In February, just before leaving for Europe I had to use up a voucher given to me for my birthday the previous year, for an afternoon delights tour by Swan Valley Tours.
I took the train into the city and with some time to spare walked around the area surrounding the main railway station at Wellington street.
|Old and new architecture side by side|
At the arranged time, 11,50am the bus driver picked me up as well as a few of my fellow tour takers from the bus stop close to the station, and after he introduced himself and told us about the tour we drove to the Swan Valley area, where wines have been produced for the past 180 years.
We drove past the gateway to the Swan valley - the historical village of Guildford, settled in 1829 by the European, the village still has a lot of interesting old buildings, antique shops and cafes.
This area is also known for it's arts and crafts markets, art galleries, fresh produce road-side kiosks, wildlife parks like Whiteman Park, plus of course the many wineries, breweries, fine restaurants and accommodation.
Our first stop was at the Houghton Estates where we were give an array of white and red wines to taste ranging from Verdelho (a Portuguese white grape also grown in this region) to Shiraz. I'm not a great drinker at all, so I limited myself to 2 tastings and then perused the interesting shop and went into the garden.
|Houghton shop at the Cellar door|
|Gardens at the Houghton wine estate|
This time I tasted two of the fortified wines - an Old Tawny (type of Port wine) and a Liqueur Muscat - actually the type of drinks I like are the sweet ones like liqueurs, so I liked these and bought a bottle of each to take home.
Here we were served some crackers with cheeses and preserves - "Wicked stepmother", which were also very nice.
|Rows and rows of vine and mountain in the distance|
A few of the tour takers were already in high spirits and we went back to the bus to visit the third winery of the tour, the family operated Swanbrook Winery.
I loved the old truck at the entrance, and they had a beautiful gift shop, a Cafe and a well cared for garden.
|An old farming truck at the entrance of the winery|
|Gift shop and Cafe at Swanbrook winery|
Outside in the shaded garden there was a big cage with a Galah, and a little boy informed us that it's wings were broken so he couldn't fly. He was aggressive though if anyone tried touching him...
Our next stop was a the Mash Brewerie , where they have a range of beers and ale.
We were all entitled to one free drink, everybody going for beers of course, but I hate beer, just don't like the smell of it, so it was a soft drink for me.
A very interesting venue where you can see the brewing tanks behind the counter. They also sell snacks as well as meals.
|The menu had some interesting beer quotes|
- Milk is for babies! When you grow up you have to drink beer! (Arnold Schwarzenegger)
- You can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline. It helps if you have some kind of football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer. (Frank Zapa)
- Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder. (Kinky Friedman)
- Beer - it's the best damn drink in the world. (Jack Nicholson)
Some people went for a second round, paid for this time, and the guide took some photos of the group for their site.
On our way again, to the Margaret River Chocolate factory. Yummi!! Alas, chocolate tasting was a bit restricted, a handful of chocolate chips and then we could choose one chocolate from their gourmet range. The chocolates are great, a bit on the expensive side though. Nowadays they also have a shop in Perth's city centre.
The shelves were full of lovely jars of preserves, olive oils and other gourmet goodies - all very appetizing.
|Providore - gourmet foods|
I was dropped near the train station in the city so I could catch the train home.
It was a wonderful afternoon with a handful of people from 5 or 6 different countries, who all had a good time and a few laughs. Pity I couldn't eat more chocolates....
|Perth city skyline at one of our stops|
Wednesday, 11th February 2015
Enjoy your special day. Well, I know in Europe it was celebrated last Sunday, but here in Australia and some countries in the Southern hemisphere it's celebrated on the second Sunday of May.