Explore the Avon Valley - WA's first inland settlement
The Avon Valley region, a comfortable drive east of Perth City, offers patchwork of green rolling hills, babbling brooks and historic country towns. An hour’s drive from Perth lies the historic Avon Valley. Rich in stories of the Ballardong Noongar people, this region is spiritually connected to the Avon River and early pioneers who built this gateway to the Wheatbelt. It 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.
Explore the Charming & Historic Avon Valley
Revisit yesteryear, with main streets lined with bullnose verandas, quaint cafes, bakeries and welcoming locals. Check into an historic hotel restored to its former glory or lunch in a country pub where the 'parmi' is bigger than your plate and yarns of resident ghosts flow like cold beer from the tap.
The Avon Valley is home to hot air ballooning. A bird’s eye view of the valley reveals tributaries flowing into the Avon and endless fields of wheat and canola - Australia's green and gold. The Avon Valley is also host to a fantastic range of festivals and events the whole year round which make great excuses to visit. Antique fares and vintage car rallies, flower shows, farmers markets and the famous Avon Descent bring this charming region to life.
Stop in at a local cafe or restaurant some showcasing local produce such as jams, olives, chocolate and honey. Pile the scones high with jam and cream, wind back the clock and feel worlds away on this charming historical adventure. 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 in the Avon Valley region, 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, New Norcia, Beverley, Goomalling 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
You won’t be short on things to do in the Avon Valley. Popular attractions and activities include:
- Take a scenic drive or catch the train and enjoy the valley's quaint and historical townships.
- Discover a range of amazing public art, murals and sculptures.
- Be adventurous and try hot air ballooning, gliding or paragliding.
- Explore the region's museums, art galleries, historical attractions, antique shops.
- Picnic beside the beautiful Avon River or at one of the many lovely parks
- 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 colourful wildflowers in spring.
- Enjoy a variety of scenic walk trails and wildflower trails through native bush and parks.
- Try white water rafting on the Avon River's fast flowing waters during winter
- Purchase free fruit and vegetables from roadside stalls or visit a weekend market.
- Visit Goomalling's historic Slater Homestead offering an ‘early world experience’ with Devonshire teas.
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. Explore the heritage buildings, art galleries and the Dead Finish Museum, provides a look at life in Beverley since settlement in 1831.
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.
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 1890s, 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.
A true escape from the everyday, the unique hamlet of New Norcia is Australia's only monastic town. Everyone, regardless of their beliefs, will find themselves stilled by the soul of this tranquil community. Here Benedictine monks move quietly amongst historical buildings on their way to pray together seven times daily. New Norcia was established in 1847 as a mission for the local Aboriginal people by Spanish Benedictine monk Bishop Rosendo Salvado. 160 years later New Norcia is still home to Benedictine monks and the monastery is one of the 28 heritage buildings listed on the National Estate. But it's not just the monks' dedication to peace that makes New Norcia so special. It's also the town's eclectic monastic, Aboriginal and European heritage which the monks invite all visitors to discover.
Located just over an hour from Perth City 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 a great number of 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 River.
There are many activities to choose from in Northam such as hot air ballooning, horse riding or white water rafting. To learn more about this beautiful town, why not join one of the Shire of Northam's guided tours. Join experienced and knowledgeable local guides on walking or bus tours to discover Northam's diverse, natural and cultural history.
Toodyay is located around 85km north-east of Perth City 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.
Located just 97km east of Perth City 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 and go fishing.
Plan your trip to the Avon Valley
Find the top accommodation, tours and attractions in the Avon Valley to help plan your trip or contact one of the local visitor centres.