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17 Amazing Things to Do in York, WA & The Avon Valley

Last Updated on 31 May 2024 by Ariana Svenson

Have you been wondering about the BEST things to do in York, WA and the Avon Valley? I’ve got you covered!

One of my favourite places to go for a weekend getaway from Perth is York. As the oldest inland town in Western Australia, it oozes historical charm, has a small country town feel and feels far flung from the hustle and bustle of the city.

York also makes a great pit stop on your next Wheatbelt road trip. A good road trip option that includes York is our Perth to Esperance itinerary.

The surrounding farmland is fertile and gorgeous in the extremely picturesque Avon Valley, especially during the wildflower season.

We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land, the Ballardong Noongar people.  We honour and pay our respects to their elders, past, present and emerging.

How to Get to York from Perth and Elsewhere

York is a 1.5-hour drive East of Perth. You can visit York on a day trip from Perth, as part of a road trip, a weekend getaway from Perth or a longer stay.

If you plan to visit York from the states in Eastern Australia or elsewhere, you will first fly into Perth Airport – the gateway to Western Australia. There are several direct flights from around the world, including the UK.

The best way to get from Perth to the shire of York is to drive. Begin on the Roe Highway (State Route 3) and continue to the Great Eastern Highway. This road leads into the Avon Valley – a very scenic drive.

green shield of york northam on street

As you approach the town of Clackline, watch for signs directing you to York via Spencers Brook Road or continue on the Great Eastern Highway until you reach the turnoff to York Road.

You can also catch the Transwa coach from East Perth Terminal several times a week, which takes 2 hours to travel. Alternatively, you could take the train from Perth to Northam on the AvonLink and catch a bus or taxi to York.

red flowers

The BEST Things to Do in York, WA

There are so many amazing things to do in York, WA, it’s hard to know where to start! Whether you’re looking for a quiet getaway in the Avon Valley, an adventure-filled holiday, or an opportunity to learn more about the history of Western Australia, York offers a treasure trove of experiences. Here are our top recommendations.

beautiful histpric building, york avon valley, western australia

1. Stop at the York Visitor Centre, WA (Adjacent to York Town Hall)

Local visitor centres are the best place to get local, inside info about a town, and the York Visitors Centre is no exception – they have information about everything, including walk trails, wildflowers and historical trails.  

The visitor centre is a very glorious building indeed (that is worth a picture, at least!). Built in 1911, the York Town Hall evokes another time when optimism for growth in Western Australia was at an all-time high.

Ensure you view the staircase and upstairs dress circle and wonder how such a small town could make such an opulent investment.

2. Shop Along Avon Terrace

Step back in time and enjoy the atmosphere of Avon Terrace’s historic buildings while also getting in some shopping as you wander up and down the main street.  There are several quirky and eclectic shops in York, including:

  • York Olive Oil Co. Boutique: Discover the region’s flavours with a visit to this boutique. Here, you can sample and purchase locally-produced olive oils and gourmet foods. The shop also offers a selection of handcrafted items that showcase the area’s agricultural roots.
  • Art & Craft on Avon: Celebrate local creativity at this cooperative gallery, featuring works from York’s talented artists and crafters. With a wide range of jewellery, textiles, and ceramics on display, it’s a great place to find unique and handcrafted pieces.
  • Good Life Store: This store is dedicated to sustainable living. It features eco-friendly products, homewares, fresh local produce and bush tucker. It’s a great place to discover environmentally conscious goods and local flavours.
  • Flour Mill Emporium: Located in the historic Old York Mill, this emporium houses local artists’ works, pottery, gifts, and second-hand furniture. 
  • Barclay Books: Located in the charming Old Fire Station, Barclay Books has a cosy atmosphere and offers a wide range of old, new, used, and rare books. 
  • Sock Factory: While not on Avon Terrace but down by the river, this WA-owned and operated company is the last sock manufacturer in the state. It’s a unique place to visit for high-quality, locally-made socks.
york candy shop, Weekend Getaways from Perth

3. Penny Farthing Sweets

This one will excite the kids—an amazing old-fashioned sweet shop with all sorts of confectionery, interesting lollies, and unique sweets. Penny Farthing Sweets also has plenty of fudge and chocolate. It’s just like stepping back in time; it was a lot of fun.

