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!
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!
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.
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.
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!