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Where jarrah and marri forests meet wandoo woodlands, the Avon Valley National Park offers dramatic seasonal contrasts, with challenging white water rapids creating one of Australia's most thrilling races in winter and tranquil pools echoing the songs of native birds in summer. You can escape to the adventure and serenity of Avon Valley National Park in just over an hour, driving north from Perth city on the Great Northern Highway. By far the grandest ways to travel are by rail or balloon. You can take in some of the Avon Valley's splendour from the carriage of a restaurant train from East Perth, or from a hot-air balloon from nearby Northam. Time your visit to coincide with the Avon Descent and you'll get to witness the spectacle of Western Australia's unique sporting event which challenges local novices and world champions to tackle a gruelling two day time trial, starting in the Avon Valley and finishing in Perth. During winter and spring you can take to the water too, rushing along the white waters on a rafting or canoeing tour. Or, opt to stay on the river bank, taking your pick from a range of easy to challenging bushwalking trails and finding a quiet spot to watch for some of the 90 species of bird that have been seen in the park. Venture to the west, and you'll find a string of charming country towns that have lovingly restored their colonial heritage. From Toodyay's 1870s flour mill and old Gaol Museum to the Northam Heritage Trail and the oldest inland town in Western Australia - York. A popular family day trip, romantic weekender or extended break from city life, the Avon Valley offers some of its grand old buildings as charming bed and breakfasts and elegant country retreats, as well as a host of camping grounds giving you the opportunity to spend a night under a star-filled sky.
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