and a wide range of specialty teas. 

Where: 28 Wells St, Frankston

More Info: Wholefood Frankston

Wholefood Merchant - Ferntree Gully

Looking for a one-stop-shop to buy all your essentials? Somewhere that caters to you as a vegetarian, vegan, gluten free or paleo mum? Be sure to check out Wholefood Merchants in Ferntree Gully. Wholefood Merchants are the largest stockists of health food products in the outer eastern side of Melbourne. They offer allergy friendly everything and anything from fresh produce to eco-cleaning products to organic beauty items to baby food. As a bonus, Wholefoods Merchants also have a vegetarian cafe, where you can enjoy a treat and a nice coffee before embarking on your shopping journey.

Where: 3/794 Burwood Highway, Ferntree Gully

More Info: Wholefood Merchants

YourGrocer.com.au - Online

Featuring stores such as Aunt Maggies Organics, Dench Bakery and produce from the Queen Victoria, South Melbourne and Prahran Markets, Your Grocer is a convenient way to purchase your organic goods from the comfort of your own home.

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Best Vegan Markets and Festivals In and Around Melbourne

Some of our favourite markets and festivals are the vegan markets held across Melbourne and the wider state of Victoria throughout the year. Vegan markets support locally and ethically made vegan products, vegan wears, vegan eats and vegan produce.

Whether you identify as fully vegan, enjoy a partially vegan lifestyle (for example; you may choose to eat the occasional ‘vegan’ option on the menu and/or you might opt for more ethical and organic beauty and fashion choices) - or you are simply ‘vegan curious’ - these markets are fun to explore for the whole family.

There is always something different to see, and you can browse items that are great for the environment and the animals, as well as discovering products that help to support your overall health and wellbeing.

Melbourne Collective Vegan Market - Melbourne

As part of the Melbourne Collective Design Market, Melbourne Collective are also hosting a Vegan Market at Deakin Edge in Melbourne’s CBD. The vegan component to this market stocks all things organic, ethically made and 100% vegan - including crafts, beauty products and eco-wears.

Where: Deakin Edge @ Federation Square - Corner Swanston Street and Flinders Lane, Melbourne

When: Sunday 3 March, 2019

Big Vegan Day Out - Melbourne 

Delicious vegan eats, giveaways and discounts galore all located in one of Melbourne’s most loved vegan goods stores - The Cruelty Free Store. 

Where: The Cruelty Free Store - 124 Johnston Street, Fitzroy

When: Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 March 2019

Vegan Market of Melbourne - St Kilda

Previously held at the Abbotsford Convent, the Vegan Market of Melbourne is now hosted by the popular St Kilda Esplanade Market as a pop-up event. Be sure to visit the Vegan Market of Melbourne website for up to date information on dates, times and venues.

Where: Fitzroy Street, St Kilda (Upper Esplanade)

When: Every Sunday from 10am (excluding February 10 due to the St Kilda Festival)

Vegan Makers Market - Mornington Peninsula

This popular annual market is held on the stunning Mornington Peninsula. There is over 50 different brands offering food, eco-beauty products, organic skincare, vegan fashion items and other health and wellness products.

Where: Civic Reserve - 350 Dunns Road, Mornington

When: TBC - stay tuned for updates!

Big Vegan Market - Melbourne

Melbourne’s largest vegan market is held annually in Melbourne’s CBD. Hundreds of exhibitors showcase their ethical, vegan and organic goodies - from vegan beauty and skincare products, to ethical clothing and crafts there is something for everyone. Of course the most important thing on the day (at least for me!) is food - and there are plenty of delicious vegan wholefoods and beverages on offer too. Previous stallholders have included much loved brands such as Allergy Train, Cocowhip, Happily Made, Nzuri Organics, Scarlett Vegan Bags, The Living Pantry, The Vegan Box, The Smoothie Bombs and Vegan Leather Co to name but a few! Don’t miss this one if you’re in Melbourne in May!

Where: Royal Exhibition Hall - 9 Nicholson St, Carlton

When: 10am - 6pm, Saturday 11 & Sunday 12 May 2019

World Vegan Day Festival - Melbourne

If last year’s festival was anything to go by, this year will be fantastic! Think delicious vegan food, fantastic vegan products to discover, informative presentations, cooking demonstrations and even showbags! 

Where: Melbourne Showgrounds - Epsom Road, Ascot Vale (Venue TBC - stay tuned for updates!)

When: Sunday 10 November 2019

Spring Vegan Festival - St. Kilda 

During Springtime, Animal Liberation Victoria holds a Spring Vegan Festival full of good food and a range of other vegan goodies. Visit the ALV website for up to date information on the next event!

Where: St. Kilda Town Hall - 99A Carlisle St, St Kilda

When: TBC - stay tuned for updates!

Geelong Vegan Lifestyle Market - Geelong

Featuring delicious raw cakes and treats, vegan food and other vegan goodies this market is held in the beautiful seaside town of Geelong. Head to the Geelong Vegan Lifestyle Market Facebook Page or their website for upcoming market dates.

Where: 1 Barwon Heads Road, Belmont

When: TBC - stay tuned for updates!

