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Last updated 15 January 2020
Day trips from Perth
There are many day trips from Perth that making a choice of which one to do when you are visiting for only a short time is difficult. As part of a recent Western Australia road trip with Scenic tours, our final day was a free choice day, a day to choose what we would like to do. Did I want to do a full-day trip into the incredible Pinnacles, or get a selfie with a Quokka on Rottnest Island? The answer was definitely yes, but one person can’t split themselves into many pieces. It was going to have to be a “fear of missing out” moment, as I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit the food and wine trail of the Swan Valley.
Where is the Swan Valley?
Unlike its more famous counterpart, the Margaret River, the Swan Valley flies well and truly under the radar. However, that doesn’t mean it should play second fiddle. The Swan Valley, located just 25 minutes from the Perth CBD is a bountiful paradise of great food and wine producers and artisans. It’s also a haven for artists, chocolatiers and beer brewers. There’s plenty of history too with towns like Guildford along the way. All in all, it’s a 32-kilometre loop of some of the best fresh food producers in Western Australia. It’s the perfect day trip from Perth.
Fittingly for those who require a morning heart starter, the first stop on the Swan Valley food tour was Yahava Koffeeworks. At one of Western Australia’s most popular destinations, you can take part in a coffee tasting, roasted fresh onsite daily. At the large wooden tasting benches, we learned about their roasting processes and the sources of their coffee, whilst trying some of the local brews.
As the non-coffee drinker, I had a tasty cup of hot chocolate whilst the others in the group sampled the chocolate coated coffee beans. There’s also an excellent shop inside selling all kinds of coffee-related paraphernalia, and a cafe as well where you can enjoy more of the coffees you’ve sampled. By the time I left, I had already contributed three items to my shopping bag.
4752 West Swan Road West Swan WA 6055
At Windarra Honey, we meet with owners Phil and Liz Sammut and get an up close and personal experience with their bees. Phil is the beekeeper and Liz the front of house and sales liaison. There’s no better way to work out which honey is your preference than dipping in a spoon and tasting the golden liquid. There is a range of sizes of the honey in stock where you can buy directly from those who make it. I couldn’t resist and added another product to my bag.
5 George St West Swan WA 6055
Australian native food tasting
Aboriginal owned and operated Maalinup Gallery is a unique stop on the Swan Valley food and wine trail. As well as the location for cultural events and activities, they have some of the best indigenous art and hand made products I have ever seen. But, since this is a food tour, we were here to try some native bush tucker food. These were ok, but I would rather return and try the foods out when the owners start to produce their own, rather than something that isn’t currently theirs.
10080 West Swan Rd Henley Brook WA 6055
Ice cream tasting
Oggie’s Ice Creamery (named after a dog) is the place to go to for ice cream in the Swan Valley. For 10 years, Oggie’s has been keeping locals and visitors happy with over 60 flavours of ice cream. Go inside and say hello, and get a few samples of the icy treats that lie behind the counter. On this occasion, the apple pie concoction was my favourite. So much so, that I will be making my own version at home.
10581 West Swan Rd Henley Brook WA 6055
Swan Valley wine tours are plentiful in this area, so it was great to have a wine tasting included in this food tour. It was one visit though where I wished we had a longer stay. Instead, we did a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants tasting, ploughing our way through half a dozen whites, then some reds and some wonderful liqueurs. As tempted as I was to buy a few of the Windy Creek Estate wines, I settled on a bottle of Shiraz liqueur which was extremely tasty. The Vermentino and Pinot Gris was also delightful and so fresh on a hot Perth day.
The great thing about this winery is that they deliver all over Australia, so I grabbed an order form on my way out.
Windy Creek Estate
27 Stock Road Herne Hill WA 6056
Morish Nuts. It’s a name synonymous with Western Australia and a must-do when visiting Perth. It’s called Morish for a very good reason. Their range of nuts is incredible, with the entire shop filled with such things as caramel-coated cashews, wasabi macadamias and a hot and spicy mix. There’s praline, peanut crunch and nougat too, all in their identifiable striped packaging. There’s plenty to taste here and I can guarantee, you’ll find something to take home with you. This time around, I bought some praline crunch that will go nicely in homemade ice cream.
640 Great Northern Highway Herne Hill WA 6056
Right next door to Morish Nuts is Mondo Nougat and Chocolate. Mondo competes with Morish Nuts for range, with a large number of different types of nougat on display. There’s also some very nice gelato here too.
Mondo Nougat is a local success story. Founder Alfonso Romeo migrated from Italy to Australia along with his wife and sons. As is always the case with Italian families, they loved to cook and soon they became known for their cakes. Their first foray into business, Mondo Patisserie was a great success and later, after having found a demand for their nougat, decided to focus solely on its production. After operating out of several locations over the years, the Swan Valley is now home to the Mondo Nougat factory and a cafe. All three sons are involved in the business.
