The Bickley Valley could be Western Australia’s next big tourist destination according to Kalamunda Chamber of Commerce chief executive Tabetha Beggs.
The Bickley Valley is situated in the Perth Hills, 23 km east of the CBD.
The region is known for its diverse range of wine and cuisine, complemented by its geographical location.
According to the City of Kalamunda, the area attracts more than 295,000 visitors a year.
Ms Beggs said the beautiful setting alone attracted people to the region.
“The Bickley Valley has the beauty, the ambience, the hills, the vineyards,” she said.
“Because it’s almost surrounded by hills in that pocket, it lends itself to being this area that’s really easy to market as tourism region.”
Explore Tours Perth managing director Adam Saunders said the Bickley Valley had an intimacy the Swan Valley lacked.
Explore Tours offers private and scheduled tours in Perth and surrounding areas.
“The Bickley Valley is made up of a lot of boutique vineyards,” he said.
“You go in and you actually meet the owner and the winemaker.
“There’s more of a personal connection that you just don’t quite get with the Swan Valley.”
Belara Springs owners Sonja and Tristan Nottle said the number of visitors to the area had exceeded their expectations.
Belara Springs is a forest chalet and pilates studio in the center of the Bickley Valley.
Mr Nottle said they needed a minimum of 60 clients a week for the pilates studio and an average of 60 per cent occupancy for the chalet to break even.
“Now the studio has a regular 100 plus clients a week… the chalet has been booked out from February until now.”
Ms Nottle said Bickley was a unique area.
“It’s a true valley… it feels like it’s down south but it’s 35 minutes from the Perth central,” she said.
“I think that you just can’t get that kind of combination closer to Perth.”
La Fattoria owners Eric and Lucy Radice said they were excited to see the growth of tourism in the region.
La Fattoria is a Sicilian inspired restaurant and vineyard in the Perth Hills.
The Radice family has owned the property for more than 80 years.
“Tourism is becoming more developed,” Mr Radice said.
“Most of the venues on a Saturday and Sunday are very busy.
“All of the vineyards tend to be mostly booked out on a Sunday.”
Ms Radice said there was a number of new food and wine focused businesses opening in the area.
“You’ve got some really quality venues popping up out here and I think that’s really exciting for the Perth Hills,” Ms Radice said.
“Everyone’s lifting the standards… you’re seeing some really great cuisine and I think that’s matching the Swan Valley and Margaret River to some extent.”
Ms Beggs said while tourism was flourishing, she hoped it would not detract from the beauty of the region.
“I think that there’s a danger to a lot of communities where they feel like there’s money in tourism, but it can often ruin a place as well,” she said.
“If it’s planned well and there’s a good strategy behind it, I think it can be done well and we can keep the vibe of the valley without it being commercialised.”