Eye on Avon tourism: Potential of tourism sits in front of us

Tourist Attractions: The York Town Hall and the Toodyay Moondyne Festival are two of the most popular drawcards in the Avon Valley. Photos: Supplied.
Tourist Attractions: The York Town Hall and the Toodyay Moondyne Festival are two of the most popular drawcards in the Avon Valley. Photos: Supplied.

With the Avon Valley and Wheatbelt Advocate exploring the local tourism industry in past weeks, it has become no secret that the region has the potential to increase visitor numbers.

Although statistics indicate that Northam is on track for its lowest visitor numbers in four years and that Toodyay has stagnated, there are no lack of attractions in the Avon Valley.

We have complied a list of some of our town's biggest drawcards and look to local tourism body Avon Tourism for their say on the industry.


Windward Balloon Adventures

The local business that began in 1982 with local pilots Gren Putland and Marc Bristow-Stagg flying four passengers on the weekends has grown to become one of the biggest attractions for metropolitan visitors.

Now operating up to six days per week with a daily capacity of up to 40 passengers, Windward Balloon Adventures offers a hot air balloon flight and champagne breakfast from early April to mid November.

Bilya Koort Boodja

The Bilya Koort Boodja: Centre for Nyoongar Culture and Environmental Knowledge was opened in August 2018 along the Avon River.

The name, which translates to 'river heart land', protects, celebrates and shares the culture of the local Nyoongar people. Displays cover the Aboriginal six seasons, a sorry space, interactive tours and touch tables.


Town Hall and Visitor Centre

The York Town Hall is an instant eye-catcher on the main street, boasting its majestic Edwardian style, cinema gallery and jarrah staircases that takes visitors back in time. The visitor centre moved into the Town Hall, providing tourists with an abundance of information about the Avon Valley and surrounding towns.

The York Motor Museum

The museum, now owned by locals, displays one of the largest and most-varied collections of cars in the state.

Exhibits include veteran, vintage, classic and racing cars plus motorcycles and racing bikes. Visitors to the attraction can also enjoy archives of colourful collection of posters, motoring memorabilia and photographs.


Moondyne Festival

The free annual festival is one of the biggest events on the tourist calendar. Held on the first weekend in May, the legend of Moodyne Joe, the Avon Valley's legendary bushranger, is remembered and brought back to life.

A highlight of the day is the re-enactment of Moondyne Joe's various escapades throughout the town, his arrests and mock trial.

Connor's Mill Museum

Connor's Mill, located next to the Toodyay Visitor Centre, shares the legacy of one of the town's most prominent businessmen, Daniel Connor. With its historic machinery, the mill shows visitors the process of turning wheat into flour.

Avon Tourism

Avon Tourism chair Colleen Osborn said the region is full of potential but will not achieve maximum results if local councils do not work together.

"We shouldn't be comparing numbers town to town, but instead working together to get people to come to the region," she said.

Next week, the Avon Valley and Wheatbelt Advocate will continue the tourism series by looking at how the Bilya Koort Boodja Centre has fared since its opening nine months ago.