Find beauty, romance and a slice of old Spain in the Australian bush.
Take this relaxing weekender to York, Toodyay and New Norcia.
Soak up the serenity of Australia’s only Monastic town, the opulent heritage of WA’s first inland settlement, and the Avon Valley’s natural beauty all within less than two hours’ drive from the city.
Duration: 2 days
Distance: 377 kilometres
Best time: All year round (wildflowers June to November)
Perth to York
Total distance: 97 kilometres
From Perth, follow the Great Eastern Highway for approximately 45 minutes to reach your first stop at Mundaring in the Darling Ranges. Home to WA’s first conservation area, John Forrest National Park, it offers the perfect spot to stretch your legs while taking in striking granite outcrops and waterfalls.
Head further along Great Eastern Highway for another three quarters of an hour to arrive at the grand heritage town of York. Established in 1831, much of its Victorian and Federation architecture has been lovingly restored to house galleries, museums, cafes, restaurants and antique shops.
Those seeking a little more action and adventure can take in views of the Avon Valley landscape from 14,000 feet on a tandem skydive. Search for York skydiving tours.
Stay overnight at any of the many charming bed and breakfast accommodation available in town.
York to Northam, Toodyay and New Norcia
Total distance: 280 kilometres
Rise bright and early to head to Northam (25 minutes away) for a majestic hot air balloon ride over the Avon Valley as dawn breaks, before a gourmet champagne breakfast (pre-booking is essential).
Alternatively, head into the town centre of Northam for brunch at a cafe or restaurant, or grab a picnic breakfast to have by the river at the end of 41 Mile Road. Here, you can cross Northam's pedestrian suspension bridge (the longest of its kind in Australia) and photograph the nation’s only flock of white swans.
Next, head to Toodyay - just a 20-minute drive west of Northam - where heritage architecture offers an insight into life in the early convict era, as well as local arts and crafts, fresh produce, wines and beautiful country gardens.
Enjoy the tranquillity of Duidgee Park on the Avon River, or head up to Pelham Reserve for sensational views of the Avon Valley.
From Toodyay, join the Great Northern Highway to reach New Norcia. Home to a Benedictine Monastery, it's Australia's only monastic town. where monks have been living a simple communal life since 1847.
Visitors are welcome to joing the monks in residence at prayer times, and to take a tour of the the Spanish architecture and museum. Be sure to indulge in the monastery’s famous baked goods before heading back to Perth.
Alternatively, you can extend your weekend away and head into the nearby wildflower country of Moora and Yalgoo to see some of the spectacular blooms that make up the largest collection of wildflowers on Earth.