Browsing Tag

country

Destinations Road tripping

What to do in York, WA – a rural town in Western Australia

March 1, 2016

Remote Northern Western Australia can only be described as a desert- extreme temperatures, and dunes with scrub for miles. As you venture south towards the great city of Perth, small valleys and wooded stretches of road become a sign of relief, and you begin to search out every high-point, hill or mountain, you can find to scramble up and enjoy the view of vast open land.

Located inland (East) from Perth, and boarded by a wonderfully ‘cruisy’ stretch of road, you will stumble upon the tiny town of York. The Shire of York boasts the oldest inland town in Western Australia, and is about a 2 hour drive from the coast- located in the Wheatbelt.

A perfect day trip for anyone finding themselves unhappy in Perth or curious about the surrounds, York is gilded in the sentiments of an iconic and historic Australian town. A quick browse of slightly underwhelming reviews on TripAdvisor gave me a general understanding of what I was in for when my boyfriend requested I grab my camera, the dog, and hit the road to York.

I left Fremantle around 6am and had a leisurely 2 hour drive up the range. Upon arriving in York, WA, the first stop was the 24hr Rest Stop where Luke was camped out at. After a quick coffee and run with the dog, we hit up York Visitors Centre for a de-brief. The Information Matron rattled off an overwhelming amount of things to do and see during our short weekend stay, and advised us to make a plan since many shops closed early (1-2pm) and some were shut on Sundays. After a quick scribble of notes we were away!

What to do in York, WA

Get to town early on a Saturday morning (at 9am) to have the best country town experience.

Firstly, Get to the Bakery

Small towns have a damn good baker, and York is no exception. The bakery boys were the busiest in town, and my god, get yourself a spinach roll, vegetarian pie, and beef pie. While you’re there, add an apple turnover to the list, pull up a chair, and eat yourself stupid. The bakery was adequately priced and the food was fresh.

Visit the Information Centre

Located in the Town Hall, the visitor centre in itself is a must see. As you enter the mid 1800’s building you will be greeted by gorgeous Jarrah floors, a detailed pressed tin roof, and a curved staircase. Walk straight through the doors on the lower level and be greeted by an enormous hall with light pouring down from the roof, and a stage worth twirling on. You can clearly imagine the ‘olden days’ as you dance through this empty hall.

The Lolly Shop

Stroll alongside the herritige buildings dating back from the mid 1800’s, until you reach the Lolly Shop. This shop is packed to the brim with every sweet under the sun. Browse through candy collections or settle on an old favourite

The Olive Factory

Head back on the highway and a 5 minute drive will land you at the York Olive Factory. Browse through a collection of delicious spreads and sauces from around regional Australia, and give the Olive Oil a taste. There’s lemon and chilli, as well as the regular. The highlight of this place for us was the home made flying fox! We had a few runs up and down to burn off our tasty Nutella and Caramel homemade ice-cream!


  
  
  

Perts Pantry

The Mill Cafe is a gorgeous spot for a cuppa, and if you stroll around the side you’ll find yourself in a sculpture garden! Just a little further around that corner and you’ll find a shed ‘General Store’ full of wonderful nick nacks, and finally, next to that shed, there’s a little room called Perts Pantry. This is the best place to stock up on local produce!

The Swing Bridge

As you stroll back into town you’ll follow the signs to the Public Toilets in the park next to the river. This park has a convict-built swing bridge that joins both sides of the river. You can’t resist jumping up and down to see how much force the bridge actually takes! It has recently been maintained with new floor boards and is worth a photo op!

The Lookout

As the sun starts setting, make your way up the hill towards the Lookout. It is here you’ll have a great perspective of how the town is nestled in the valley. We spent the sunset snapping silly photos with our dog and sipping cheap wine while the clouds rolled over and the land turned pink.

The Pub

By now you should be joyfully tipsy and starting getting hungry, and the Pub is the place to be. Step inside and be taken back to the 18th century, with green velvet carpets, original wooden features, and posters from festivals dating back to the 50’s. We ordered the daily special each, Chicken Pineapple Parmigiana’s and a schooner of Swan beer, and rolled back to our base. There’s an entertaining bar area and pool table, as well as a separate dining room in which Luke believes he likely saw a ghost. A very interesting place worth a mozey.

Accommodation

York is full of unique accommodation options. You really need to stay the night to appreciate every aspect of this town and there’s something for every budget. From a farm stay out of town, to bed and breakfasts, a simple motel room, or even free-camp at the 24hr rest stop. The town caters for tourists fantastically and even provides RV and Caravaners with free power and a field of green shady grass. Ideal for our dog and plenty of space for the van.

During our quick little York adventure, we fell in love with the tiny town. It had just enough to offer for day-trippers and overnighters, so we certainly were not bored for a minute! The food and dining options were endless and it was a great weekend away from Perth with your pets and partner!

