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Rich in Indigenous and settler history, as well as natural beauty, Northampton is one of Western Australia's oldest towns. Step back in time to the convict and pioneering era, or walk amid the spring wildflowers that carpet the Wheatbelt countryside. Northampton is 40 minutes north of Geraldton by car. From Perth, it's a five hour and 20 minute road trip that can include the Indian Ocean Drive, passing beaches, bays, wildflower hotspots and the extraordinary landscape of the Pinnacles Desert. Long before Northampton was declared a townsite in 1864, the area was home to Indigenous peoples - you'll find their ancient rock art on the outcrops at Bowes River Road. European settlement began in 1848, when lead and, later, copper was mined here. Today, this heritage is celebrated at the Railway Precinct where you'll discover the remnants of Western Australia's first government railway line, including station buildings, equipment and rolling stock. Chiverton House Museum also houses a display of historical artefacts, photographs and restored farm machinery, as well as a fascinating herbarium of plants. A visit to the 200 plus classic and antique motors, trucks and tractors at the Motors and Machinery Shed provides another glimpse into the region's past. In spring, the surrounding landscape is ablaze with colourful wildflowers. Take a self-drive tour to a host of popular wildflower hotspots, including Yerina Springs Road, West Binnu Road, Ogilvie Sandplain, Oakabella and Chapman Valley Road. Alternatively, book a tour to ensure you see the best of the blooms. Visit in October and you'll witness another display of colour at the annual Airing of the Quilts festival - a celebration of the town's heritage and local crafts, featuring vintage cars, traditional costumes, entertainment and bright patchwork quilts hanging from buildings along the main street. With an array of dining options and places to stay - from bed and breakfasts and farmstays to hotel, motel, caravan park and backpacker accommodation - Northampton is the ideal base from which to explore. While you're here, head to nearby Port Gregory's spectacular Pink Lake, and Horrocks, with its beautiful sandy beaches and Indian Ocean views.
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