However, remember that this is not a kid’s toy shop; it is an adult collectors’ shop, so some decorum is appropriate.

4. York Residency Museum

If you like knowing a bit about the history of an area, the York Residency Museum would be your “must-stop” in York and one of the main York places of interest for you.

We arrived without much time and missed the guided tour and interpretative sections of the tour – in fact, we only spent about 30 minutes, which was a real shame.  

This beautiful complex was originally built in the 1800s and has been added over time. It encompasses the court, gaol cells, and police quarters.

This building has great contrasts, like from the grand courthouse to descending through the tiny, cold cells of the old gaol. 

The back section also tells the story of country policing from the days of the first convicts to the late twentieth century, which is very enjoyable.

Definitely worth a visit – and allow more time than we did.

5. York Motor Museum, Western Australia

The York Motor Museum is one of the top tourist attractions in York. It’s the oldest and most successful motor museum in Western Australia.

It opened in 1979. It has a unique collection that goes through the evolution of motor vehicles, from iconic movie cars and legendary racing vehicles to historical automobiles dating back to the late 1800s.

Highlights include the original Valiant ute from “Crocodile Dundee,” signed by Paul Hogan. A visit promises a day of exploration and nostalgia for the whole family.

6. The Tiny Door Trail

My children were delighted when they stumbled on a Fairy door along Avon Terrace… and then another one.   

It turns out that the Fairy Doors were part of the Tiny Door Trail, and brochures are available from the Visitor Centre located in the Town Hall.   

We should have stopped at the Visitor Centre as our first stop in town, not after a wander up and down the street.

7. The Avon Swinging Bridge 

The Avon Swinging Bridge is one of the top York, WA tourist attractions. It was first built in 1888 and it’s now a major landmark. Originally petitioned by residents who needed a practical route to the town, the bridge was constructed to ease the commute. 

Today, the bridge is a delightful entry point for scenic walks along the Avon River. It’s a popular spot for photography, especially due to its views of the surrounding landscape and as a starting point for walks to the historic cemetery and Mount Brown. 

The suspension bridge, part of the Avon Walk Trail, offers a gentle 7km return journey along the river, promising sightings of local birdlife and animals. Nearby, the riverbanks provide a perfect picnic area, including free gas BBQs and picnic tables.

The bridge is fun to cross because it has a slight wobble when you walk over it.

8. York Playground

The banks of the Avon River offer a perfect picnic spot with free gas BBQs, picnic tables, shady trees and public toilet facilities. 

We had a ball on the double-flying fox, and the nature-play-themed playground kept them busy for ages.

9. The Mount Brown Lookout

You can drive to the top of the Wongborell/Mt. Brown lookout—a point my research failed to tell me, so we didn’t even attempt to get to the top. I thought you had to do the 7km hike to and from town!

The Mount Brown lookout is  342m above sea level and is best to visit for the stunning sunrise or sunset. 

It’s a five-minute drive from the York town site and offers a beautiful 360-degree panoramic view of the town and its surroundings.

The lookout is accessible via Pioneer Drive by vehicle ( a steep Drive to the top). It provides a beautiful 360-degree panoramic view of York and its surroundings. 

Free gas barbecue, toilet and picnic table area are on the right just before the top of the lookout. There is also plenty of parking and turning room for caravans at the top.

10. Mount Brown Hike

Online reviews are not too favourable for this hike. It is a 7-8km loop starting and ending in town, and the reviews describe it as a “hike for hike’s sake.” 

However, if you like exercise, the Wongborel/ Mt Brown walking trail is worth the steep incline (and rewarding views at the top).

11. White Gum Farm

If you love outdoor adventures, the White Gum Farm is the ideal destination, offering many activities.

The farm was originally built to serve the needs of the airfield, and it remains open today as the largest privately owned flight facility in WA. 

Some activities are available to day visitors, while others are only accessible to those booked into the accommodation.

There’s a four-wheel obstacle course (day visitors and guests) and a custom-built water feature on Lake Kimberly where you can enjoy swimming and canoeing (guests only). 