If you love markets and are looking for more inspiration, you can also read about some of our favourite general Farmers Markets across the state of Victoria here.

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Look Who’s Walkin’ - Part Two: Our Top Family Beach-Side Walks in Melbourne

With summer on our doorstep, Melbourne is calling you for seaside walks and sand-filled play. Here are some of our favourite beach-side adventures:

St Kilda 

Not many can resist the fun of Luna Park in St Kilda. If your little ones are just that bit too little then there is a fantastic park to be found at Neptune Street. Sister of Soul is the place to visit for a yummy juice or smoothie to sip on as you stroll along the pier with bubba.

Hampton 

The beach-side suburb of Hampton provides lots of entertainment for families, with it’s parks and swimming beaches. Thomas Street South Reserve has a great wooden playground for the little ones to explore. With plenty of outdoor seating, Cornerstone and Co. Cafe makes a good spot to stop for lunch.

Elwood 

There is a beautiful walk in store for you along the Ormond Esplanade. Be sure to bring your hats, apply that sunscreen and pop on the sunglasses as it gets quite hot and glarey. For lunch, Little Sunflower Cafe is not far up Glen Huntley/Ormond Road. They serve the best buddha bowls in town and there is seating out the front for parents with prams. 

Chelsea 

Chelsea beach is a nice spot to visit. The Bicentennial playground is the perfect place for your little ones to run wild and Soul Press in nearby Edithvale will cure your smoothie craving. 

Frankston Foreshore  

Frankston Beach is a plesant spot to spend the afternoon. Nature Cafe makes a good choice for lunch with plenty of vegetarian and vegan options on the menu. Frankston Foreshore playground is lots of fun for the little ones, or there is the bright and bold Bellam Park further inland on Cranbourne Road.

Mornington Pier   

A nice walk around Mornington Pier is always lots of fun. There is a fantastic playground and reserve for the little ones to run around at Mornington Park. Soul Press is the place to go when hunger strikes with their nourishing açaí bowls and delicious smoothies, or you can try Thanks Albert with a yummy selection of vegetarian burgers to choose from. If you need to do some shopping while you are out and about Natural Balance along the main street has a big range of organic goodies. 

Remember to always be sun-safe on your walks! Visit www.sunsmart.com.au for more sun-safety tips.

Enjoy your summer! 

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Family Travel - Byron Bay with Kids

We recently returned from a fantastic family getaway to Northern NSW. It was full of great memories, awesome adventures, costal walks and seaside fun - just what we needed to escape the cold Melbourne winter! 

We ventured to Byron Bay, enjoying the scenery, viewing the stunning lighthouse and brunching at Three Blue Ducks restaurant at The Farm.  

We explored the quiet costal town of Kingscliff, trekking the seaside walking paths with the double pram, helping our toddler hunt for ‘treasure’, playing in the sand with baby and relishing in a much needed latte at the other end of the trail.  

And, we took a day trip to the Gold Coast checking out the views (and cafes!) at Surfers Paradise and Coolangatta. 

Here were some of our top finds on our trip: 

Gold Coast 

Our trip began on the Gold Coast, with our family arriving at the Gold Coast airport to pick up a hire car. Hiring the car made it a breeze to get around and explore the coast with our two little ones as we had baby seats hired, installed and ready to go from Avis the moment we touched down. Also a dream was the double pram we hired from Hire For Baby, who were an absolute pleasure to deal with and even had the pram waiting for us in the boot of our hire car on arrival - too easy!

We left the Gold Coast and made our way down to NSW for the majority of our trip, however we did make a day trip back up to the GC and found a few great cafes along the way - the Cardamon Pod is my absolute fave cafe on the Gold Coast - I wish there was one in Melbourne, Brumbles Cafe in Surfers was lovely - they do a delicious salad and the coffee is stand out (right up there with Melbourne coffee snob standards!). Another must visit if you are in the market for dinner on the Gold Coast is Greenhouse Canteen for it’s amazing take on street food. 

Kingscliff

The sleepy town of Kingscliff, in NSW, is a perfect stop on your seaside adventure, with it’s beautiful beaches, costal trails and great coffee. Our favourite spots to visit for brunch were Mockingbird Cafe for their amazing juices and delicious chia pudding, and Saltbean Expresso for their smoothies. Saltbean is located right opposite a great playground for your little ones to enjoy, and also right near the lovely Peppers accommodation and Salt Spa in Kingscliff.   

Byron Bay 

Heading to Byron Bay with kids presents a slightly different vibe than my formative years, but there’s still plenty of fun to be had! We all enjoyed the stunning views at the Byron Bay lighthouse. The Farm, home to the infamous Three Blue Ducks restaurant, was another massive hit with our little ones. As the name suggests it is in fact a working farm - with animals to see, vegetable crops to admire, a decent sized playground and lots of land to explore. The food at Three Blue Ducks was on point, with some great vegetarian options on offer - and they do a good cappuccino too. Santos Organics is also a must visit to stock up on some delicious organic produce for your trip. 

If you’re visiting this beautiful part of Australia with your little people I wish you a fantastic time! It sure is a beautiful part of the world. 

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