Take a trip inland from Perth as the weather cools into autumn.

This is a great time to get some fresh air, explore without getting steamy hot and remember the charm of Perth's country towns. Here are five towns to inspire you, with suggestions for some of the best things to do there in autumn.

New Norcia

Getting to New Norcia

The lovely old country town of New Norcia, Australia's only monastic town, is 130km north and inland from Perth by car. Head to Guildford and follow the West Swan Road through the spine of the Swan Valley wine region, then pick up the Great Northern Highway to the Chittering. Take your time as you drive through the region, to enjoy its vineyards, citrus orchards, roadside stalls and little country townships. Once you reach Bindoon, New Norcia is only 50km away.

Best Things to Do in Autumn

The main attraction in New Norcia is the peaceful monastery, which is still home to a community of Benedictine monks. Autumn is an ideal time to stroll around the town, now that the weather is a little cooler. As well as touring the heritage buildings, visitors are welcome to attend chapel with the monks, or book into a spiritual retreat in the monastery guesthouse.

Founded in 1847 by Spanish Benedictine monks, the town has fascinating stories, intertwining European settlement with Aboriginal history, which you can uncover at the New Norcia Museum & Art Gallery. Spend the day here or stay over at the neo-classical New Norcia Hotel to complete your experience of this charming old country town, which is sure to leave you with a feeling of calm and wellbeing. Make sure you try the New Norcia ale and wine!


Getting to Toodyay

Toodyay is an 88km drive inland from Perth to the north-east. The quickest route is via the Great Eastern Bypass to the Roe Highway, where you travel north to pick up Toodyay Road. Enjoy the ride through pretty countryside, skirting the John Forrest National Park and plunging through rolling fields, into the Avon Valley.

Alternatively, catch the AvonLink train from Midland to Toodyay, which takes just over an hour, so everyone can sit back, relax and enjoy the view. Transperth trains run regularly from Perth to Midland.

Best Things to Do in Autumn

Toodyay is a quintessential country town, and March is when the monthly Toodyay Farmers Market starts up again. On the third Sunday of the month, stall holders come together to sell fresh food, plants and preserves that have been locally and sustainably grown, produced and raised. The farm goods sit alongside arts, crafts and live music, making this a fun community event for all the family to enjoy, and a real taste of Perth country town life. 

Allow time to browse the arts, crafts and antiques around town, while soaking up the history from surrounding 19th century settler buildings. Drop into Toodyay Visitor Centre for more information on the town.


Getting to York

One hundred kilometres east of Perth, is the first inland European settlement in WA, established in 1831. Simply follow the Great Eastern Highway from Perth, and turn onto the Great Southern Highway just after Chidlow. From there it's a little over half an hour into the charming country town of York.

The route takes you right past the entrance to John Forrest National Park and through Mundaring, both worth a stop for a picnic or cafe refreshments.

Best Things to Do in Autumn

York is one of the most popular of Perth's country towns for visitors, largely due to its colonial architecture, arts and crafts shops, cafes and the York Motor Museum. Use the free wifi at York Visitor Centre to download a walking app for an independent tour of the town.

Picnic by the Avon River and complete your experience by staying over in the gorgeous York Palace Hotel, ideally in one of the heritage rooms, constructed in 1909.


Getting to Jarrahdale

Less than an hour south of Perth is the country town of Jarrahdale.  You can take various routes to get there, the simplest being down the Kwinana Freeway to Mundijong Road. Follow this all the way to the South Western Highway, turn right and then left onto Jarrahdale Road.

Serpentine Falls. Photo credit: Lisa Watson Photography
Serpentine Falls. Photo credit: Lisa Watson Photography

Alternatively, follow the Serpentine Jarrahdale Self Drive journey, which takes you to Araluen Botanic Park and other attractions along the way, past the forests and falls of Serpentine National Park, into Jarrahdale and on to Dwellingup, which is the next country town on our list.

Best Things to Do in Autumn

Originally a timber milling town, Jarrahdale, as the name suggests, is nestled in jarrah forest close to the Murray and Serpentine Rivers - a landscape that lends itself to bush walks and heritage trails. The Jarrahdale Balmoral Trail is a section of the Munda Biddi mountain bike trail from Mundaring to Albany, and Kitty's Gorge is the most picturesque bush walk in the area.

The best way to relax in this delightful country town after a walk is at the award-winning Millbrook Winery, perched on the banks of the Serpentine at Chestnut Farm. As we plunge into autumn, red wine and chocolate are back on our list of top treats, and one of the best things to do this autumn at Millbrook will be the Decadent Delights Wine & Chocolate Pairing afternoon on 6 April. Don't miss it!


Getting to Dwellingup

Just over 100km south of Perth is the country town of Dwellingup, an hour and a half from the city, or 45 minutes from Jarrahdale in case you want to visit both in one hit.

From Perth, take the Kwinana Freeway all the way to Pinjarra Road and follow this into Pinjarra - another country town worth a stop and only 20 minutes from Dwelllingup. From here, you'll cross the Murray River and take the Pinjarra-Williams Road until you see the turnoff signed for Dwellingup.

Best Things to Do in Autumn

Dwellingup is an old timber and railway hub that retains a great deal of country town charm. For visitors, it's all about the forests and Murray River, popular for canoeing, rafting, camping and mountain biking. The town has a few cute shops and cafes, and if you want to stay for a few days, there are some lovely cottages along the lanes surrounded by trees.

If you're looking for things to do this autumn school holidays, check out Treetops Adventure - Dwellingup, which will have the whole family swinging, leaping and zipping through the treetops of Dwellingup.