Whether Visiting or a Resident, Here’s 5 Reasons Why You Should Visit York, Western Australia!
Want to explore Western Australia but have limited time and means (yep Australia sure is expensive…) we feel you! But with Western Australia being as large as the whole of Europe it’s hard to explore all of it. So to get all those typical Australian experiences in, one has to cherry pick a little or just simply miss out! Want wine country? Head to Margaret River. Want red dirt? Try Wave Rock. But what about just the typical country town experience? Happy days! York, Western Australia is a real taste of country town Australia, right in Perth’s backyard, just 1.5 hours drive East. As an added historical bonus it’s also WA’s first inland settlement, and if you wish to extend your trip for an extra 1-2 days you can also take in Mundaring and Guildford on either side of York to get a well rounded knowledge of WA settlement history. You can see York easily in 1-2 nights maximum. Read on for our guide of things to see and do in York.
The Drive to York
The drive out to York is gorgeous and changes from sparse scrubby bushland, to slightly denser ghost gums, to green fields, dusty sheep grazed fields and bright yellow canola fields. There are even some painted faces on tree stumps at the approx just over halfway point to look out for! Once you get off the main highway – you’ll have to look out for kangaroos, as the York Road is quite windy, with lots of turns. You could easily run into one of these furry critters as there is a lot of bushland either side of the road.
Australian Animals Around York
Just outside of York is the Free Range Emu Farm which offers very cheap tours for getting up close and personal with emus from egg, through chick to full grown life stages. We took a bush walk up to the Mount Brown lookout over York. There is the road which one can drive and walk up or take one of the few bush trails for a chance to see some Aussie flora and fauna. We went quite late in the day so didn’t see much wildlife on the way up but thanks to a friend’s dog we were alerted on the way back to an echidna just off the trail! The view from the lookout over York is gorgeous whether or not you spot any animals on the walk up. Of course, there’s always a chance you will see those Aussie icon kangaroos too!
The Suspension Bridge in York
The wire suspension bridge in York is an unmissable photo opportunity. It crosses the Avon river to join the settlers of the East bank to the centre of York town. Historically it has stood there since the 1890s but thankfully the current iteration was built in 1988 as it feels rickety enough even now… The views are well worth a little adrenaline though and there is a picnic and playground area on the York side to recuperate if required. We also met some friendly York locals on the bridge (Yorkies!) who were only too happy to have a yarn, there’s those country feels!
A Proper Aussie Pub
If you’re reading this post then it’s because you’re in search of some real country town Australia. Well there’s nothing more country than a real Aussie pub in the middle of nowhere. York has one of these just 20 km outside of the town, the Greenhills Inn. This two-storey pub established in 1906 has been maintained in the historic style with the dining rooms and hallways still chock full of period furniture and hangings. It even has 8 bedrooms for those who want a historic setting to stay in. Counter meals include Aussie classics like the chicken parmy and the tap beer selection is, well, very Australian. We found Guinness there in cans at least – phew! Opposite the pub is the hint as to why it was built: it was once the end of the railway line, a town home to 2000 people, where now just the lone pub stands.
York’s Historic Buildings
The York main street is beautifully preserved, the first buildings in York date from 1836 (this is very old for WA with Perth only being established in 1829!). This approx 1 km long main street is home to a number of examples of Australian historic architectural examples including the (in my opinion) real showstopper: the York Town Hall built in 1911 in the Federation Free Classical style. The 1885 York Railway Buildings are now home to a museum. Even the sweets shop Penny Farthing Sweets has been decorated inside to fit with the historic feel of the street. Just outside of the town centre find also the historic York Hospital of the Federation Arts and Crafts style. Opened in 1896 it is now privately owned and visitors are not allowed onto the property. However if you do pass by be on the lookout for the ghost which may stare at you from the windowed front door of this grand building!
Have you been to York and spotted one of the resident ghosts there? Let us know if you have, plus anything we might have missed, in the comments section below.
Until next time, cheers cobber! Erin and Ryan.