Several walking trails also surround the property. A favourite among visitors is the trail up to Eagles Nest, a scenic 3 km round trip that promises breathtaking views and a tranquil walking experience along the farm’s ‘fire trail.’

If you plan to stay the night, there’s a caravan, camper park, and tent campsites.

12. See Wildflower season in York

One of the reasons we visited York was to see some amazing Western Australia wildflowers; we visited from July until mid-October period – but of course, the most important thing to know is that flowering is variable, so it always pays to do your research in the weeks before visiting, by specifically calling the York Visitor Centre. 

You can download the wildflowers, birds and reserves brochure from the York Visitor Centre here.

13. Bushland Gardens

Established in 2004, the York Bushland Gardens is home to a collection of rare and native flora and a great place to visit in the Wildflower season.

I highly recommend a visit to the Bushland Gardens to fill in the gaps in your knowledge of wildflowers. When you are driving through the countryside, you don’t know what you are looking for—this garden really helps you see a range of different wildflower species—”get your eye in,” so to speak.

Woman in front of a yellow flower field

14. See Canola Fields Near York

Canola is Australia’s major oilseed crop and Western Australia’s third largest crop, behind wheat and barley.  The canola fields near Perth usually bloom around August to September each year, but the length of flowering depends on rains and other environmental conditions.

Remember, there are no canola fields in Perth, but York is a great base for exploring. Truly, Canola fields are stunning sights to see while driving along country roads. Some good spots are:

  • Along the Great Southern Highway just after the Lakes BP Roadhouse.
  • York to Northam Road
  • Spencers Brook Road
  • Mokine Road
  • York to Greenhills

Keep in mind that roadside Canola flower fields can ONLY be viewed from behind the fence line. It’s illegal to enter without permission because the fields are working farmland. By entering, you could contaminate the fields and destroy the cop, not to mention the risk of snakes and chemical spraying.

There are some ‘Canola for Tourism’ locations in York, such as Pet Teet Park, where you can walk through Canola and take photos. Make sure you check the opening times and dates for your dates. You can read more about Pet Teet Park on Instagram.

15. York Festivals

If you’re lucky, your trip to York may coincide with one of the amazing York festivals. York hosts an array of festivals throughout the year. Here are some key festivals to consider adding to your itinerary when visiting York, WA:

  • York Motorcycle Festival: The York Motorcycle Festival is a must-visit. This festival is usually held in April and attracts motorcycle lovers from across the nation annually with its impressive display of classic and modern bikes, stunt shows, and vendor stalls offering the latest in biking gear and accessories.
  • Art and Craft Awards: Held in October, This event showcases the talents of York’s artisans with diverse artworks and handmade crafts. Visitors can expect to see exhibitions featuring everything from paintings and sculptures to handmade jewellery and textiles, celebrating the rich artistic spirit of the region.
  • The York Festival: Taking place during the Noongar seasons of Djilba and Kambarang, The York Festival is a two-week celebration of arts and culture held over set dates in September and October. The festival features a variety of performances, workshops, and exhibitions, including street art, live music, dance, and theatrical productions. 
  • Medieval Fayre: Step back in time with York’s Medieval Fayre, typically held in September. This festival transforms the town into a medieval village for the weekend, with knights in shining armour, medieval battles, traditional crafts, and period food stalls.

Things to do in the Avon Valley and Avon Valley National Park

The Avon Valley is an area of outstanding natural beauty located East of Perth. It stretches 120km along the Avon River. The Avon Valley is famous for its rolling hills, stunning wildflowers, and lush farmland, making it the ideal place to experience a rural lifestyle in WA.

Explore the towns of Northam, Toodyay, York, Beverley and Goomalling, try outdoor adventures and admire the views. The Avon Valley is important in Western Australia’s development, with many heritage buildings and sites preserved in these towns. 

York is ideally positioned to explore the Avon Valley and is the perfect base for exploring the surrounding countryside, whether that’s on one of the popular Avon Valley walks or trying an adventure like hot air ballooning.

Here are some of the top things to do in the Avon Valley.

16. See the Avon Valley on a Hot Air Balloon

Experience the thrill of hot air ballooning – one of the best things to do in Northam. Northam offers some of the most breathtaking balloon flight views in Australia.

