Swan Valley, Perth, Western Australia
My 2nd day in Perth is more productive. After breakfast, we drove to the Swan Valley. Our first stop was Caversham Wildlife Park (half hour from Perth), situated at the entrance of the Swan Valley. Tourist mostly go by car but you can also get there by bus. Entranec fees are reasonable. Adult ticket are Aud$22 and children between 3and 14 cost Aud$8. There is a concession ticket for seniors but they have to be resident of Australia.
I had done my researched on the internet on places to see in Perth. Apparently the No 1 place to visit in Perth for families is the Caversham Wildlife Park voted by majority of tourist. It opens quite early at 8.30am but we didn’t get there until approx 10am. Caversham Wildlife Park is located in Whiteman Park, in Morley (on the way to Swan Valley, travelling along Reid Highway to Lord Street to Whitman Drive East Rd). There is a fantastic map (at the back of the Swan Valley tourist booklet) that you can pick up at either the airport or at the Park itself. It shows you the various places (including to Caversham Wildlife Park) that you can visit during the day whilst at the Swan Valley. I would suggest visiting the Park first as there are quite a few things to see in there. If you have children, this place is a must for them. I would even say that it is a must for those who like to literally mingle with the Kangaroos, touch a Koala bear and stroke a lizard, touch a wombat or take a photo with one of all of these animals. You need at least half a day at the Park. Here we can enter the enclosures not only to mingle with, but also feed the animals like kangaroos, sheep, camels and rabbits. Those animals are trained to be friendly with us and it’s easy to pose with them. Even the koalas are ever ready to pose with us! They are located at their special enclosure and there are specific time when the area is open to visitors, when would like to touch the Koalas.
The animal show included a blue tongue skink, wombat, spotted quoll, kangaroo, and wallaby, parrots which could be touched but not held. You could also take a free photo beside any of them. There are 3 sessions time for meeting these animals and birds. 11am, 2pm and 3.45pm. You don’t have to rush there at the exact time unless you want to hear what the trainers say about each animal. Photo taking can be a long queue or none at all, depending on the no of people visiting the park that day or on the weather as it is out in the open. So if you are late by a few minutes, I am sure the animals are still doing their duties, posing for their visitors. Usually the busiest time in the morning session as this arena is nearer to the entrance. You can see much different kind of animals & different species of birds from all over Australia (in cages of course). There are the Flying Foxes, Koalas, Cassowary Owls and Lorikeets from North East Australia. Then there are the Possums, Koalas, Flying Foxes, Quoll, Wallaby, Gliders, and Pottoroos from South East Australia. The pottoroos were very active, while most of the others slept. There are also the Possums, Quokka, Egrets, Quoll, and Rail Ducks from South West Australia. We even saw Eagles, Bustard, Curfew, Echidnas, Dingos, Emus, Turtles, from Northern Australia. We also saw the Tasmanian Devils. The Emus, Kangaroos. Joeys and Wallabies roam freely in their respective areas. You can feed these animals but watch out for the Kangaroos, especially near their “food bin”. Yes, there is a huge “rubbish” bin where you can grab a few handfuls of Roo food and feed them and take photos of yourself and your kids feeding the kangaroos. We were immediately mobbed by a horde of hungry free range red and grey kangaroos, including albinos, which clustered around us to be hand fed from a bin of free roo food. These Kangaroos are so smart. They know where their food is so they normally congregate near the food bin. My girlfriend was cornered by as many as 10 – 15 kangaroos near the bin and they refused to let her out of the circle. So be mindful of smaller adults and children. We also saw a wallaby with a joey just out of the pouch and also a joey feeding off the mother. It is a very interesting experience and well worth the visit.
The best time to visit this place is early morning as you will then have enough time to wander around and not rushed to the Farm show (10am, 1pm and 3pm). Moreover, morning is the best time to feed the kangaroos because they are still hungry! At the Farm show, there are view sheep shearing demonstration, check out what a working sheep dog do, see how a stockman work on horseback, a chance to crack the whip, (I tried but was obviously not meant to be a country girl!, but had a good laugh…) , milk the cow or swing a billy tea pot. Some lucky children can volunteer to bottle feed the lamb. Afternoon is their nap time … they may not stand up or eat if you try to feed them.
At Molly’s Farm, everyone can mingle amongst the Emus, goats, kids, sheep, lamb, chickens, ducks, rabbits, turkeys, chickens, donkeys, ponies, llamas and even deers. It is especially a great experience for children who didn’t grow up with farm animals.
There were also numerous native plants in the park. Caversham Wildlife Park & Zoo is situated in Whiteman Park and houses one of the largest collections of native fauna in Western Australia.
There are plenty of picnic areas, barbecues and a restaurant available within Whiteman Park, Tram and Train rides, Motor and Tractor Museum, Pottry Gallery, Handicraft Shop, Ice creamery and English Lolly Shop, just a four minute walk away. We had our lunch inside the Park as it was drizzling that day. Bit unfortunate, as it would have been lovely to have a picnic for lunch.
After lunch, we drove out towards West Swan Road to visit the Margaret River Chocolate factory for free chocolate tasting and to view how chocolates are being made. Aside from chocolate tasting, there are also jam and other condiments to taste as well. Yummy….but pricy. I suppose you pay for good quality products. Next we head off towards Great Northern Highway.
I felt that there are a lot more interesting places to check out along this route. We stopped at about 3 vineyards to taste their wine and cheese, visited the Mondo Nougat factory to view the making of nougat. The nougat sold there are not that cheap but fresh as we found that the prices of nougat in Perth or Fremantle markets are relatively similar price to that sold at the factory if not cheaper. Further north is the House of Honey. There are various types of honey to taste and we did taste them including honey vinegar, great for salad. The 500ml bottle is sold for Aud$19. Pricy but worth it, in my opinion. It taste yummy and I had read I the internet, previously that if I have a tablespoon of vinegar & honey each day, it will relieve the stiff aching and prematurely old joints. I bought 2 bottles.
Anyway, the rain came around the time that most places closed, approximately 5pm. Time to head back to Perth and just in time to head back to the apartment, rest a bit and head out to the local pup for dinner. Overall, it was a very productive day.
The other place I wanted to go is the Margaret River Chocolate Company. I heard from friends and on the internet that it is worth the trip. However it was raining and time had run out for me, so I didn’t managed to go there. I understand that it is one of Western Australia’s most popular tourist attractions, with manufacturing and sales facilities in both Swan Valley and Margaret River.
The company’s Swan Valley factory is located in the heart of Perth’s historic Swan Valley, just 20 minutes from the Perth city centre. The original Margaret River factory is located on a picturesque rural property just 20 minutes from Margaret River and is surrounded by award-winning wineries, hotels and resorts.
I read that both sites treated tourists to free chocolate tastings and they also have viewing windows for young and old to watch the chocolate products being made. Both factories sell a huge, award-winning range of gourmet chocolate delights, as well as novelty chocolates, cookies, ice-cream, chocolate milk and a variety of chocolate desserts.