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January - June 2012 Scoop Traveller 115
On the road
For motorcycle riders, the journey
from Perth to York is exhilarating,
with sweeping roads such as
Spencers Brook Road heading into
York, and the challenging back
roads of Chidlow such as Riley Road
and Roland Road. For the motorist,
the drive reveals expansive views:
in summer, expect the golden
colours of harvest, and through
autumn the colours turn russet and
then green after rain.
The area around York is a treasure
of Indigenous heritage. Take a
tour of the hills and caves once
inhabited. Stories of the Waugal
(Rainbow Serpent) abound, and
there are also areas of sacred rock
painting and initiation sites outside
York. Most of these areas are
accessed only with tour guides.
For golf enthusiasts or beginners,
playing a round of country golf is
a delight. Bring your own gear.
Northam Golf Course is on Wood
Drive and there is an honour
payment system. It’s too hot to
play in mid-summer, but from
April onwards it’s perfect. Sand
greens and a flat, long course
make for a challenging game.
The Beverley Golf Course along
Forrest Street is a scenic course
and the Goomalling Golf Club
has an attractive course on the
Goomalling-Calingiri Road –
18 holes with sand greens and a
driving range. The season runs
from April to September.
For high-octane sports there’s
skydiving and paragliding
from York, while Beverley is a
motocross hub. If go-karting
is more your style, head to
Goomalling for a race around the
track. Northam, meanwhile, is
the place for paintballing. The Kep
Track crosses near Northam and is
perfect for cycling or walking. For
a slower pace, there’s the archery
park in Toodyay and horseriding
in Northam. If you prefer being a
spectator, don’t forget the country
cricket matches held on town ovals
in summer, and the horse racing.
The Valley clubs have a full race
program from May to October, and
there are racecourses in Northam,
York and Toodyay.
Just 10km south of York is
Gwambygine Park, with one of the
few remaining permanent pools of
the Avon River. Facilities include
gas barbecues, toilets, a children’s
playground and walk trails. A
boardwalk and viewing tower
bring you close to the river pool
and surrounding wildlife. During
high summer the river is reduced
to brackish pools. The Swan River
runs through Walyunga National
Park one-hour’s drive north-east
of the CBD via the Great Northern
Highway. In summer, the river
forms a string of placid pools but
as the rains arrive there is a raging
torrent. The two main picnic sites
are Walyunga Pool and Boongarup
Pool, both with shaded picnic
tables and toilet facilities.
stablished in 1833, the historic town of Northam is the
gateway to the wheatbelt and only 42km from York along
Spencers Brook-York Road. With a population of more than
6000, it’s the commercial centre for the area’s farming
industry, offering galleries, supermarkets and various accommodation
options including quality B&Bs in historic homesteads, hotels, caravan
parks and cottages. The Town Hall, Shamrock Hotel, Old Post Office
and St John’s Anglican Church are all heritage listed. There are a
number of eateries serving different cuisines, and with seven hotels,
pub food is popular. A 15km walk along the Avon River takes in many
places of historical significance and is a great way to explore the area.
Drive | From the Perth CBD take the Great Eastern Highway and
follow the signs, 98km east.
Train | The Prospector train makes trips between Perth and Northam on
its Kalgoorlie route and the AvonLink travels twice daily on weekdays.
Bus | TransWA also provides daily coach services.
Hot-air balloon flight | Between
March and November, take a
trip with one of the two hot-air
ballooning companies in town
Horse racing | Catch it from
late April at Northam’s own race
club in Yilgarn Avenue
Avon River | Watch the white
swans – Northam is the only place
in Australia where they breed in
the wild – plus there are plenty of
shady picnic areas and facilities
along the foreshore of the Avon
River that runs through the town.
c town of
An aerial view of the countryside
(Photography Claude Meunier).
Northam, seen from above.
Hot-air ballooning over the Avon Valley
(Photography Windward Balloon Adventures).
January - June 2012 Scoop Traveller 115
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