Balloon flights operate from April to the end of October/ The cooler weather and favourable winds during these months make for ideal conditions.

Note – we actually intended to get up early and watch the balloon flights but then slept in! 

17. Bilya Koort Boodja Centre for Nyoongar Culture

Located along the banks of the Avon River in the CBD of Northam, the Bilya Koort Boodja Centre is dedicated to educating visitors about the culture and heritage of the Nyoongar people of southwest Western Australia.

It showcases the land management practices used and educates visitors about the depressing history of white policy towards Aboriginal people. There are various interactive displays and exhibitions.               

Map of York, WA and the Avon Valley: Top Things to Do

Accommodation in York, Western Australia

There are many fantastic accommodations in York, Western Australia, especially for families and couples. Stay right in the town centre or opt for a farmstay or countryside retreat nearby.

Settlers House

We stayed at the Settlers House, York, in a renovated Family Room in our Heritage Courtyard. It offers extra space for kids—a Main bedroom with a Queen Bed, seating area, TV, and much more. A door separates the single bed to provide couples with privacy from children or friends.

The bathroom has been renovated, and the apartment is fresh and bright! The room also includes a full fridge, microwave, kettle, toaster, crockery, cutlery, and glassware.

While the historical wing of Settlers House oozes charm, they also have a modern section at the back with comfortable, modern Queen rooms, which would be perfect for families.

To check rates and availability for Settlers House on Booking.com

To check rates and availability for Settlers House look on Agoda.com

See reviews for Settlers House

We also considered these spots when making our decision.

The Nosh & Nod – Avon Terrace

The Nosh and Nod offer self-contained accommodation in the centre of York. Opt for a queen suite with spa bath (sleeps 2), a queen suite (sleeps 3) or a family room (sleeps 4). Each room has a flat-screen TV and kitchen facilities.

Free private parking is available on-site, making it easier to explore the Avon Valley without parking constraints.

To check rates and availability for The Nosh and Nod, look on Booking.com

To check rates and availability for The Nosh and Nod , look on Agoda.com

See reviews for The Nosh and Nod

Hillside Country Retreat

Hillside Country Retreat offers a relaxing escape in the Avon Valley surrounded by farmland. A wide range of accommodation is available, from deluxe double rooms and studios sleeping 2 adults and 1 child to cottages sleeping up to 9 adults and 8 children. 

Hillside provides a comfortable and tranquil setting, whether planning a romantic escape, a family adventure, or a solo retreat to recharge.

The guest rooms have beds and breakfast, and the cottages are self-catering but have kitchen facilities. Outdoor seating with BBQs is also available for guests to use.

If you’re looking for somewhere dog-friendly, this could be the place for you.

To check rates and availability for Hillside Country Retreat look on Booking.com

To check rates and availability for Hillside Country Retreat, look on Agoda.com

See reviews for Hillside Country Retreat

Faversham House (Adults Only)

Faversham House is perfect if you’re looking for adults-only accommodation close to the centre of York. All rooms sleep 2 adults. 

Built around 1840 by the pioneering Monger family, the house is one of Western Australia’s oldest privately owned colonial mansions. It has Victorian-style décor and 21st-century comfort. 

You’ll enjoy an excellent breakfast. Faversham House also has a communal lounge, picnic and firepit area, well-stocked wine cellar, and stunning library. It’s the perfect spot for relaxation and a read. Free private parking is also available. 

It’s definitely a great experience.

To check rates and availability for Faversham House, look on Booking.com

To check rates and availability for Faversham House, look on Agoda.com

See reviews for Faversham House

House against a colorful sunset sky

The York Palace Accommodation

The York Palace is one of the best hotels in York, Western Australia. The central location on Avon Terrace offers the convenience of an easy stroll to nearby eateries and shops.

Stay in one of the spacious and elegantly decorated rooms, each equipped with a comfy sofa for relaxation and a flat-screen TV.  

All rooms sleep 2 people. Several rooms have the option of a balcony or patio, and you can also opt for a suite. Some rooms have a private bathroom, and some even have a spa bath.

