Think gourmet goods, local wine and unique regional art amongst the fresh valley air and pretty vistas, all a short drive away. The charming Swan valley has something to keep everyone in the family happy, grab a handful of chocolate drops from the Chocolate Factory, a tasting paddle from an award winning cider house or sit amongst the vineyards with a picnic.
The Swan Valley is a half-hour road trip from Perth and is renowned as ‘wine country’. Home to more than 40 wineries, some of them third- and fourth-generation, the region also houses five breweries, two distilleries, countless purveyors of gourmet artisan goods, handcrafted wares, bustling markets and vibrant artists’ studios.
The region has experienced something of a renaissance in recent times. These days, the Swan Valley is a growing gourmet hub, featuring more than 50 restaurants and cafes that tempt the tastebuds, and local producers who craft everything from exquisite extra virgin olive oils, marinated olives and tapenades, to dried fruits, pickles and preserves, handmade chocolates, fudges, truffles, ice-cream, honey and nougat. Steeped in Indigenous and Mediterranean migration history, offset by a new wave of creative visionaries, the Swan Valley retains a rustic charm and abundance while blossoming into a gentrified region.
1. Captain James Stirling was impressed when he first surveyed the Swan Valley in 1827, writing in this diary, “the richness of the soil, the bright foliage of the shrubs, the majesty of the surrounding trees, the abrupt and red colour banks of the river occasionally seen, and the view of the blue mountains, from which we were not far distant, made the scenery of this spot as beautiful as anything of the kind I have ever witnessed.”
2. The Swan Valley is deceptively compact, requiring an hour to circumnavigate. Most people take a day to meander the scenic 32km Swan Valley Food & Wine Trail, and its 150-plus attractions.
3. In 2014, the RSPCA named the Swan Valley the first Humane Food Region in Australia. The initiative is a regional commitment to healthier, high-quality, tastier food based on the ethical treatment and welfare of animals, and is supported by 30 local restaurants and cafes. Stay Treat yourself to an overnight stopover in the valley. Snuggle down in a chalet, with grapes growing outside your window, channel your inner opulence at a golf resort, get spoilt in a rustic bed and breakfast, or experience waking up with the animals on a real working farm.
The Swan Valley is only 25 minutes from Perth, and the second-closest wine region to any capital city in the world. Public transport to the valley is limited, so self-drive is best. Take the Great Eastern Highway, 13km from Perth CBD, and turn left at the sign for Guildford. The next best alternative is the train: take the Midland Line from Perth Underground Station to either Guildford or East Guildford station.
Did you know?
In 2014, the Swan Valley celebrated 180 years of winemaking. Its first commercial vintage was released in 1834 by Thomas Waters of Olive Farm, making it the oldest winemaking region in the state, and the second oldest in Australia, behind the Hunter Valley.