Western Australia's oldest wine region is a patchwork of grapevines and galleries, cellar doors, breweries and produce stalls, all within easy reach of Perth. Taste more than 180 years of winemaking and choose from 150 attractions on a gentle, 32 kilometre loop drive around the region.
The Swan Valley is a 30-minute drive from Perth city centre. Many tours will take you there and back. You can do guided tasting tours via river cruise, kayak, limousine, private car, bus and even horse-drawn wagon – or, go on a self-led adventure.
The region hosts a hotbed of artisanal makers. Forget the shiny cellar doors and linen napkin service common to high-end wine regions; this is where you’ll find coffee roasters hauling hessian sacks of beans, gin distillers applying bottle labels, restaurant owners hand-picking asparagus and winemakers pouring tastings in between checking barrels. You’ll notice a delightfully unpolished style that delivers an authentic experience - it comes from much of the valley being family-owned and run. Even at the grander wineries, such as Mandoon Estate and Sandalford Wines, there’s a sense of relaxed inclusiveness. It’s what makes the Swan Valley special.
In recent times, a host of boutique breweries, cider houses and distilleries have made the Valley home. New arrivals, Bailey Brewing Co and Funk 2.0 by Funk Cider join multi award-winning Old Young’s, Harris Organic Wine and Spirits, Sin Gin Distillery, Mash Brewing and more.
Art peeks between the drinking and dining venues. Aboriginal owned-and-operated Maalinup Aboriginal Gallery is a highlight, as is the little-known Gomboc Gallery Sculpture Park.
Being a diverse place for all-ages, there’s also koala holding and kangaroo feeding at Caversham Wildlife Park, found inside Whiteman Park, where there are vintage train rides and playgrounds. See live (contained) bees at The House of Honey, indulge at Whistler’s Chocolate Company and stock up at Mondo Nougat Factory.