The Enzo Travel Dog team visits York, Northam and Toodyay in the Avon Valley; The Vines and local wineries in the Swan Valley and Hillary’s Boat Harbour, north of Perth. Enzo checks out local dog walks, dog friendly cafes and goes to his first car museum.
It was nice to reach the wheat-belt and wine regions north of Perth after two months in the desert. We dropped in on the Sparrow’s folks in the Swan Valley. They live in The Vines, a suburb built around a golf course. Bob the campervan needed a major clean, a service and some new boots. I needed my annual vaccinations and the folks needed to go shopping. I had been warned there would be no scraps from the table while there but didn’t mind as I was totally preoccupied watching the kangaroos on the 3rd hole through the fence. In between jobs we managed some day trips.
We visited Noble Falls at Gidgegannup, in the Avon Valley a great little dog friendly walk along a creek with a small waterfall. It was nice to swim in a river with no risk of meeting a croc!. At one stage I went down a little rapid and got out on the wrong side of the river after chasing my ball. I was stranded for a while until the Sparrow showed me the best spot to cross. The falls were neat.
The Noble Falls Hotel across the road is dog friendly, but it was too early for cold beer; so we went for a drive to Fur Baby Boutique and Cafe in Westminster. I ordered a ‘Ruffin’, the folks had coffee. It seemed snacks from the table were compulsory at Fur Baby! There were more dogs in the cafe than people. Great morning!
When all the jobs were finished, we went on a day trip to York and the Avon Valley. York was the first major inland town in WA. Its history is about sheep, wheat and horse breeding. Also, in the gold-rush, it was the last stop on the railway before the long walk to the goldfields. It has many historic buildings, a thriving art community and the very lovely York Motor Museum [dogs allowed on lead, strictly no peeing on car tyres]. We grabbed some guided-walk maps from the information office and explored on foot.
Northam and Toodyay
Lunch was in the beer garden at the Riverside Hotel in nearby Northam. As soon as we walked in I spotted some chop bones on a plate, waiting to be cleared away. Sadly, a quick check with the folks indicated that they weren’t for me! Shortly, a nice bearded man arrived on an invalid tricycle with dog trailer. Nice rig! It turned out the bones were for his dog! I do love pub food. It has lots of meat and potatoes and bits seem to regularly fall on the floor, especially in beer gardens! The folks had open steak sandwiches with chips. The Sparrow, true to her bloodlines, was unable to empty her plate and I had to assist. In the end, a great lunch was had by all. Afterwards, we checked out the silo art, then drove back through Toodyay [a cute town for a walk and a coffee] and the pretty rolling hills of Chittering.
Hillary’s Boat Harbour
Another day we went to Whitford’s Dog Beach, near Hillary’s. This was a classic city dog beach with dogs and people everywhere! I did a bit of swimming in between the drifts of seaweed, met a heap of dogs on the beach and even sniffed an Irish Wolfhound’s kneecaps [haha-dog joke]. There was a line of dog showers in the car park and a coffee van with tables for folk to sit and chat. It was very civilised. Hillary’s is one of the folk’s favourite lunch places when in Perth.
We were with the Sparrow’s sister and her family, after our walk we all went to White Salt for brunch. Dogs allowed on the verandah, which is probably the best spot on a sunny day. The Silverback slipped me a whole slice of the Sister’s bacon. I love the Sparrow’s family; the women never empty their plate!
One of the best places we went to was Bell’s Rapids, in the Swan Valley, just near The Vines. This is a great dog off lead place with rapids, waterholes, dirt tracks and a long wooden bridge. I ran and swam with cousin Cerby for about an hour. At one point we both went backwards down a small rapid. The folks were too concerned to get the photo, but it was pawesome. It definitely rates as an ‘Enzo top spot’.
I also ‘guarded the van’ one rainy afternoon at the Upper Reach Winery, while the family tasted wine and had lunch. By all accounts, it was good. On a sunny day I could have sat on the verandah, but the rain forced them inside. With two of the Sparrows female relatives at the table, there would have been leftovers for sure. Still, despite the warnings on arrival, it had been a great week for titbits. You can’t win ’em all!