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York Self Drives - The wonder of the West

  • Half day
  • 94 km
    • 4WD Easiest

“The wonder of the West burst open: under dark and rushing cloud….” Robert Laurence Binyon.
A scenic tour of undulating farmland, with spectacular granite outcrops crowned by Wandoo and Salmon Gums.

Turn left into  Qualen West Road to find a site of Noongar significance. Timeless, unchanging natural landmarks were often used as waymarkers by the Ballardong Noongar people and still hold significant meanings in traditional culture. Sometimes called 'the Balancing Boot' today - what do you see?
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Trail Start

Get directions

York Visitor Centre, York Town hall, 100km (1 hour 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

Setting out through Blandstown, the oldest part of York, look out for the former King’s Head Hotel, opened in 1848 by early York settler Robert Doncon. An advertisement in 1862 described the establishment as containing ‘a drawing room, parlour and dining room, ballroom, 10 bedrooms, bar and tap room, commodious kitchen and pantry with a large baker’s oven , also extensive cellarage" .
Photo: Shire of York

Another early hostelry was the Albion Inn, with the single storied annexe (the bar) built c1859. The building dates from c1860 and later, first licensed to W. Edgar in 1861.
A rare example of a colonial hotel, it was originally constructed with a large cellar.
Photo: Shire of York


After passing the former Albion Hotel, turn right down Knotts Road

Turn left into Qualen West Road to find a site of Noongar significance. Timeless, unchanging natural landmarks were often used as waymarkers by the Ballardong Noongar people and still hold significant meanings in traditional culture. Sometimes called 'the Balancing Boot' today - what do you see?
Photo: Shire of York

At numerous points along the road there are granite outcrops, providing perfect photo-opportunities for those keen on landscape photography. Photo: Shire of York

Turn right onto Talbot Hall road (gravel) to find a relatively intact Wandoo woodland with an understorey of flowers and shrubs, a pure delight in wildflower season and one of the most enchanting Reserves at any time of year. Nearby is Talbot Hall, an enlargement of an early C20th school. Photo: Shire of York


Continue along Talbot Hall road, ignoring McDougall Road ahead on a sharp right bend.

Meeting Talbot road, you can turn right for to complete the 40km short route and return to York, or turn left to reach the junction with Talbot West road.
Photo: Shire of York

From this point you can choose to go to Beverley and link up with the 'South of My Day's Circle' York self-drive route to return to York, or travel back through Wandoo woodlands and along the Great Southern Highway, linking up with the 'Sky O'the North' York self-drive route.

The drive takes you through part of the Wandoo National Park to emerge on the Great Southern Highway. Turn right and soon you will come to Mt. Observation picnic area set in the beautiful Wandoo woodlands.
Photo: Audrey Sole

Turn left 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

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

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


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

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

Talbot West Road becomes Waterhatch Road which will take you to Avondale Farm with its Agricultural Museum, historic settlement area, bush reserve walk and drive trails. Visit website for more information and opening times. (opening limited) Photo: Hollie Smith

Stop off in Beverley where the Beverley Cornerstone Visitor Centre has superb new displays, information and friendly staff to help you enjoy your visit to the town.

There's a choice of country pubs and cafes to refuel you and a service station to refuel your vehicle. Street murals, Art Deco architecture, an aeroplane and small shops are some of the unexpected finds in this quiet country town.
Photo: Shire of Beverley

Discover connections to the past by wandering among the early settlers' graves in this tranquil sanctuary beside the Avon. St. Peter's Church was designed and built by Rev Patrick Gibney.
Photo: Shire of York

A great place to stay, or picnic, for those who love a natural bush setting but with modern amenities. Toilets, plenty of BBQ's and picnic facilities, an idyllic get away from it all in your RV, caravan or camping.
Photo: Shire of York

Look out to the right after passing Gwambygine Park for a hillside cliff marked with deep brown-red streaks. A massacre took place near here in 1837 and these marks have become known as the symbolic blood of the Ballardong people killed in that attack. Photo: Shire of York

Much older than the farming landscape are the surrounding hills which speak of Ballardong Noongar cultural heritage. Look out for the Wargyl (Rainbow Serpent) track to your left as you approach York; bare land in a distinct trail up the hillside. Photo: Shire of York
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This scenic drive through the beautiful Talbot area offers three options. The nucleus of the drive is a 40km loop taking in theTalbot Hall and Reserve, one of the Shire's most unspoilt Nature Reserves, providing a perfect insight into this scenic area and some great photographic opportunities. 

It can be combined with an upper loop of 80km travelling through the Wandoo National Park, calling at a number of Nature Reserves and the historic St. Ronan's Well. This section is ideal for wildflower season during August and September and can be linked to the York Self Drive 'Sky O'the North' route.

Alternatively, a lower loop of 94km goes south towards Beverley and joins up with the 'South of my day's circle' self drive route. 

York Visitor Centre

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Be trail ready for York Self Drives - The wonder of the West

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

Time / Duration

Half day to full day experience depending on section chosen.

Length

94km

What To Pack

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

Trail Start

York Visitor Centre, York Town hall, 100km (1 hour 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 only. 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. Beverley has similar facilities.
  • First Aid Equipment
  • Public Telephone
  • Public Toilet
  • Shop
  • Toilet Facilities for Disabled
  • Visitor Information Centre

Best time of year

All year round. Especially scenic during late May to October with wildflowers from August to October.

Fees

National Park fees in Wandoo National Park only

Trail Access

Road

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