Western Australia is home to some of the most beautiful wineries and the freshest local produce the world has to offer right on our doorstep – if you just know where to look! With endless hidden gems concealed within the Perth Hills, Bickley Valley, Swan Valley and Margaret River, an intimate guided tour is one of the BEST ways to explore the regions without getting lost or missing out on fun new experiences (cause’ you never know where you’ll end up with Google Maps!). The most interesting and unique tour company is Up Close and Local Tours, owned by third generation Perthies Paul Montague and Shannon Oliver who know Perth’s best-kept secrets inside-out!
Inspired by their own love of travel and immersing themselves in local experiences, Paul and Shannon decided to start Up Close and Local to showcase the premium quality of our homegrown craft producers and the many regions we have right here on our doorstep. With a focus not just on tasting, but also getting to know the locals and learning a thing or two along the way.
Specialising in taking their tour groups behind the scenes and giving authentic hands-on experiences, Up Close and Local Tours offer rare opportunities you may not be able to find or be able to book yourself. So much more than just your average drop-off/pick-up service, Up Close and Local genuinely care about your tour experience and have access to activities that aren’t available to the general public. These include private tours inside craft distilleries and wineries, barrel tastings, private tastings, hearing about the farm to glass journey from the makers themselves and even participating in workshops or masterclasses to make your very own wine alongside the winemaker – can I get a hell yeah?!
Supporting local is a HUGE element of Up Close and Local Tours, who delight in taking people off the beaten path to visit the smaller producers that often fly under the radar. With most of their tour group sizes capped at 12 people or less, Up Close and Local have exclusive access to the boutique producers who can’t or won’t accommodate big tour buses. Tour groups will get the chance to meet local owners and hear their stories to gain an in depth understanding and appreciation for what they do and how they get it all done.
Some of the most exciting tours you can book at Up Close and Local include the Bickley Valley wine and cider trail, which is a best-kept secret that even most locals have no idea exists! Another is their Low and Slow BBQ Tour – Perth’s only food tour dedicated to American BBQ! All tour itineraries can also be booked as private tours that can be fully customised to suit you, with both half-day, full-day and even multi-day tours available for the keenest adventurists. Perth Happenings owner, Pieta, has experienced first hand the Up Close and Local ‘Bickley Valley wine and cider trail’ and says that Paul creates a wonderful tour where you quickly become friends with your fellow bus riders. He is friendly, knowledgeable and it was one of the best tours she has ever done in Perth! Many of the spots they visited she had not heard about and wholeheartedly agrees that the Bickley Valley is an underrated area of Perth’s Hills.
If you have a genuine interest in tasting and learning about local craft produce in some of WA’s most breathtaking landscapes (sounds like heaven to me!), make sure to book a private or group tour with Up Close and Local Tours. With tonnes of local knowledge and years’ worth of experience, Paul and Shannon will show you the very best that Perth has to offer in wine, cider, whiskey, spirits, cheese, chocolate and so much more – drool!