A beautiful Sunday, good company, good food, good wine and a cruise to the Swan Valley – it’s a great way to enjoy a special occasion.
Twenty-six family and friends celebrated a friend’s 60th birthday with a Captain Cook Gourmet Wine Cruise to Sandalford.
This is a full day cruise with cast off from the Barrack Street jetty timed for 9:45 am.
The River Lady has comfortable seating, two toilets (with drying facilities outside the toilets) and an open-air area at the front of the boat. First up was morning tea and coffee with a delicious small muffin – raspberry or chocolate.
As we enjoyed the sights of Perth from the river, passing the Matagarup Bridge and Optus Stadium, we started on our first wine of the day – just after 10am!
Four tasting wines were on offer – two white and two red all from Western Australia. Two platters with crackers, chorizo, apricots and two types of cheese were set on our table of eight. Our hostess explained the basics of wine tasting while we sampled the goods.
This first part of our cruise took around two hours. The captain gave a running commentary of the points of interest along the way, which I am sure would have been informative but it was practically inaudible. Time for an upgrade on the sound system.
However it was fascinating being on the river on a Sunday – so much going on from paddle boarders to powerboats, kayaks and lots of people on the riverbank enjoying fishing, swimming or just watching the world going by.
On arrival at the Sandalford jetty, there is a short uphill walk to the winery with a golf buggy on hand for those with mobility issues.
Some passengers had opted for lunch at the Mandoon Estate rather than Sandalford and others for a bus tour of the Swan Valley.
We met our tour guide just outside of the Sandalford restaurant. Heather was very knowledgeable about the wine making process and our behind the scenes tour was interesting as was the short video narrated by Sandalford’s owners and winemakers.
Sandalford’s Oak Room was our lunch venue and another round of wine tasting. This time six samples of whites, rose and reds – all from the Sandalford Estate. We were also given a complimentary glass of wine with our meal.
I was impressed with the quality of food. The first course was a mound of smoked salmon (a salad was on offer for passengers who were not keen on the salmon). I opted for barramundi with crushed potatoes and chorizo for the main course. Other options were chicken with quinoa and vegetarian ravioli. My barramundi was cooked to perfection and the sauce complemented the dish beautifully. The skin could have been crisper but that was a minor quibble.
Next up was the cellar door where we were offered port, dessert or sparkling wines and even more wine tastings. We also wandered around the gift area and some of our party bought Sandalford wine at a discounted price.
Departure time for the return trip was 2:45 and on board was a choice of lemon cheesecake or chocolate cake with tea or coffee.
The bar opened at 3:15 for complimentary wines. Beer is available but is not included in the price. At 4:15 the bar closed. We felt that some warning the bar was closing would have been helpful or perhaps a notice giving the bar hours.
Arriving back at Barrack Street before 5pm – we all agreed that it had been a great day replete with good food and a fair amount of wine. Luckily none of us had driven to Barrack Street before boarding the River Lady, so we headed home by train, bus, taxi or Uber.
This is a popular cruise. If you are entertaining relatives or friends from overseas or interstate, or marking a special day, make sure to put a Captain Cook wine cruise on your to-do list.
Address: Pier 3, Barrack Square, Perth
Phone: 08 9325 3341
Schedule: September to May – daily, June to August – Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday
Cost: $169.00 per person. Concession and/or Seniors card holders $155.00 per person
Gluten-free options: On request
Vegetarian options: Yes
Entertainment Book: Yes – 25% discount.
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