To check rates and availability for York Palace Accommodation, look on Booking.com

To check rates and availability for York Palace Accommodation, look on Agoda.com

See reviews for York Palace Accommodation

entrance of farm in western australia

Lavendale Farm Cottages

Lavendale Farm Cottages are a 10-minute drive south of York and one of the best places to experience staying on a farm in Western Australia. Opt for a 1,2- or 3-bedroom self-contained cottage with a private bathroom, fully equipped kitchen and seating area. BBQ facilities are also available outside. 

For kids, there’s a playground, an indoor activity room, and the opportunity to interact with the farm animals. There are three little goats, some sheep, and an alpaca. There are no set feeding times.

However, you will have to use your phone data with no WI-FI. 

To check rates and availability for Lavendale Farm, look on Booking.com

To check rates and availability for Lavendale Farm, look on Agoda.com

See reviews for Levendale Farm

Farmers Home, Northam

Where to Stay in the Avon Valley

These stays in the Avon Valley, WA, are perfect if you want easy access to York but want to be in a countryside location.

Fairway Manor

Fairway Manor Accommodation has breathtaking views over the Northam countryside. This grand country manor is ideally positioned within a five-minute drive from Northam Town Centre, with free parking and walking distance to golf, squash, and tennis facilities.

The accommodation boasts a variety of stylish options, including self-contained studio apartments and king and queen suites, all sleeping two people. 

The manor’s facilities include BBQ areas, a games room, and a large country kitchen. The formal dining area, with an open fire, seats up to twelve. 

The manor’s location also offers a unique vantage point to watch hot air balloons drifting by, with options to book a flight and experience the magic firsthand.

To check rates and availability for Fairway Manor, look on Booking.com

To check rates and availability for Fairway Manor, look on Agoda.com

See reviews for Fairway Manor

Farmers Home Hotel, Northam

The Farmers Hotel is a comfortable and inviting base for exploring the Avon Valley. Each room is designed for comfort and practicality and comes with a desk, flat-screen TV, air conditioning, a private bathroom, and complimentary WIFI. Some rooms also have a terrace.

Most rooms sleep 2 adults and 1 child, but rooms are available that sleep up to 4 adults and 3 children.

The hotel also has a restaurant and bar.

To check rates and availability for Farmers Home Hotel, look on Booking.com

To check rates and availability for Farmers Home Hotel, look on Agoda.com

See reviews for Farmers Home Hotel

The Rec Hotel, Northam

Formerly called Dukes, The Rec Hotel provides luxury accommodations in renovated stables, townhouses, apartments, and deluxe rooms. You can also book self-contained studios and one-bedroom chalets. All options have a private bathroom and flat-screen TV.

On-site, there’s a tapas restaurant, 2 bars, a wine garden and alfresco dining. Takeaway breakfast packs are available at reception.

To check rates and availability for The Rec Hotel Northam, look on Booking.com

To check rates and availability for The Rec Hotel Northam, look on Agoda.com

See reviews for The Rec Hotel

FAQs: Things to do in York, WA

Where is York, Western Australia?

York, Western Australia, is located a 1.5-hour drive east of Perth in the Wheatbelt region. As the oldest inland town in Western Australia, York is near other regional towns such as Northam, Goomalling and Beverley,

Is York in the Avon Valley?

Yes, York is one of the main towns in the Avon Valley which is famous for it’s stunning views, historic towns and agricultural lands.

What is the main street in York, WA?

The main street of York is Avon Terrace. Most of the shops are here as well as some beautiful heritage buildings, delicious local eateries and galleries. Avon Terrace is the main hub of activity in York, especially during festivals and market days.

What towns are in the Avon Valley?

Several towns are located in the Avon Valley, including York, Northam, Toodyay, Beverley, and Goomalling.

Final Words: The Best Things to Do in York, WA and the Avon Valley

York and the Avon Valley are must-visit destinations for exploring inland Western Australia. There’s something for everyone, whether you’re travelling as a family, want a relaxing break, or you’re keen to try out some adrenaline activities.

You could easily spend weeks in York, exploring all the fantastic things to do in York and using the town as a base for exploring all the Avon Valley has to offer!                              

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