Avon Valley National Park
One of the smaller National Parks in the hills beyond Perth, Avon Valley National Park is also a lesser known Park, because of its isolation, limited accessability and lack of facilities. Anyone who has travelled on the Indian Pacific train from Perth to the Eastern States will be familar it, as that train passes up this picturesque valley and through the park on its way to Northam.
The Park covers approximately 4,800 hectares of bush reserve and lies on the transition between the jarrah forest of the south, and the drier northern country. The Avon River, which runs through the centre of the park, is named Golguler by the Nyoongar people of the Darling Range. The river is fringed with flooded gum and becomes a turbulent flood in during the winter months, rushing down to join the Swan River in Walyunga National Park.
The valley is best known for being the hide-out of Joseph Bolitho Johns (Moondyne Joe). Moondyne Joe was WA's most infamous bush ranger, whose exploits began after his first escape from the Toodyay lockup in 1861. His cave and corral were located in the north of what is now the Avon Valley National Park, but have been all but destroyed by successive bushfires.
From summer to winter, from north to south, and from high outcrops to deep river and stream valleys, the forests of Avon Valley National Park are constantly changing. The Avon River flows in winter and spring when the river churns over spectacular rapids. During summer and autumn the river diminishes to a series of pools in a bed of granite boulders and tea-tree thickets. The park features forests and granite outcrops, panoramic views over the Avon Valley and the chance to see a wide variety of birds and wildlife.
The roads within the park are all unsealed. The nearest telephone, petrol and food outlets are at Gidgegannup or Toodyay, 30 kilometres from the park. There are some picnic facilities and basic camping sites. The small amount of development means much of the park has wilderness qualities. The best time to visit is during the cooler months. Picnic areas are at Bald Hill, Drummonds Valley and Homestead campsites. Bald Hill is located near the end of Governors Drive and provides views over the valley and park. Drummonds is about one kilometre back from Bald Hill along a short turn-off. Homestead campsite is located on Governors Drive.
There are shaded picnic areas, barbecues and toilets at Bald Hill, Drummonds, and at Valley Campsite on 41 Mile Road
The park is located approximately 80 kilometres north-east of Perth via Toodyay Road. Turn left into Morangup Road, and left onto Quarry Road. Travelling time from Perth is approximately one hour.