Perth’s Valley of Taste

The City of Swan

The City of Swan boasts a world of surprises and offers a bounty of unforgettable events and experiences, located in the picturesque Swan Valley, just a twenty-five minute drive from the centre of Perth and ten minutes away from Perth Airport.
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Historic Guildford provides the gateway to the Swan Valley, one of the three towns established during the founding of the Swan River Colony in 1829.

The Swan Valley covers a 1 044 square kilometre area and is comprised of a variety of residential, commercial, industrial and rural spaces, characterised by growing suburban areas, national parks and reserves, and a number of heritage sites of both European and Aboriginal significance – one of the many reasons for the Swan Valley’s significant tourist draw.

A thriving economic hub, the Swan Valley region and the City of Swan continue to build on their natural strengths to provide infrastructure and services to support their growing population and tourism base. With an estimated population of 124 782, the City of Swan is expected to double in population by 2036. According to research conducted by Patterson Research Group for the City of Swan, the Swan Valley attracts 2.1 million day visitors a year, generating $284 million in expenditures.

The Swan Valley has taken great efforts to find balance as the area has grown, highlighting its rich history while simultaneously building upon its beautiful and diverse natural endowments. The Swan Valley is unique as it has been able to blend its indigenous roots with its later history of colonial pioneers and Southern European settlers, creating a truly wonderful place to live and visit.

The area has been inhabited for over 40 000 years by the Noongar Aboriginal People of the Wadjuk tribe, the traditional land owners. As the City of Swan’s Mayor Charlie Zannino explains in the City’s promotional material, “Sites of continuous human habitation of this time scale have not been found anywhere else in the world.” The Noongar people have an origin story for the Swan Valley, believing that the Dreamtime serpent, the Wagyl, once travelled across the country, carving out the Swan Valley and Swan River along the way, before retreating into the depths of the Swan River, where many believe the Wagyl still lives to this day.

Indeed, the Swan Valley offers a variety of activities, events and entertainment for every demographic including attractions and tours, access to wildlife, pristine picnic areas, nature trails and playgrounds, farm experiences, and a number of culinary indulgences just waiting to be discovered.

The Mayor also identifies that, “The Swan Valley has a unique Croatian influence that puts it alongside other ethnically driven wine producing regions in Australia, like the German influenced Barossa Valley and the Italian influenced Riverland.” The Swan Valley’s strong Southern European background, including Croatian and Southern Italian, has made it “the birthplace of viticulture in Western Australia.” This year, in fact, the region will celebrate 180 years of winemaking, making it the oldest winemaking region in Western Australia and the second oldest in the country. The warm climate helps the region produce some of the world’s best speciality premium wines such as chenin blancs, verdelho, shiraz, and the finest fortitudes.

The first commercial vintage was released in 1834, by Thomas Waters of Olive Farm Winery, which is still in operation to this day. Winemaking in the Swan Valley is characterised by many third and fourth generation boutique, family-owned wineries. Table grapes have been produced in the area since 1829 and remain a major industry in the area.

The region’s many wineries, restaurants, galleries, shops and trails are waiting to be discovered by coach, cruise, and bicycle, and even by limousine, helicopter and horse-drawn wagon. “The region’s winemaking heritage remains strong, but today the Swan Valley is also known for its award winning handcrafted beers and spirits,” according to the city’s website.

Of the visitors, many of whom are day-trippers from Perth, 63 per cent of people come to eat, while 43 per cent come for wine tasting activities, up from 48 per cent and 24 per cent in 2009, respectively. Though 86 per cent of expenditures were made on food and 47 per cent on wine, 32 per cent of people visited the region for family-oriented fun.

The presence of over forty wineries and many world-class restaurants and cafés is a testament to the Swan Valley region’s longstanding commitment to quality and taste. To showcase the region’s remarkable flavours, events like Oktoberfest and Viva Verdelho are held, as well as the award winning Swan Valley Food and Wine Trail.

The 32 kilometre Swan Valley Food and Wine Trail is a scenic loop leading to a number of wineries, breweries, distilleries, restaurants, cafés, arts, crafts and fresh produce. With a number of events pairing the region’s finest brews and speciality wines with culinary masterpieces from local chefs, it is no wonder that visitors leave satisfied, vowing to return.

Leading the way and setting the standard for quality in food service and production, going beyond the minimum standards that have been established by law, the City of Swan, and the RPSCA WA, led by ambassadors who are local, notable and passionate chefs, Swan Valley has become a Humane Food Region, developing a program intended on freeing farm animals from cruel farming practices. As Australia’s very first Humane Food Region, thanks to these efforts and initiatives locals and visitors alike can expect fresh, cage-free and free-range egg, meat and poultry options. Supported by 30 of the region’s restaurants and cafés, the program is expected to continue to grow, furthering the region’s commitment to quality and freshness.

The Swan Valley Visitor Centre is available seven days a week to help visitors make the most of their time in the Swan Valley, from helping to secure accommodations to booking tours, as well as addressing local area and retail queries, the Centre provides a one-stop shop for everything in and around the Swan Valley region, helping visitors discover the natural atmosphere and ambiance that the Swan Valley is proud to share.

“Stay overnight,” suggests the Mayor. “One day just isn’t enough to experience everything the region has to offer – bed and breakfasts, farm stays, resorts, motels, caravan parks, self-contained cottages, and chalets are just some of the accommodation styles available in the Swan Valley.”

Indeed, the Swan Valley Region has something for everyone thanks to the commitment and efforts of local leaders and community members, making the City of Swan and the Swan Valley region a great place to live, work and visit.

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June 21, 2018, 1:12 AM AEST