There are more than a few good reasons why the Swan Valley is a favourite day trip destination for Perth locals and visitors alike.
It’s Western Australia’s oldest wine region; it’s just a 25-minute drive from the capital; and it’s home to plenty of world-class wineries. However, there’s much more to experience in the Valley, so hire a car or book a tour and away you go.
Here are ten of the best things to do in the Swan Valley.
Thanks to its climate and rich soils, the Swan Valley provides quality fresh produce all year round. From humble roadside stalls to fine dining restaurants like Mandoon Estate, there’s no shortage of ways to indulge your inner foodie. Download a map and follow the new Fresh Seasonal Produce Trail to buy direct from the grower, or fill your basket with gourmet goodies such as Australian-style nougat from Mondo Nougat, infused honey from The House of Honey, and preserves and olive oil from Providore.
In addition to the Fresh Seasonal Produce Trail, there are several other themed roads to ramble including the Wine, Art and Off the Beaten Track Trail, the Bush Tucker and Beyond Trail, and the Kids in the Valley Trail — which will keep the little ones happy, with stops along the way at the irresistible Swan Valley Cuddly Animal Farm, Vines Mini Golf and Oggie’s Ice Creamery, to name just a few. Alternatively, abandon the car and enjoy some fresh air on the Swan Valley Cycle Trail or one of the many walking tracks through natural bushland and parks.
Go wild while you’re in the valley! Young and old will love the chance to see, stroke and get a photo taken with all kinds of cuddly (and not so cuddly) critters at places such as Caversham Wildlife Park, Swan Valley Cuddly Animal Farm, the Western Australian Reptile Park and Whiteman Park. Choose from a variety of encounters and activities such as feeding a kangaroo, riding a camel, milking a goat or even petting a python!
Ever fancied yourself as the next Heston Blumenthal? Perhaps you’re a wannabe winemaker, or just wondering how to make that perfect flat white? Well, find out if you’ve got what it takes with the selection of masterclasses offered in the Swan Valley. Learn to make macarons with the experts at French-style patisserie Maison Saint-Honore, create an original blend at Sandalford Wines, or get your barista on at Yahava’s Koffee Academy. To create something longer lasting, put yourself behind the potter’s wheel with a lesson at the Guildford Village Potters’ Club.
Established in 1829, Guildford was one of the first towns in the Swan River Colony and is the gateway to the Swan Valley. To learn more of the backstory, visit museums such as Cradle of the Colony, follow a heritage walking trail, or wander the antique strip on James Street and discover treasures from Curio Warehouse, Retrofind or quirky Dr Russell’s Imaginarium. Don’t forget to make time for tea at the Guildford Village Tearooms or lunch at WA’s oldest operating hotel — the atmospheric Rose and Crown.
The Swan Valley may be synonymous with wine, but did you know that it’s also popular with lovers of craft beer? With no less than six boutique breweries, you may have a hard time choosing where to pop in for a paddle. Elmar’s in the Valley and the Duckstein Brewery boast a German flavour, while Ironbark Brewery (which also makes seasonal ciders) produces a variety of styles from around the world. Even well-known wine producers Mandoon Estate are getting in on the action with their new Homestead Brewery.
From painters to potters, the Swan Valley is home to some of the state’s most talented artisans. See sculptures at Gombok Gallery’s indoor space or outdoor sculpture park, or admire local Indigenous art at Maalinup Aboriginal Gallery. And if you’re a lover of linocut prints and textiles, Jude Taylor’s studio showcases her beautiful work inspired by West Australian flora.
Whether its picnicking in parks or strolling by streams, the Valley has plenty of wonderful natural spaces to enjoy. Whiteman Park and Middle Swan Reserve are perfect for families to rest and play, while walking trails at Bell’s Rapids or Noble Falls allow you to go with the flow of the landscape. Spring is the perfect time to visit, when the stunning wildflowers are on display.
It’s easy to soothe body, mind and spirit in the Swan Valley. If you’re in need of a little pampering, Brookleigh Beauty and Spa tempts with luxurious day spa treatments, or three and five-day health retreats with a French Chateau-style stay. There’s also the more rustic, yet equally lovely, Swan Valley Retreat — which offers nine styles of massage. Located at the Novotel Vines Resort, you can let your worries drift away with a float in a pod at Float Swan Valley, or pop next door to Keishi Day Spa. Tara Yoga in nearby Ellenbrook offers a variety of classes and a sound healing meditation session.
Last but not least, who could visit the Valley without finding time to drop in to one of its award-winning wineries? Choose from large established producers like Houghton Wines or Sandalford (where you can even arrive by river cruise from Perth), or opt for a boutique experience at Sittella. A sold out event during November’s Gourmet Escape food and wine festival will see head chef Mike Price teaming up with British celebrity chef and restaurateur, Marco Pierre White.
Do you have any suggestions to add to our list of the best things to do in the Swan Valley? We would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below.
Additional images: Bigstock
Bonita Grima is a Perth-based freelance travel writer with a background in television and radio production in Australia and the United Kingdom. She believes travel to be a powerful tool that can challenge, inspire, educate and encourage empathy by providing a window into the worlds of others. After years of living and exploring overseas, she is now back in Perth, rediscovering and enjoying the West Australian lifestyle and all that it offers. When not working on a story, you’ll find her at the beach, on a hiking trail, drinking great coffee, discovering what’s new about town, and dreaming up her next adventure!