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Perth Guide 67
If you’re looking for heritage sites and wildlife, or just
taking in the sights, the various visitor centres within
the Avon Valley have brochures available to guide you
in the right direction. Avon Park in Lowe Street (York)
is a great starting point for families because there are
picturesque picnic spots, a playground for the kids,
free gas barbecues and toilet facilities. The swinging
bridge crossing the river is fun for the kids and
a popular viewing spot. Other walks based in and
around York include the Golf Links Reserve Walk, while
the Oak Park Reserve in Goomalling has a natural and
cultural heritage 3km walk trail. For more extreme trails,
there’s the Kep Track and Dorntj Koorliny trails through
Northam for walking, cycling and hiking enthusiasts.
Pack your golf clubs and play a round at all the sand
green golf courses in the Avon Valley. Each town has
its own small course that makes for interesting play
around the visiting kangaroos and wildlife. Tennis
clubs in the area have courts for public use, and in
summer you can watch country cricket matches being
played on town ovals. The small town of Beverley
is big on sports, with tennis, bowls, a motocross
track and even a tractor-pull association.
Throughout the communities of the Avon Valley
there are many restored heritage buildings from the
Victorian and Federation era. Tours are available from
most of the visitor centres but a simple stroll down
the main streets will reveal a living history. The larger
museums are found in York, Beverley and New Norcia.
Toodyay has Connor’s Mill and the Newcastle Gaol
Museum, which are also worth a visit, and Brookton
and Goomalling have interesting homesteads and
trails available to the public. As the first inland
settlement in Western Australia, York makes for
a popular destination for history buffs. Three
top historic sites to visit when in York are the
Residency Museum, The York Mill and the York
Motor Museum. The York Visitor Centre can provide
you with the York Heritage Trail booklet, which has
four self-guided walks.
Many sections of the Avon River dry up in the summer,
yet there are always spots that retain pools, some of
which make for excellent paddling and swimming.
It’s all things retro here with
vintage vehicles, cycles,
and historical displays
along with clothing,
markets, and arts and
crafts on offer. There’s
even a vintage den. Watch
the swing dancers, taste
some wine, and relish in
the class of yesteryear.
Centre, Mar 1-2 .
OPERA ON THE
Surround yourself with the
dulcet tones of opera as
singers and a pianist from
the WA Opera Company
take to the stage.
Theatre, Mar 8.
With three categories,
there is an event for
everyone. Push yourself
with a 400m swim, an
11km bike ride and
a 4km run, or take the
novice event. There is
also a junior category.
Northam Pool, Mar 16.
IN THE PARK
Pack a picnic and kick up
your heels under the stars
with live music at Northam’s
free event. Drinks and
Northam, Mar 23.
Have you taken
a great photo of York?
All Western Australian
residents are invited to
work for the exhibition
at the Sandalwood
Gallery. The exhibition
is open 10am-4pm daily.
York, Apr 12-21.
Head down to the
Wundowie Oval in
Northam for free
twilight movies on
several dates during
the summer. The movies,
such as Red Dog, are
rated PG and are great
to enjoy with the family.
Northam, various dates.
The suspension bridge that crosses the river at
Northam is a favoured family picnic ground and has
a permanent level of water that’s safe for kids. At
Bells Rapid, used for the Avon Descent, there are
usually pools even in high summer, although caution is
advised. River access is restricted in the national parks.
Consult the park ranger on (08) 9571 1371 or visitor
centres for advice on access points and safety.
Fun with kids
Bringing the kids along for the day or a weekend
needn’t be a drag – the drive to the Avon Valley is
just over an hour. Pack a picnic and stop by the river to
let the kids run amok. Bernard Park in Northam with its
white swans, and the the river foreshore and Avon Park
in York all have playgrounds suitable for young children.
Farm stays are also a popular choice when staying
overnight because the children get to feed the animals
and may even help milk the cows. There is also the
Avondale Discovery Farm near Beverley that is open
to the public. Museums in Brookton, York, Toodyay
and New Norcia will keep the family entertained
while learning about the area’s history.
For high-octane sports, there’s skydiving and paragliding
from York, while Beverley is the area’s motocross hub.
Close to Northam in Clackline is the largest paintball
playing field in WA, which boasts rugged rock canals,
a mystical forest, village and a western fort. For a slower
pace but still with an element of fun, there’s the archery
park in Toodyay or you can cycle a section of the Kep
Track – if you’re keen to test your fitness, cycle the whole
thing, which is 75km from Mundaring Weir to Northam.
Make sure you take plenty of water during summer.
Old Gaol (photography Shire of Toodyay)
Beverley Station Gallery and Platform Theatre
York Town Hall (photography Avon Tourism)
WHAT TO DO
Vintage sign (photography Heather Zubek)
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