Visitors are spoilt for choice by the food, wine and stunning views that typify Swan Valley. There are plenty of ways to get involved in the region, and there is something delicious to suit every age and palate. Options aren’t however limited to just food and drink, with its wide-open spaces, vineyard vistas and plenty of fresh country air, the Swan Valley is the perfect place for a walk or cycle to take in the superb history of the region.
1. Take a flavoursome 25-stop ‘speed graze’ tour along the Swan Valley’s mouth-watering Food & Wine Trail.
2. Get up close and personal with Australia’s largest private collection of native animals, at Caversham Wildlife Park.
3. See a play at the Garrick Theatre. Built in 1853, it’s the longest-running amateur theatre in the state.
4. Challenge the champions with 18 holes of golf among the vines, watched intently by local kangaroos.
5. Get wet and wild at the Outback Splash activity park, home to the famous timber maze, and the brand new Hedge Maze.
6. Board a cruise in Perth and retrace Captain James Stirling’s epic 1827 journey along the Swan River to the Swan Valley.
7. History and motoring buffs will love the Revolutions Transport Heritage Museum, Motor Museum, and Tractor Museum at Whiteman Park.
8. Visit some of WA’s most historic cellar doors – Sandalford, Houghton Wines, John Kosovich, Talijancich and Twin Hill Wines are just a few.
9. Step back in time on a Guildford Heritage Walk Trail from the visitor centre, past heritage buildings, historic hotels and antique stores.
10. Take a course to unleash your inner barista, winemaker, chocolate-and-liqueur connoisseur, or cheesemaker.
The Swan Valley isn’t just for adults, it’s a great place to let the kids run off some steam, experience the valley’s nature, indulge in tasty treats and get involved in a fantastic variety of outdoor activities.
• Ride on a vintage bus, train or tram, and splash at the mini-waterpark, at 4000ha Whiteman Park. The park offers picnic grounds, playgrounds, bushwalks, a craft village, dog park, Children’s Forest and more.
• Laser tag, supa golf, paintballing and adventure mini-golf, and teen sumo-suit wrestling can all be found within a short walk on West Swan Road.
• Fish in the river by Barkers Bridge in Guildford.
• Watching bees make honey at Windarra Honey, and see Phil the beekeeper collecting it from the hive.
• Enjoy furry encounters at the valley’s animal wildlife parks and cuddly animal farms.
• Play it by ear – most wineries and breweries have safe-play areas for kids, some even provide pizza-making activities.
The James Street strip in historic Guildford is a great spot to pick up some antique wares. Buried among the boutiques you’ll discover an endless range of quaint and quirky retro and vintage collectibles, from glassware, ceramics and textiles, to fashion, home decor and knick-knacks.
Explore Aboriginal art
On West Swan Road you’ll find three fascinating galleries. At Djinda Kaal Aboriginal Art Gallery, artist Fiona Reidy shares how her ancestors, who were hunters and gatherers, lived off the land as nomadic people.The Yonga Boodjah Art Gallery offers the chance to meet an elder on a cultural tour. Observe the artist in residence, and create your own artwork to take home. Maalinup Aboriginal Gallery has bush-tucker tastings, interactive interpretive experiences, handcrafted gifts, and works of art by leading Indigenous artists.
Ogle Antonio Battistessa’s famous iron sculptures
Antonio Battistessa is known the world over as one of the great (and few remaining) metal forgers – and guess where his studio is? Don’t miss the chance to see imaginative masterpieces he’s created from iron, steel and copper, at Battistessa Studio in Herne Hill. Forging demonstrations are available for a fee.
Visit the largest sculpture park in the southern hemisphere
The works of Ron Gomboc, owner of Gomboc Gallery Sculpture Park, have been commissioned by the Sultan of Brunei and fans all over the world. A student of Guy Grey-Smith, Gomboc established the sculpture park in 1982 and it has become the largest in the southern hemisphere. Take the time to enjoy a stroll around the gorgeous grounds. Enter at St James Road.
Hit the trails
It’s tempting to frock up in your Sunday best on a Swan Valley outing, but don’t forget to throw your runners in the boot, because this region is the perfect place for a long hike or a gentle stroll. Power-walk all that delicious nougat and chocolate off on the John George walk trail. It follows the Swan River upstream from Woodbridge as it meanders past flood plains, towering gum-trees and lush green pastures. Or head to the 5.5km Bells Rapids, where the Avon and Swan rivers meet in the valley’s northern reaches. You can experience stunning panoramas from the hilltops, not to mention a 25m cascading waterfall and beautiful swimming holes where you can take a refreshing dip along the way.