640 Great Northern Highway Herne Hill WA 6056
Operating for over 40 years Whistler’s Chocolate Company is a generational business, with traditional recipes handed down over the years. Here you can visit their cafe, or roam amongst the huge chocolate displays, whilst tasting some along the way.
Whistler’s Chocolate Co
506 Great Northern Highway Middle Swan WA 6056
Juice and cider tasting
The Swan Valley food and wine tour was always going to come to an end, and what better way to do so than with a juice and cider tasting. There was a good vibe as we entered the Iron Bark Brewery, home of Funk Cider, the brainchild of the Michael Brothers.
Raised in a farming environment, they grew up with hands-on knowledge of what it was like to farm and produce great produce and products that came directly from the farm. They developed a range of fresh fruit juice without sugar and preservatives. It’s also cold-pressed, setting it apart from many other juices. All fruit is also purchased from local Western Australian farmers.
On the back of their juice success, in 2016 they also established Funk Cider. Not only are there unusual flavours such as pineapple (my favourite) and ginger. Using the same philosophy as their juice, the fruit for the cider is cold-pressed, unpasteurised and free of preservatives.
55 Benara Rd Caversham WA 6055
Who are Taste Bud Tours?
Owner Loris Harding is an award-winning stalwart of the Western Australian tourism industry and has lived and worked in the Swan Valley for 20 years. Unlike other food tours in the Swan Valley, Taste Bud Tours offers a unique style of “speed grazing”. Here, Loris guides her guests around many of the local producers, in a whirlwind tour. There are no long lunches here. or mooching over a glass of wine. Instead, the tour is fast-paced in order to allow the guests to visit as many Swan Valley producers as possible.
With a long history in the area, Loris provides a running commentary on the bus both en route to the Swan Valley and in between stops.
What does the cost of the tour cover?
- Half-day tour – no early pickup or late returns so you can enjoy the best of the day
- Small group tours with a maximum of 16 people
- Meet some of the producers of the local products you will taste
- Map of the Swan Valley food and wine trail
- Drinking water
- Reusable shopping bag to store your purchases during the day
- Samples at all locations
- Transport to and from the pickup location in Perth CBD (must be pre-arranged)
- Guide and driver
- VIP card providing discounts during the day and from participating producers even when you return home
Tips for the food and wine tour
- Bring your stamina. It’s quite a busy day. You’ll be on and off the bus quite a lot and in and out of the venues. You’ll be tasting and talking to the local producers the whole time.
- Wear comfortable clothing and shoes. Whilst you aren’t required to do any long walks or walk on difficult terrain, wearing comfortable attire will be useful.
- The guide will speak via a microphone on the bus to allow everyone to hear but if you have difficulty hearing, sit up the front.
- The tour bus is wheelchair accessible and the company also looks after guests with mobility issues very well.
- Consider packing some bubble wrap to take with you if you are a visitor to Perth and plan on buying goodies in the Swan Valley. I ended up flying home with quite a lot of glass bottles so the bubble wrap always comes in handy. On that note, if you plan to fly and buy, make sure you have enough luggage allowance to get it all back home.
- Book online and pre-arrange your pickup from one of the selected hotels to make the day go even more smoothly.
The Swan Valley is such a great place to visit and whilst taking a food and wine tour is great, there’s also plenty to do under your own steam. Trails WA, in conjunction with Tourism WA, produces these amazing mini-guides to satisfy every interest. They provide a trusty map with all relevant producers and businesses in the area and can be picked up at almost every business in the entire Swan Valley.
How to get to the Swan Valley
As a guest aboard Taste Bud Tours, I was picked up with other guests from our Perth CBD hotel and taken directly to Swan Valley. For those who don’t want to do a dedicated tour, self-driving is the best option.
Trains operate from Perth to Guildford at the southern end of the Swan Valley loop. From here, however, you would need to consider a taxi or Uber. Bike tours and other organised tours also operate from the Guildford station.
There are also bicycle trails that run around the loop as well.
Where to stay in Perth
I stayed at the Pan Pacific Hotel in Perth, right in the heart of the CBD and closeby the Swan River. There is easy access to buses from here, as well as Elizabeth Bay and the broader city area.
Perth has many hotels and apartments to suit all budgets, both in the city and near the beach. Staying at Fremantle is also worth considering, as access to Perth is easy by road or rail. If you are planning on spending a few days in the Swan Valley, there are also some good accommodation options here.
For all Perth accommodation options, you can book directly on Trip Advisor
The Taste Bud Tours visit through the Swan Valley food trail was a Free Choice activity, included as part of their South-West Mosaic itinerary.