With so much talk about the impact of Perth's high prices on tourism, it may not be coincidental that the Swan Valley has recorded astonishing growth in visitor numbers - up 50 per cent in three years.
In addition to free wine tastings, art galleries, historic buildings and picnic spots, the valley is fast earning a reputation for providing free samples of a wide variety of produce - from chocolate to honey to coffee and everything in between.
As one local operator said, you can spend a day in the valley and not spend a cent.
"But we hope you do," she said.
A new visitor survey, conducted for the City of Swan, has revealed 600,000 adults visit the region an average 3.6 times a year - a total of 2.16 million visits, or more than 40,000 visits every week.
This compares with 1.4 million visits when a similar survey was conducted in 2009.
City of Swan chief executive Mike Foley said the valley's proximity to the city made it popular with daytrippers, a fact now recognised by the business sector.
Mr Foley said 12 new wineries had been established since 1995, as had other associated tourism businesses, such as the Margaret River Chocolate Company, Yahava KoffeeWorks and Cape Lavender.
"This increased mix of activities has helped attract a large number of family visitors and the popularity of the region with families is shown by Whiteman Park recently celebrating its one millionth visitor for the year," he said.
The latest survey, by Patterson Research Group, found that most visitors were couples (28 per cent) and visitors out with friends (18 per cent).
Nearly two in every three visitors ate at a cafe or restaurant during their stay and nearly half took part in wine tastings. More than half of all visitors were aged between 25 and 44.The most popular locations included the Margaret River Chocolate Company, the Duckstein Brewery, Elmar's Brewery, Lancaster Wines and Sandalford Wines.
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