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Free Range Emu Farm offers tours of their working
farm from March to November, where kids ($2) and
adults ($5) can learn about the emu farm and see the
adult emus, chicks, nests and incubation process in
season. There’s also a shop offering ice-cream and emu
products, plus you’ll find barbecue facilities on site.
In the air
York is home to Australia’s largest skydiving centre,
which offers tandem and solo jumps or accelerated free
fall. If you’re skydiving with friends there’s a pool, sauna,
licensed bar and cafe waiting for you on the ground.
If falling out of a plane isn’t for you, consider a hot-air
balloon ride; lifting off at dawn in Northam you’ll float
over the rural landscape as the sun rises. Further south
in Beverley, you can learn how to fly a glider at the
Beverley Soaring Society, or take a joy ride if you’re
not ready to commit to a flying course.
Regardless of your beliefs or background, visitors
are welcome to join the monks for prayer at the New
Norcia Benedictine Community. The timetable can be
found on the New Norcia website, and it’s best to arrive
five minutes early so you’re able to grab a brochure.
If you want to extend your time with the monks, the
New Norcia Guesthouse offers a spirituality retreat (one
weekend per month).
Old school sweet store Penny Farthing Sweets is
a must-visit in York. It’s packed to the brim with lollies
and candy; parents will be impressed by the old-
fashioned range, many of which are imported from
the UK. The store also stocks ice-cream from the York
Ice Cream Company (also available at York Olive Oil).
There’s no refusing ice-cream with flavours like salted
caramel, chocolate hazelnut (Nutella) and Espresso.
Yenyening Lakes near Beverley are often used for
competitive waterskiing but are great for casual skiing,
canoeing and surf-cat sailing. Facilities include a boat
ramp, shower and kids playground. On dry land there’s
Hoddywell Archery Park, ideal for a family day trip with
As part of Australian
Heritage Week, Avondale
Discovery Farm will be open
for the Easter and ANZAC
Day weekends. Wander the
1850s homestead, admire
the Clydesdale horses in
the 1890s stables and be
amazed by the range of
agricultural machinery in the
museum. Entry by donation.
Beverley, Easter & ANZAC
Day long weekends, Apr.
Celebrate Avon Valley’s
anniversary with a picnic and
free community concert.
The West Australian
Symphony Orchestra and
West Australia Opera will be
the highlights, and there will
be pre-show performances
from local community bands
Northam, Apr 12.
This festival celebrates
the life of Moondyne
Joe, Western Australia’s
legendary bushranger. Join
in the fun as Moondyne Joe
runs around town, robbing
shops, escaping custody
and being a general
menace. There will be Joe’s
Gang, coppers, floozies,
swaggies and the town crier.
There’s also a moustache
and cleavage competition,
plus an 1860s regiment,
wood chopping, blacksmith,
wood turning, art exhibition,
antique collectors’ fair,
car club display, children’s
activities, circus and town
fair. Make sure you dress
in pioneer costume!
Toodyay, May 4.
Over a five-day period,
furniture restorer Tim
Harris will be available to
chat to visitors and answer
questions while restoring
several pieces from the
museum’s collection. Using
traditional methods he
will work in full view of the
public in the temporary
exhibition room at the Gaol.
Newcastle Gaol, Toodyay,
GOURMET FOOD &
Tempt your taste buds with
around 80 gourmet food
and wine stalls from all over
the region. There will be
cooking demos, door prize,
a long table dinner, market
stalls, beer, cider, yabbies,
cheeses, chocolates, chillis
and much more. There’s also
kids’ rides, face painting,
Clydesdale rides and a baby
cuddly animal farm
Centre, May 31-Jun 1.
Spend the day enjoying
stories of the state’s convict
past, from cruel governors
to notorious bushrangers,
and view convict artifacts
from the Newcastle Gaol.
School children can become
convicts for a day with
uniform and mock trial.
Newcastle Gaol, Toodyay,
Jun 1-Aug 31.
public shooting trails for beginner, intermediate and
advanced shooters – there’s also an archery museum
onsite. Golf lovers will find a course at each town,
many of them open to the public upon enquiry.
Playing the courses over a couple of days is ideal for
a lads weekend or for those looking for a challenge
away from the city.
The Avon Valley towns have many historical buildings,
from aeronautical and motor museums, to the
somewhat eerie old gaols and courthouses – a number
of these are said to be haunted. Railway enthusiasts
will enjoy the Old Railway Station in Northam (open
most days), while Connor’s Mill and the Cola Cafe and
Museum in Toodyay are must-sees. The York Visitor
Centre can provide you with the York Heritage Trail
booklet, which has four self-guided walks that take in
historic buildings. The York Mill is a particular highlight
the four-storey structure is home to displays of art,
furniture and crafts, plus there’s an excellent cafe.
Goomalling’s Oak Park Reserve has 149 hectares of
remnant native vegetation. Follow the signs that tell you
about the wetlands, granite outcrops and bush, and
also provide information about the traditional owners
of the land, the Balardong people, and the settlers who
arrived from 1899. Look out for a range of flora and
fauna unique to this area, including orchids, rare daisies,
kangaroo rats, echidnas, and water birds such as the
grey teal, black-winged stilt and the white-faced heron.
Pelham Reserve Lookout offers views northwest over
Toodyay, picnic areas and walk trails. The memorial
and native plant garden honours James Drummond,
the colony’s first resident botanist and one of Toodyay
District’s pioneer farmers. Further south, the Bilya Walk
Track follows the Avon River from Duidgee Park to
Nardie Cemetery. The Bird Hide at Red Banks Pool,
Lloyd Reserve, conceals birdwatchers who are keen to
observe some of the sixty or so species of waterbird
recorded along the river. Bird lovers and passersbys can
peer through its windows to the river and read the signs
that depict some of the common birdlife in the area.
Ballooning over the valley is a popular local attraction.
WASO will play at the Valley’s Centenary concert.
WHAT TO DO
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