Do you love mini golf? If you are reading this article then the answer is probably yes, so you know how exciting it is when you get to try out a new mini golf course for the first time. Here in Canberra, locals have been lucky enough to have three new mini golf courses open in the last year or so around the city. Yes, three! When I personally moved to Canberra over two years ago, the only mini golf course was at the Canberra International Golf Centre - however this is more of a practice putting green, than a colourful and challenging mini golf course. Now there are three new, imaginative and fun mini golf courses to try out around the city. One is outdoors and perfect for a sunny day by Lake Burley Griffin. The other two are indoors, which is ideal in the depths of winter, the scorching hot days of Summer and the rainy days in between.
All three of them will be open this weekend, so grab some friends or the kids and challenge them to a mini golf tee off. Who will be the ultimate mini golf champion at the end of the day? The answer doesn't matter really - all you will remember is that you had fun trying!
Putt over Parliament House and the Australian War Memorial at Yarralumla Play Station
Yarralumla Play Station was the first mini golf course to open up, after new owners took over the Weston Park Railway property in 2014. They gave the miniature trains a facelift, updated the café, incorporated party trains and then opened up the mini golf course in late 2015 - and not just any mini golf course either. This spacious property has two 18 hole courses, with one of them incorporating miniature versions of Canberra's landmarks to traverse and putt over. Send the ball flying through the AIS, around Telstra Tower, over Parliament House and up to the Australian War Memorial. There are some challenging trick shots up ramps and through tunnels, which will challenge any mini golfer. With cockatoos and rosellas in the trees, kangaroos grazing by the lakeside and the occasional toot of the miniature train, it is relaxing way to spend an hour or two, less than 10 minutes from the city. See here for Yarralumla Play Centre website and prices. For an article on Yarralumla Play Station, see here.
Cost: Children (15 and under) $10, Adults $14, Family $40.
Jungle Glow-In-The-Dark Mini Golf was the next mini golf course to open up a few months later at the end of 2015. This indoor mini golf course is located inside the Power Kart Raceway in Griffith, so you can also hear the roar of the go karts on the track and enjoy all the other family activities on offer. The mini golf is located in a separate, darkened area at the back of the large warehouse, with fleuro paint all around the course which glows in the dark in a jungle theme. It takes awhile for your eyes to adjust, before taking on the challenges of each hole. A favourite challenge for many is the hole which has a metal grate over a light shining up, so you are blinded whilst trying to putt over the wobbly surface - a true challenge. It can get hot if there are too many people playing, so go early to avoid the rush. See here for the Jungle Mini Golf website and prices. For an article on Jungle Mini Golf, see here.
Cost: Children (14 and under) $8, Adults (15 plus) $12, Family $35.
Adjust your eyes for Jungle Glow-In-The-Dark Mini Golf
Mini Golf King at the Canberra Outlet Centre in Fyshwick was the last to open, just a few months ago (at the time of writing) in September, 2016. This indoor mini golf course is another handy all-weather alternative, where you can hit the shops afterwards to celebrate or commiserate. This course is the most creative out of the three, in my opinion, although they all have features that ensure a great day out. If you love surprises such as moving mummies, spooky noises and holes that make you ask "Where exactly is the hole?", then why not give Mini Golf King a try. As the location is inside a shopping centre, they have packed a lot into every corner of space making it somewhat squeezy, or just very cosy - depending on how you look at it. This fun venue is also ideal for a group of teenagers, couples, or adults playing for fun as it opens late into the night (and some holes are quite hard!). See here for the Mini Golf King website and prices. For an article on Mini Golf King, see here.
Cost: Children (15 and under) $10, Concession $12, Adults $15, Family Pass $40.
When playing mini golf, I personally enjoy the banter, laughs, high fives and the good natured mocking, that the game brings. It is also amusing to watch other families and friends play their games, with some entertaining characters in every group. Who hogs the red pencil and scorecard when you play? Which person keeps getting that fluke hole-in-one shot that just isn't possible? Who celebrates with a happy dance that makes everyone laugh? Playing mini golf brings out the best in (almost!) everyone - except for the occasional expletive when a shot is missed. Or when a skeleton starts to shake when you least expect it...