Swan Valley, Perth
If you love wine, then a day trip out to our famous Swan Valley should be at the top of your list of must do's. It's also good for beer drinkers and chocolate addicts too :o) The Swan Valley is not far at all from Perth (you can pick up info at the Tourist Information Centre and a map as well) and there are loads of choices for day trips. My favourite is the Captain Cook cruise. They have a full day tour and a half day one. I would totally recommend this way to do the trip to our famous Swan Valley! Here's a pic of janebellinoz (Jane from London) and me at our first tasting in the Swan Valley.
The Swan Valley is only a 20 minute drive away from the Perth CBD. It is an area filled with wineries, galleries,fabulous restaurants and boutique producers of gourmet goodies and fresh produce. It is a great area to spend a couple of days or even a week at a hotel or bed and breakfast. Some examples of the wares on offer, wineries,breweries and restaurants include: The Margaret River Chocolate Company, Oggies Icecreamery, Edgecombe preserves, Chesters, Lamonts, Sitella,Houghtons, Sandalford,Feral Brewery and much more(see website). We stayed at the Grandis Cottages and had a wonderful time.
The Swan Valley is approx 0.5hr from Perth by car. It's also easily accessible by public transport (train or bus) or by river boat. There are around 30 wineries in the valley and most have cellar door sales and also serve food. Have lots of fun tasting the different types of wines, beer, chocos, cheese..take your time to browse, taste, buy and sit down for a meal. There are also places for picnic, golf, canoeing, horseriding etc. Fresh produce stalls, art galleries, wildlife attractions, accommodation are many. Pop by the Swan Valley & Eatern Region Visitor Centre (Cnr Swan and Meadow Sts Guildford, Tel: 08 9379 9400, open daily 9am-4pm, email: firstname.lastname@example.org) for a copy of the food and wine trail map and info on the variety of food and wine experiences on offer.
I was lucky to be there during the 'Spring in the Swan Valley' festival (8-9 Oct 2005). We had a really great time tasting all the wines/beers and got really sloshed. Being high on alcohol and great music..we threw all inhibitions in the wind and boogied away.
The upper reaches of the Swan River are a great place to head for a day out from the city. With its vineyards, galleries, restaurants, breweries, historic sites and more there is more than enough to bring you back again and again. There are lots of companies offering a variety of wine tasting tours - which means you can drink and not have to drive - or you can drive yourself around and explore the place at your own pace.
Jane Brook winery, one of the oldest in the valley, makes good wines, a delicious white port and a fabulous Tokay. Why not start with a tasting here followed by a leisurely lunch - cheese, pate, olives, dips, bread and more on a platter to share, all produced here in the Valley - out on the deck overlooking the pretty little brook that gave the vineyard its name. After lunch you can then take a walk through the vines either to the vineyard next door for more tasting, or across the meadow to the Gomboc Gallery where you will find a garden full of sculptures, the work of Ron Gomboc and other fine local sculptors. The exhibitions in the gallery itself feature the work of both leading Western Australian artists, such as Robert Juniper and exciting young and new talent.
There's a few ways to go through the wine experience.
If you're not constrained by budget (more than AUD100) and time, cruise along the Swan River and enjoy a sumptuous meal with of course wines to go along.
Otherwise can also opt to have the chance to blend and make your own wine. This includes the winery tour and enjoying up with lunch. About AUD75 per pax.
Ours was the simplest. It was a private wine tasting experience at the backyard. The guide explained the various types of wines that go with the types of food.