Loris Harding, Taste Bud Tours

Loris Harding Taste Bud Tours

From an early age Loris was accustomed to travelling – whether it be across the Nullabor Plains to visit family, up the East Coast of Australia on family caravanning holidays, or throughout Europe, UK and the USA during Loris’s extended working holiday in England. Travelling has been Loris’s passion taking in Egypt, Turkey, Japan, Africa, Cambodia, Vietnam just to name a few. During her travels Loris was privileged to meet some outstanding and passionate guides who inspired her to “one day” seek out a life’s long dream to become a professional tour guide.

With a background in marketing Loris possessed the knowledge and the skills she would find so valuable when the opportunity arrived to build a tourism business ‘from scratch’.

Loris’s tourism career dates back to 1998 when she co-established the multi award winning Swan Valley Wagon Trails with her former husband. After 7 years operating this successful local attraction Loris changed to a mechanical form of “horse-power” delivering wine tours for Swan Valley Tours and rose to the position of Senior Tour Guide. In January 2009, Loris was invited to build a Swan Valley based bus operation in partnership and successfully established Pink Bus Tours, winning the award of Best New Business in the Hanson Swan Business Awards later that same year.

Loris is unashamedly a “foodie” and in 2010 she took the bold step of branching out on her own and single-handedly established a unique experience aimed at showcasing the nationally awarded Food and Wine Trail of the Swan Valley. The Swan Valley had long been regarded as primarily a “wine region”, however the strong “food” presence remained an unexposed feature of the Food & Wine Trail.

Loris was determined to demonstrate that visitors to the region could embark on an extended “grazing” experience which boasted variety, seasonal freshness, historical background, personal encounters, insight and hands on experiences.

Loris is a passionate and creative tour guide and has twice reached the finals of the FACET Golden Guide Awards in 2007 and 2012. Her current business – Taste Bud Tours – has already been awarded the Best New Business in the Belmont Small Business Awards in 2011, attained Finalist status in the Hanson Swan Business Awards 2012, and has received a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence in 2012, 2013 and 2014 having been ranked the Number One Activity in Perth on TripAdvisor since January 2012. More recently Taste Bud Tours was recognised in the international Viator Travel Awards – Best Local Operator 2014 and named #3 in Experience Oz (Australia & New Zealand) annual Top 10 Things to Do in Perth list 2014 behind Rottnest Island and Kings Park.

Taste Bud Tours was selected by Experience Perth to host Rich Keam during his visit to Perth as the WA Taste Master in Tourism Australia’s Best Jobs in the World campaign, in company with American uber-blogger Adam Roberts aka The Amateur Gourmet. Rich Keam’s blog reflected his total enjoyment of this unique Speed Grazing experience.

A self-proclaimed ‘foodie’, Loris is living the dream as she personally escorts like-minded visitors around the Swan Valley’s colourful and flavor-some “Food and Wine Trail” introducing the people behind the labels, sharing their family stories, and uncovering the diverse cultural and indigenous background to this historically rich region only a ‘corks throw’ from Perth.
Taking a ‘leap of faith’ to design, develop, self-fund and deliver a quirky concept unheard of globally has excited the imagination of Loris’s guests …. one such guest labelled her a “tourism entrepreneur”…

In March 2011 Loris’s unique Speed Grazing concept was launched on a full time basis, having been developed over the previous nine months, fine tuning itineraries, time tables, venues, visitor rewards, and the logistics for Loris to personally deliver two tours daily Wednesday to Sunday.

Each tour visits no less than 10 delicious locations enjoying 25+ different tasting experiences that excite the senses. A great example is a visit to Yahava Koffee Works where guests have the opportunity to “road test” a mild, medium and strong coffee style plus enjoy refreshing iced coffee and chai latte all accompanied by decadent chocolate coated coffee beans. The absolute highlight of the visit is to meet the roaster and witness the last stages of a coffee roast. The roaster collects sample beans during the roasting process and guests can touch, smell and watch as the beans are transformed before their eyes culminating in the tasting of the final product.

The entire Speed Grazing concept is focused on a tasteful, informative and comfortable journey around the 32 km Food & Wine Trail exploring the region, enjoying the produce and actually meeting the most valuable asset of the Swan Valley – its people, many of whom have lived in the region for generations.

Loris now faces the ever growing challenge of more and more tasting opportunities developing in the region – the latest exciting addition to the list of venues visited is “The Micro Juicery” of the World’s Healthiest Juice Company recently established in the historic Valencia Complex.

Whilst Loris has achieved many accolades for her creative tour guiding ventures, none compares to the prestige associated with the individual FACET Golden Guide Award. Loris feels totally elated yet humbled by the honour bestowed upon so few. To be acknowledged as the “best in your chosen field” is a life’s dream come true.

For more information on Taste Bud Tours

Recent Posts