When in Perth, it is definitely a MUST to visit the Swan Valley as it is a region at the upper reaches of Swan River which flows through to Perth city centre. The Swan Valley is the main area that produces some of the best local wines and fresh produce. At only 30 mins drive away from the city centre, the Swan Valley is one of the most popular tours for Perth.
I was searching on various sites for half-day tours for Perth and found an offer from Klook which has tours from Explore Tours Perth costing SGD 85.35 for adults and SGD 62.35 for children ( age 3 to 14 ). The reviews were good for the tour so I process the booking fairly quickly. You will receive a booking voucher from Klook as well as a confirmation email from Explore Tours Perth.
Just a few days before the actual tour date, Explore Tours Perth actually sent a reminder email about the tour on the pick dates, location and timing. Just the day before, they sent me a text message to inform me of the driver cum tour guide’s name as well as the contact number and vehicle plate number. I was able to communicate to them my requests for front seats as I had seniors with me. On the day of the tour, Keith arrived on the dot and had my request ready with the front seats reserved for my party of 5. He even prepared a step stool so it was easier for the seniors to get on the bus. There were about 12 people on the same tour so after picking up a few more customers, we started to drive towards Swan Valley which was only 30 mins drive away.
Our first stop was the coffee factory and once we alighted, Keith handed us lanyards with Explore Tours Perth badges for easy recognition.
There were many interesting things to see at the coffee factory and the tour begins with a coffee tasting and explanation session by the staff. We were introduced to a few local beans and Brazilian beans roasted locally. There were also roasting machines, merchandises, a cafe as well as raw beans for purchase. There are plenty of picture opportunities as there are nice vineyards and landscape just behind the factory. We had about an hour at the factory itself including the coffee tasting.
The next stop was the chocolate factory which was everyone’s favourite stop
There were very wide varieties of chocolate for everyone to buy from chocolate-coated pretzels to salted caramel cookies and more. The moment you enter the chocolate factory, you will get a sample set of chocolate for tasting which includes their milk chocolate, dark chocolate and another best selling flavour. There are also a few huge chocolate models put up for display and pictures where chocolate is modelled into houses and animals. You can always ask the staff for a sample for taste if you are interested in purchasing any of the packed chocolate. The stay here was slightly shorter at about 45 mins but was very sufficient as there is only so much chocolate you can purchase
The next stop is another stop where you will walk out with big shopping bags as this is the Mondo Nougat factory which is a MUST buy when you are in Australia.
The building consists of 2 parts, the first part belongs to the nougat factory where you can find all the nougats you wish to buy as well as look in at the factory to see how the nougats are made. Most of the nougats are prepacked but there is also a small section where you can buy unique flavours by weight so you can pick and mix the flavours you like. The pick by weight is slightly more expensive than the prepacked ones which you can find at the supermarkets as well. There is also a section where you can sample the different flavours of the nougats. If you are tired, you can sit down for a drink at the cafe.
Crossing through a small door, you will be in the Morish nuts section where you can find macadamia nuts of different flavours, almonds as well as walnuts. The staff will also let you try the different flavours before you make your purchase. One really interesting flavour which I bought was the abalone macadamia nuts.
The next stop was the honey stop where you can see the honey bees at work
The staff will explain how the bees work in the hive with a cross-section view of the hive. The is a nice honey tasting area where you can taste all the different honey available for sale in the store. There is also an area selling honey products like body wash, hand cream and moisturisers. There is also a very special and unique section which sells honey bubbling wine.
The 2nd last stop was at an aboriginal museum which had live emus as well as a staff explaining to you the foods the aboriginal people used to eat. Like in the picture, you can see the bright blue emu egg where the shells are used for jewellery and display pieces. The red and green fruits are unique fruits only available in Australia and they are called finger limes. The texture and taste are extremely cool. The stop here was pretty short at only 30 mins
The last stop is one of the oldest wine estates in Swan Valley. There are as many as 80 vineyards in the Swan Valley itself and the one we went to was one of the biggest and oldest estates Sandalfords Wines. There is a restaurant as well as the main retail and wine tasting area. You can get to taste as many different kinds of wines as you want from the menu as long as they have the testing bottle opened.
By the time the tour has ended, Keith will drop you back at your accommodation or if you wish to have another drop-off, you can inform him before time so he can make the different route. We arrived back at our accommodation around 2pm for a late lunch and a good rest. Overall, the tour was very well-paced and good for older folks or families with young children. It also allows you to see, taste and purchase all the necessary produce from Western Australia within one tour without travelling to multiple places although some products might be slightly more expensive than the usual supermarket brands the quality is definately higher. I would recommend this tour to anyone planning a trip to Perth although, for the younger more adventurous traveller, it would be a more fun experience to rent a car and drive to the places you want to visit in Swan Valley.