Swan Valley, only a short drive or river cruise to the east, makes for a great daytrip and getaway.
Guildford, regarded as the gateway to Swan Valley, is situated just some twenty minutes east of the city of Perth. This small town, established in 1829 on an island between the Helena and Swan Rivers has been classified by the National Trust, protecting its heritage and buildings.
You can explore this historical town on foot, they have three heritage walks that take you past the many charming buildings, gardens and places that played a part in the development of Western Australia. There are also a number of antique shops and art galleries worth exploring.
There are plenty of cafés and restaurants in Guildford, serving food made from fresh local produce from the region. Swan Valley produces notable wines and there are 4 micro-breweries operating here as well, brewing ales and beers made from unique and time tested recipes.
In fact, wine has been made here since the 1830s, there are numerous wineries here dotting the valley, including Houghton and Sandalford. Many of them have cellar doors where you can try and buy samples, some of the wineries even have gourmet restaurants with extensive wine lists.
Another way to explore this charming valley and all it has to offer is take one of the gourmet tours and river cruises you can take from Perth. This saves worrying about how you can get back, there are strict drink driving laws throughout Australia.
They take in one or more of the wineries on the Swan River and will get you chances to try some of the boutique beers made here. Many of the cruises take off from Barrack Street Jetty, Perth. You can of course, enjoy the valley and river with a self drive tour with its close proximity to Perth.
The Swan River is regarded as one of the oldest rivers in the world. Running over the same path it has run for millions of years, starting in the Darling Ranges and ending where it does now, at Fremantle and the Indian Ocean.
There are two beaches on the Swan River itself, both are popular, Crawley Beach and Peppermint Grove Beach. In the estuary of the river, you can find good opportunities for fishing and around Fremantle.
Midland is the commercial centre of Swan Valley. See the Greater Perth Surrounds Map (near the airport.) There are trains available to both Guildford and Midland, contact Transperth Infoline Tel 13 62 13 for more info and timetables.
Proclaimed a National Park in 1947 and the first in Western Australia, John Forrest National Park, in the Darling Ranges, has been a popular getaway from Perth since the early 1900s. Offering grand views of the Swan coastal plain and the city, there are some wonderful walks here through wilderness to waterfalls and pools.
The John Forrest Heriage walk takes in part of the old railway line. To get to the park, simply head east from Perth on the Great Eastern Highway, about 30 mins drive.
For more information about Swan Valley, its places to visit, things to do and accommodation, you can contact the Swan Valley Visitor Centre - Phone +061 8 9379 9400.
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