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York Self Drives - Sky O’the North

  • Half day
  • 96 km
    • 4WD Easiest

“Sky O’the North that’s vast and still, with a single star to cheer me….” Robert Service.
This route to the north of York shows off the vast skies in this wide open, gently undulating rural landscape. Choose a circular loop or links to Northam and Toodyay to explore further.

Entry is up Fairways Drive  through the Golf Course and it is a lovely walk at any time of year. 
situated within and adjacent to the golf course area. Granite areas and laterite hilltop and ridge. Marri, Sheoak and Wandoo woodland. 

Best Features: Woodlands, Hibbertia, Leschenaultia, Grass Trees, Orchids, Stylidium, many Proteaceae and pea flowers.
Earn 1 Point Wildflower Wanderer

Trail Start

Get directions

York Visitor Centre, York Town Hall, 100km (1hour plus) east of Perth

A nationally significant landmark, its grand Edwardian opulence reflecting the town's prosperity through agriculture and the gold rushes of the 1890's. York Visitor Centre is located here. Photo: Shire of York

Set out on your journey heading towards Perth on the Great Southern Highway.

Entry is up Fairways Drive through the Golf Course and it is a lovely walk at any time of year, situated within and adjacent to the golf course area. Granite areas and laterite hilltop and ridge. Marri, Sheoak and Wandoo woodland.

Best Features: Woodlands, Hibbertia, Leschenaultia, Grass Trees, Orchids, Stylidium, many Proteaceae and pea flowers. Photo: Audrey Sole

Turn into Ashworth road (gravel) to find delicious treats including the freshest Extra Virgin Oilve Oil, pressed here on site, jams, award-winning speciality ice cream and real bread at this foodie paradise, open at weekends. Say hello to the Wara Art straw sculpture of the endangered Western Ground Parrot, perched outside.
Photo: Ilsa Bennion


Carry on up Ashworth road until you reach a T junction and turn left into Mokine Road for a spectacular scenic drive, the roadside is dotted with wildflowers in season.

From August until October the Nature Reserves in the Shire of York are a plant photographer's paradise. Call in at Wambyn Reserve to see Wandoo and sheoak woodlands with granite outcrops and laterite ridges.

Best Features: Wandoo, Orchids, Acacia, Hibbertia, Daisies. No vehicle access.

Photo: Audrey Sole

Tucked away just off the main Great Southern Highway, look out for the sign to St. Ronan's Well, a spring-fed watering point used by the Ballardong Noongar people and developed into a well by early settlers. There are actually two wells here, a large and small one, see if you can find both.

Photo: Shire of York

Turn down Wambyn road (gravel) to find Mt. Ronan Reserve (not St. Ronan's Well) A diverse range of habitat including hilltop, granite, gully, gravel ridges and sandplain.

Best Features: Powderbark Wandoo, Drosera, Orchids, Stylidium, Verticordia, many Proteaceae and pea plants. No vehicle access.

Photo: Audrey Sole

Another option is to carry on the Great Southern Highway a little further until you reach the Wandoo National Park. A short walk trail leads from the shaded picnic area at Mount Observation to an animal viewing hide overlooking a winter flowing creek. Photo: Audrey Sole

Take Wambyn road (gravel) left off the Great Southern Highway and turn right into Leaver road to reach Mokine Reserve.

An excellent short walk in the Northam area, the off-track Mokine Walk GPS Route explores the small but spectacular Mokine Nature Reserve. Dominated by outstandingly beautiful Wandoo forest, the walk features some excellent views from laterite breakaways and an incredible natural wall of granite in the middle of the forest.

Photo: Eric Ayling

https://thelongwaysbetter.blogspot.com/2019/05/mokine-walk-gps-route.html

As you travel up Mokine road, look out for the rare sight of hundreds of grass trees , called Bor or Balga in Noongar language, on an open hillside to your right.

Photo: Shire of York

From the Leaver road junction to Spencers Brook Road the surface is gravel.

At the junction of Mokine and Spencers Brook road, you can choose to go left to Clackline and Toodyay, or right to Spencers Brook and Northam.

Clackline picnic area offers a great rest stop with toilets, BBQ's, heritage information, a scenic rocky gully and even a majestic lion! Photo: JarrahTree...commons.wikimedia.org

Well known for their hearty home cooking. Relax and unwind while enjoying a glass of local ale in the attractive Beer Garden or beside a cosy fire in winter in this historic country pub. Photo: Gaye Lummis

Feeling refreshed, you can head off to Northam or take the Spencers Brook road back to York.

Whilst in the district, discover the living Ballardong Noongar heritage of this area in this stunning purpose-built exhibition space. It makes a perfect family day out beside the Avon river in Northam.

Photo: Shire of Northam

Keep a lookout for the Explorer's marker stone on your left as you travel back towards York on Spencers Brook Road. The stone marks the approximate spot that the first European explorers sighted the Avon River in 1830

Photo: Shire of York

Plan your journey to book the ultimate adrenalin rush at Skydive York - and get a totally different view of the beautiful Avon Valley! Or just keep an eye open for the multi-coloured parachutes floating gently down at weekends.

Photo: Skydive Australia
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From York, head towards Perth on the Gt. Southern Highway, then turn down Ashworth road where at the weekends you'll find a Wara Art straw sculpture and delicious goodies at York Olive Oil and Ice Creamery.

The route then passes through some of the most scenic farmland along Mokine road, but if it's wildflower season (August to mid-October) you may prefer an alternative route taking in several beautiful Nature Reserves.

Spencers Brook Tavern makes a great lunch stop  and there's the option to divert to Northam for the Bilya Koort Boodja Aboriginal Cultural Centre. Turning left will take you via Clackline to Toodyay, another charming small country town. Return along Spencers Brook road to York.  This trail links up with York Self Drives - 'The Wonder of the West' route via the Gt. Southern Highway and with 'To the East I grant my happiness' route via Burges Siding Road. 

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Be trail ready for York Self Drives - Sky O’the North

Here is everything you need to know before visiting this trail.

Time / Duration

Half or full day experience, dependent on choices

Length

96km loop

What To Pack

Group A (Urban trails or short trails near facilities) required.

Trail Start

York Visitor Centre, York Town Hall, 100km (1hour plus) east of Perth

Get directions

Trail End

4WD

Easiest

All-wheel Drive and High Range 4WD vehicles. Suitable for Novice Drivers. 

Difficulty Notes

Includes sections of gravel roads. Please take care and drive SLOWLY on country roads, beware of livestock, kangaroos and large farm machinery . Surface conditions on gravel roads can be changeable, so slow right down, especially when cornering, braking, or moving onto gravel hard shoulders on narrow bitumen roads.

Hazards & Warnings

This route includes gravel roads. Surface conditions can be changeable so slow right down especially when cornering/braking. Please take care and drive slowly on country roads, beware of livestock, kangaroos and large farm machinery.

Facilities

In York: Car and coach parking, water access and public toilets at Howick street. Town Hall has Visitor Centre with shop, water access and public toilets with toilet for people with disabilities and first aid equipment during opening hours 9.30am-4pm daily. Public telephone and many cafes in Avon Terrace. Northam and Toodyay have similar facilities.
  • Cafe
  • Car Park
  • Dog Friendly
  • First Aid Equipment
  • Public Toilet
  • Toilet Facilities for Disabled
  • Visitor Information Centre
  • Water Access Points

Best time of year

All year round. Especially scenic during late May to mid-October

Trail Access

Road 2WD

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Wildflower Wanderer

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