The Swan Valley is an area that is in the north east part of metropolitan Perth. It is defined by the Swan River which passes through it, and the Darling Scarp which lies on its eastern boundary.
The Swan River was the main access for early access to the coastal plain between Fremantle and the hills that lay to the east of Perth. As a result, all very early European land holdings were aligned to the river. Guildford was established before Perth, and the valley had the earliest farms and founding families located in the area.
The area around Guildford and the Swan Valley was the location of some of the earliest settlements in Western Australia. Old wineries, old pubs and old churches give an idea of the history of the valley.
Starting from the Swan Valley Tourist information centre in Guildford (not far from the railway station), it is possible to do a round drive by proceeding north along West Swan Road, up to where it links with the Great Northern Highway, and back down to Midland or Guildford. The signs and maps indicate a large number of wineries, and other attractions and businesses along this route.
From Perth, take the train to Bassendean or Midland. These are the main railway stations near the valley, and they have connecting bus services into the valley.
By coach tour
Coach tours from Perth include winery visits for tastings, and stopping at various places for food and drink options. There is also a Hop on Hop off shuttle service that travels around the Swan Valley between Wednesday and Sunday, giving the opportunity to visit wineries without having to drive.
By river cruise
Leaving Perth, River cruise boats travel along the Swan Valley, and in most cases coincide with coach transport to various wineries. It is possible to go on a morning cruise, a coach winery tour, and a return cruise to Perth.
As most semi-rural areas in Australia, the car is the best vehicle to explore the Swan Valley.
- 1 Guildford. Perched on the banks of both the Swan Rives and Helena Rivers it is described as the gateway to the Swan Valley. Guildford is one of Western Australia's oldest settlements. While it has been absorbed into the Perth metropolitan area, it still retains its distinctiveness with many historical buildings and excellent pubs, restaurants and cafes. The whole of Guildford is now a designated heritage locality, with the quaint James St shopping strip being a good example of the streetscape of the older Guildford.
- 2 Swan Valley Visitor Centre, Corner Meadow and Swan Streets Guildford WA 6055, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 9am-4pm. Situated in historic Guildford, the Swan Valley Visitor Centre has lots of information about Swan Valley attractions and events and can assist with bookings, tourist maps, and souvenirs. It is attached to an interesting Museum, and is amongst buildings of a former prison.
- The Swan River.
- 3 All Saints Anglican Church, 30 Henry St, Henley Brook WA 6055 (Head east at the Gnangara Rd and West Swan Rd intersection), ☏ . Western Australia's oldest church, set on reasonably large grounds with a historic cemetery attached. Part of the Parish of Swan, church services are still held each week. The Swan River can be accessed on foot from the church. Entry is free but donations are requested.
The Swan Valley is known for its vineyards, many with restaurants and cellar door sales available.
Along the Great Northern Highway:
- Houghtons Wines. This winery provides a popular spot for a picnic.
- Oakover wines
- Jarrah Ridge
- Carilley Estate
- Olive Farm
- Feral Brewing
- Lancaster Wines
Along Toodyay Road:
- Garbin Estate
- Jane Brook
Along West Swan Road:
- Henley Park
- Wild Swan
- Black Swan
- The Margaret River Chocolate Factory
- Sandalford Wines
- Lilac Hill estate wines
- Ironbark brewery
- Riverbank Estate wines
- 1 Alfred's Kitchen, Cnr Meadow and James St, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Su-Th 5PM-1AM, Fr Sa 5PM-3AM. Since 1946 this place has been serving burgers to hungry insomniacs at the small counter with a log fire burning in front. In recent years it has cleaned up its act and the rough clientele have changed accordingly. Nonetheless, the food is good and not just because everything else is shut at 1AM.
- Edgecombe Brothers, Cnr West Swan Rd and Gnangara Rd, Henley Brook, ☏ . Open from 10am. Rustic family cafe restaurant and winemaker. Look out especially for their Muscat and Fortified Shiraz. They grow and sell a range of produce on premises.
The Swan Valley is known for its abundant wineries, but you will also find a number of boutique breweries, distilleries and specialist coffee roasters.
- Yahava KoffeeWorks, 4752 West Swan Road, West Swan, ☏ . 9am-5pm daily. Boutique coffee roaster and cafe. They roast a wide range of coffees on premises, have daily coffee tastings, and sell coffee and tea making and paraphernalia and novelty items. Views overlooking the vineyards and a small lake with a large grassed area and indoor and outdoor seating.
- 1 Keller's Bed & Breakfast, 104 Victoria Rd, Dayton, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. A farmstay with a WA rural feel. Breakfast at the B&B is produced ingredients produced on the hobby farm.