 

Diary

Finding Nowhere

August 27, 2015

As soon as the sun rays lifted above the horizon it set fire to the earth, bringing swarms of flies and making you sweat from every crevasse. It was 5 am, and as I unzipped the swag a lone fly came to greet me, the first for the day. They stick to every surface on your body- eyelids, lips, nose, and inside your ears- everywhere they shouldn’t go, they do.

image

image

Coffee was on and I managed to pester Him enough to wake and rig the boat for our day of exploring and fishing. We only had a brief window where the tides would allow us to launch and retrieve the boat from the shore, so timing was relatively important. As we drove over the crusty red dirt and into the white powdered sand dunes, I couldn’t help but notice the pristine coastline stretching as far as the eye could see. Not a soul in sight but each other.

image

He backed the car to the edge of the water as it lapped peacefully against the trailer tires. I unhooked the tinnie and started the motor, throwing in a stupid attempt at a little donut before picking him up from the shore, and off we went, into the bluest of blue waters, towards a glistening horizon, on a journey for finding nowhere. It was at this moment I felt truly ‘alone’- at peace. Just us, the only humans for as far as the eye could see, alone with the big ol’ blue. I thought of how some might call this moment one of ‘calmness’ but it couldn’t be farther.

image

image

The ocean tides were strong, gushing out to sea; birds overhead were screeching to one another; fish were flapping about as sharks pushed them to the surface as their morning meals- this place was ALIVE. There was even a vicious looking sea snake cruising by, and turtles mating in the distance.

Screen shot 2015-08-27 at 2.24.21 PM

Screen shot 2015-08-27 at 2.24.45 PM

Screen shot 2015-08-27 at 2.27.37 PM

It was uplifting, the thought of it being just the two of us, completely alone in this giant blue world. It was liberating. The gorgeous day continued as we found reefs and rocks leading us to some pretty awesome fishing. Ocean fishing is new to him, but even with the wrong gear we managed to score a decent catch throughout the day. Watching the enormous tides turn from our tiny tinnie was a breathtaking experience. We were simply fluff in a washing machine, being thrown around as waves broke in every direction. Not a lip of wind yet we were flung across the big blue like a dandelion– it was time to get out of there.

Returning to camp as a sunburnt cherub, I was a changed soul. My mind was opened and from that day on the water at Cape Leveque, I became scarily addicted to the feeling of being without humans, and oh what a glorious feeling this was.

image

image

Only in solitude do we find ourselves; and in finding ourselves, we find in ourselves all our brothers in solitude -Miguel De Unamuno

Diary Road tripping

Finding Peace – Making My Australian Van-Life Home

August 17, 2015

Making Australian van-life home and finding peace

Nothing. Nothing is what I had, and yet it was what I searched for most. Vast emptiness was my dream, and the land- Outback Australia- was now my home.

‘Home’. My suburb was a sparkling speck on the glowing orange horizon. The window was down and my feet dangled in the humid Queensland breeze as we drove as far as we could away from everything we knew. The first few days were tormenting, traces of humans stalked us at every camp we made. From the low hum of ACDC blasting from a shitty ute across the fields in which we pitched, to ciggie stubs and XXXX cans littered on the croc riddled river bed. We needed to go further, we needed to find Australia- the land, the wilderness, and the outback.

10665626_1475575616053068_1640257879_n

10611280_147927942044564_1898502926_n

Anxiety and frustration tangled with excitement and curiosity as the first few days flew by in a heartbeat. I had my tasks –swag set up and damper prep, as did he- fire, chairs and wood collection, and without exchanging words we worked like ants at each glorious sunset.

10632395_363877897095028_453075942_n

North-West Queensland was unlike any country I had seen before– the land was harsh and dry, the dirt was a patchwork of rich red that pierced through fields of sharp rocks and dead grass, and the sky was a dull blue haze with not a cloud in sight.

IMG_8898

He drove in silence, simply following the highway, as I was lost in my mind daydreaming about what great discovery lay ahead. We camped in dry creek beds and at the edge of fields off the highway, constantly aware of a human presence lingering. With every dirt track, we veered off the road in the hope of driving to ‘nothing’ but were continually met with fences, closed aboriginal land and sacred grounds in which we could not cross. Where was this vast land we dreamed so much of?

10683912_648781188576614_220975007_n

10624378_681923978570419_1777871023_n

As I sat, defeated, on a derelict park bench overlooking the Gulf of Queensland, I realised that my expectations had drowned my experience. It felt as if my great adventure had consistently been so far from my reach, and that whole time I had been simply chasing my exploration of a lifetime. That was it, the last straw- this was not the life I wanted yet I had nothing to go back to. Maybe it was the bottle of Chandon I was drinking, or the fact that I turned 22, but that day I let go of all control and expectations. I was already on my journey, and it was goddam magical. My great Australian van-life home is complete.

a