The Avon Valley region, a comfortable drive east of Perth is the perfect destination for exploring country towns, pottering through craft shops and museums, picnicking on the banks of the Avon River, hot air ballooning at dawn or setting out on bush walks.
The Avon Valley is also host to a fantastic range of festivals and events the whole year round which make great excuses to visit. Stop in at a local cafe or restaurant some showcasing local produce such as james, olives, chocolate and honey. Or enjoy a drink at a historical pub - you'll find one in nearly every town of the Avon Valley.
With so much to see and do, why not spend a night or two? There are many charming accommodation options available, including historic hotels and bed and breakfasts, where you can relax and enjoy the warm country hospitality.
Visiting the vintage towns of Northam, Toodyay, York, Goomalling, Beverley and Brookton by road is a great way to explore
the charming Avon Valley region and all of the towns are only a 30 minute drive from each other.
THINGS TO DO IN THE AVON VALLEY
- TAKE a scenic drive or catch the train and enjoy the valley's quaint and historical townships.
- BE adventurous and try hot air ballooning, skydiving, gliding or paragliding.
- EXPLORE museums, art galleries, historical attractions, antique shops.
- PICNIC beside the beautiful Avon River.
- BE part of the festivities during the world famous Avon Descent.
- ENJOY country cuisine or a beer at the local historic pub.
- SAMPLE a variety of wines, olive oil and lavender grown in the region.
- ENJOY the spectacular and colourful wildflowers in spring.
- ENJOY a variety of scenic walk trails through native bush and parks
- TRY white water rafting on the Avon River's fast flowing waters during winter
Located just over an hour from Perth on the Great Eastern Highway, Northam provides a great base from which to explore the Avon Valley. Northam is WA's largest inland town and is home to over 185 heritage listed buildings. Exploring the towns architecture on foot is a rewarding experience and along the way you'll also discover many craft and curio shops. There's also a wide range of cafes and restaurants from alfresco to fine dining.
The Avon River flows through the town and is fringed by soft grassy banks and shady trees. Picnicking beside the river is a popular pastime and it is here that you can also observe the activities of the elegant white swans which were brought here by settlers over 150 years ago. Or, you can spy on the swans from the heady heights of the pedestrian suspension bridge which passes over the Avon - the longest of its kind in Australia.
There are many activities to choose from in Northam such as hot air ballooning, hang gliding or white water rafting. To learn more about this beautiful town, why not join one of the Shire of Northam's Bilya Bidi guided tours. Join experienced and knowledgeable local guides on walking or bus tours to discover Northam's diverse, natural and cultural history.
Located just 97km east of Perth on the Great Eastern Highway, the township of York, established in 1831, was the first inland European settlement in WA. While still remaining distinct from other towns in the region, York is yet another fine example of colonial architecture and is renowned for its heritage precint. Wildflowers and birdlife compliment the open gardens and there's a wide range of experiences on offer including food and wine festivals, country racing, local produce and plenty of arts and crafts.
Visitors to York can enjoy lovingly preserved buildings and sites providing charm and character to the town. There are a couple of fine churches and many other historic buildings like the Town Hall which houses the tourist information centre. The York Residency Museum, Old Gaol & Courthouse and York Motor Museum are all well worth a visit.
Straddling the Avon River, York is bordered by outstanding natural beauty with several Heritage Walking Trails available. The York Information Services is a free WI-FI hot spot and you can download a free walking app which gives you details of the history of the buildings you can see on your walk. You can also pick up booklets on the trails here. Adrenalin junkies can also get their pulses racing with a range of
aerial pursuits such as skydiving, paragliding and ultra light flights
in the area.
Toodyay is located around 85km north east of Perth and is nestled in a valley between scenic hills and on the banks of the Avon River. The village presents some perfect examples of 19th century architecture, while at the same time retaining its own unique country charm with verandah-clad pubs and shops.
In fact, Toodyay oozes colonial history and architecture. Connor's Mill is a fine example, and is your only opportunity in WA to witness working historical machinery demonstrating antiquated flour milling processes. You can also visit the intriguing Old Gaol built in the 1860s, which now houses a museum dedicated to the varied history of the region.
In town you will find fine examples of locally worked art, woodwork and photography and there are also a number of places to stop for a bite to eat. Accommodation is varied and includes anything from historical pub stays in the centre of town or informal caravan parks where you can sleep under the stars, to luxuriously appointed bed and breakfasts and self contained chalets.
Heading further out of town will reward you with some magnificent scenery and there are a number of lovely country roads to travel on. Along the way and located amongst the pretty undulating hills surrounding Toodyay, you will find a multitude of olive groves, lavender fields, local artisans, rambling country gardens and vineyards old and new producing their own unique blends.
Just 132km north east of Perth, Goomalling is a delightful rural settlement and amongst the first established in WA. Enveloped by seemingly endless open countryside, the town had its beginning in the 1890's, springing up from beside the train line which was used to ferry miners through to the goldrush towns further north. Giant wheat domes provide a striking landmark in Goomalling, while art & crafts, country markets and a colourful history add to the rural feel. A trip to the School House Museum, Heritage Town Walk and Old Railway Station will transport visitors back in time, as will Slater Homestead.
The township of Beverley, 130km east of Perth is believed to be named for Beverley near York in the United Kingdom and is amongst the first established in WA. Marked by fine examples of colonial architecture, Beverley is steeped in tales of pioneering triumphs and tribulations. Perhaps surprisingly, you can also visit an Aeronautical Museum here. With its excellent display of full scale aircraft and aerial paraphernalia, the museum is an absorbing tribute to aviators of Western Australia.
Founded in the 1830's by early settlers in search of good grazing lands, Brookton, 139kms south east of Perth, is rich in colonial history as amongst the first established in WA. The Police Station Museum and the Railway Station which also houses a fine display of local crafts as well as the tourist information centre, are definitely worth a visit. Wildflowers abound in springtime, making the local area a picturesque haven for visitors.
Dates: 08 – 08 Apr, 2017
An authentic dinner and show at the York Town Hall on Saturday 8 April, 6.30pm where singers, actors, magicians, dancers, comedians and acrobats re-create the atmosphere of the grand musical halls of the late 19th century.
Dates: 23 – 23 Apr, 2017
Stunt riders, demonstrations, FMX trials, market stalls and live music featured at the 2016 York Motorcycle Festival on Sunday 23 April. This free family event, packs the main street, attended by approximately 5,000 locals and visitors every year. Part proceeds support 'Wheels for Hope', a charity with 45 wheelchair hoist vans.
Dates: 30 – 30 Apr, 2017
The Shire of Toodyay's art collection will be exhibited for one day only at the Wicklow Shearing Shed on Sunday 30 April, 10am - 3.30pm. The inspiration behind the creation of many of the Shire of Toodyay's artworks is often hidden, as are the works themselves.
Dates: 07 – 07 May, 2017
Visit Toodyay's colonial festival celebrating the life of the infamous bushranger, Moondyne Joe on Sunday 7 May, 9am - 3.30pm. The Toodyay locals dress in 1800 century costume and encourage everyone to dress in period costume and contribute to the festivals atmosphere, street theatre and fun antics.