20km (13 miles) NE of Perth
The Swan Valley is only 25 minutes from the Perth city center, but has 30 or so wineries, a wildlife park, antiques shops, galleries, several restaurants some of WA's early heritage, and one of Australia's best golf resorts. Good times to visit are during two annual festivals, "Spring in the Valley" (second weekend in Oct), and "Taste of the Valley" (during Feb).
Lord Street from the Perth city center becomes Guildford Road and takes you to the historic town of Guildford at the start of the Swan Valley. The Swan Valley Visitor Centre is in the historic old courthouse at the corner of Meadow and Swan streets, Guildford (tel. 08/9379 9400; www.swanvalley.com.au, open daily, except Dec 25, 9am-4pm). It provides helpful information, maps -- including an excellent Food & Wine Trail map -- and separate sheets listing the venues that open during the quiet times Monday through Wednesday. Several companies run day tours or cruises from Perth, and local companies run tours by black cab or Rolls-Royce.
The Swan Valley Shuttle Service (tel. 08/9274 6569) is a hop-on-hop-off service to and from the Visitor Centre and Guildford Train Station, calling at Houghton Wines, Chesters, and the Novotel Vines Resort , and a few other wineries and breweries. It runs hourly 9:30am to 4:30pm Wednesday through Sunday, and Friday through Saturday 6:30 to 10:30pm, A$30 round-trip.