Located a short hop, skip and jump from the Perth Metro – the Swan Valley is seriously emerging as a top region for all things food and drink. Gone of the days of large-scale wineries, the Swan Valley now has a seemingly neverending list of micro-breweries, distilleries, artisan markets and fresh produce businesses all up for grabs. While en route, there is also a bunch of new and emerging art and antique stalls, custom bike trails, walks alongside waterfalls and animal farms (for those with kids).
There are so many reasons why this region attracts big crowds over the spring months, so we thought we’d help in your planning with a guide to all the very best things to do. As one of our most requested destinations in Perth, the Swan Valley has seriously elevated in recent years and is the perfect day trip for groups large and small.
Sample the Swan Valley’s Best Wine and Cellar Doors
Swan Valley has a long list of wineries, all opening their cellar doors for some very affordable tasting experiences. You’ll also most likely encounter the owners who will passionately take you through each and even variation on offer. In 2022, the Lamont family recently revamped their cellar door with a new menu complete with local parfait, brie cheeses and local figs. Here you can enjoy a complimentary tasting on the house if a bottle is purchased, and is a fantastic addition to any Swan Valley weekender. If this isn’t enough, another option to tack on before or after is Olive Farms. Their premium wines include sparking, white, red and fortified styles, and the best bit is the owners are more than happy to take you through the vineyard as part of a 90-minute guided tour to learn how the famous wine is made.
Experience a Distillery Tasting Tour
The Swan Valley doesn’t just serve up premium wines, it’s also becoming quickly famous for a variety of spirits too. This includes whisky, gin, and vodka and is thanks to a select few experimenting with different distilling methods. First off the bat is Old Young Distillery which is award winning gin maker and seriously pushes the envelope with their 6 seasons gin which pays homage to the local indigenous culture and their 6 season calendar. Also, another big hitter that has just opened their doors in the Swan Valley is Ginversity and Limeburners. Here you can experience an 100% gluten-free dining menu complete with a range of spirits. For a complete distillery walking trail, check out our guide.
Make Your Own Cheese
Cheese is a huge staple in the Swan Valley region, and thanks to our friends at the Cheese Maker, you can now learn how to make it from scratch. You’ll first learn how all the cheeses are made and preserved before giving them a go yourself, where you’ll make ricotta, halloumi and feta (just to name a few). The team will also leave you well equipped with a take-home guide for you to make some at home yourself. This is the perfect afternoon activity and supports local businesses at the same time.
Learn How Bees Produce Our Favourite Honey
Staying on the theme of produce classes, another fantastic experience that could also be combined with cheese making is learning how to bottle your own honey. Discover first-hand the world of bee-keeping and all the possible products our favourite buzzing friends can create. The team at House of Honey offer tours where you’ll chat to a real bee-keeper and learn how to establish a bee hive in your backyard. Then you’ll spend some time in the production room learning about how the honey is created and bottled. Finally, the beeswax will take centre stage, where you’ll try your luck at making your own candles. Final note – this activity is pretty popular and is also kid-friendly, so we recommend booking in advance.
Witness the Rushing Water at Bells Rapid
For the more adventurous types, hiking Bells Rapids is an awesome start to the day before hitting a winery for lunch for a much-deserved rest. The 4.5km walk is moderately challenging and best visited at the start of spring when the water is well and truly flowing still thanks to the winter rain, all the wildflowers are in bloom, and the weather is starting to warm up. On lead, dogs are welcomed on the path, too. There are also a few other longer hikes that can be taken if you have more pep in your step. Head to the City of Swan website, which has all the routes mapped out for you.
Brew your Best Barista Espresso at a Coffee Masterclass
For those budding at-home baristas, this one is for you. The guys at Yahava coffee offer masterclasses that take you through all the steps to perfect the at-home brew. They offer courses for all skill levels and include everything from brewing methods, espresso knowledge, milk texturing, alternative milk and how to operate various machines. You’ll be well and truly up with the tricks of the trade.
Learn How to Make the Perfect Nougat
For those that don’t know – Nougat is one of the oldest standing confectionaries. The team at Mondo Nougat in the Swan Valley are somewhat of an institution that certainly knows what they are talking about when it comes to this traditional sweet. Masterclasses are on offer here that include a deep dive into the process, how to pick flavours and toppings and, more importantly – a chance to make some yourself.
Get Lost in a Giant Maze
If you are travelling with kiddos or a huge kid at heart, getting lost in a giant maze might be the perfect activity for your Swan Valley adventure. Located within Outback Splash, there are over 6 on offer. If you choose to visit in the hotter months, we also recommend capitalising on mini-golf and some pretty exhilarating water slides. This one is our top pick for those with kids.
Cruise the Swan River on route to the Swan Valley
A little-known fact is that it’s actually possible to cruise the Swan River to the Swan Valley. Captain Cook Cruises offer up a number of itineraries such as a ‘Taste of the Swan’, where you’ll cruise the river with a fully-fledged 3-course meal and wine tastings. For those that have some venue reservations on land, these guys also just have transfers and can customise itineraries to suit your group.
Explore the Swan Settlers Market
Rounding off the list is getting lost in the Swan Valley Settlers Markets. Showcasing all the very best artisan designs and artists – this is the perfect spot to secure some unique gifts. There is a never ending list of fresh produce options for lunch and local designers such as Kevill’s Home and Garden, Mishme’s Novelty Pots, and Nelly’s Art’s and Crafts. All in all, this is a very wholesome activity with many passionate designs who are always open for a chat.
The Swan Valley region has really elevated in recent years and broadened its repertoire to include a big list of interactive classes, artisan markets, top-ranked wineries and local distilleries. It now sits firmly on the list of things to do in Perth! If you’d like to combine some of the activities above and don’t want to designate a driver for your large group, we can sort your transport. We can customise an itinerary for you with a driver and air-con buses. Chat with our bookings team today.