York, in the idyllic Avon Valley, is only an hour from Perth but it feels like a world away.
It’s where you’ll find Laurelville Manor (18 Panmure Rd, York); it’s a beautifully restored country house set back high from the township of York that’s perfect for a romantic getaway. Once there, you don’t actually have to leave. Just stay in-house to take advantage of the living spaces and beautiful grounds, with hundreds of roses and walks on the property. You can borrow a bike for a casual cycle tour into York. The township itself has a romantic charm – established in 1831, it has well preserved Victorian and Federation buildings.
Drop into the York visitor centre for info on local walks. Tackle the trek to the top of Mount Brown for great views of the town and across Avon Valley. If you want to take your romance to even greater heights, York is renowned for its hot-air balloon rides (flying season is April to late November).
Take the slow road back to Perth via Northam and Chittering Valley Road (look for the lavender farm along the way). Before turning left to Perth, head north a little way to Bindoon Bakehaus. Many people from Perth make the pilgrimage here just for lunch (try the lamb and rosemary pie and any of the sweet treats). Once fed, head back to Perth via the Swan Valley, leaving time to visit its wineries and produce stores.
EAT AND DRINK This is a small WA country town, so you don’t have a lot of options. At Laurelville Manor, owner Sandra Paskett does a home-cooked meal (with amazing desserts) and a high tea (there’s usually a cake stand tempting you in the kitchen). Other options are the York Palace Hotel (it’s just reopened and serves up dishes that are a level above country pub fare), the Flour Mill Cafe and, a little up the road, The Duke in Northam – known by locals as a “flash” hotspot in the region.
STAY If Laurelville is booked out, look to the quaint-but-comfortable York Post Office Apartment. Right on the main street, it’s the perfect base for exploring the small town. Lavendale Farmstay & Cottages is another option. They do campfires in the evenings when there are no fire bans.
GET THERE York is a 90-minute-drive east of Perth. TransWA coaches service the town. Check the GS2 and GE2 timetables online. Avoid visiting in the height of summer, when the inland town swelters, and if you’re heading there in the wedding season (spring/early-summer) go midweek.