By: Tatum Stafford
What do the world’s oldest emu farm, an all-year Christmas shop and an archery park for beginners have in common? They’re all found in Toodyay.
Founded in 1831, this quirky town is one of the State’s most beloved day trip destinations because of its bushranger history, sweeping natural landscapes and local charm.
Start the car, we’re heading to Toodyay.
At a glance
|Distance from Perth||82 kilometres, under an hour and a half's drive|
|Why go?||To visit one of Australia’s biggest Christmas shops, learn about WA’s intricate history with bushrangers and outlaws, indulge in locally produced gourmet food and wine, and experience some of the State’s best wildflower displays in springtime.|
|When to go||
Dec - Feb: Summer is an idyllic time to explore the town’s natural attractions, scenic lookouts and nearby wineries.
|How long to stay||As it’s quite a small town, Toodyay is a great day trip destination.|
|Need to know||There are plenty of places for food and drink, a petrol station, a post office, supermarket, bank and auto centre. There are free WiFi hotspots around the town, but be prepared to lose reception if you venture out of the town centre. The visitor centre is centrally located on Piesse Street, and has a range of maps and local guides on hand.|
|Fast facts||Town population: 1,408
Indigenous people: Noongar.
|Insider tip||Toodyay’s clear night skies offer some amazing stargazing opportunities. Catch a sunset at Pelham Reserve, and then pop over to Connor’s Mill or the Newcastle Gaol for a view of Toodyay’s historic buildings under the stars.|
|Related road trips|
Top things to see and do
No visit to Toodyay is complete without a visit to one of its most iconic attractions – a Christmas shop open ten months of the year. Christmas 360 is jam-packed with Christmas paraphernalia; selling everything from elf-themed wine bottle stoppers to life-size Santa statues. There’s a tree section, a lights section, walls of baubles and more than a few elves on the shelves - so if you’re in need of a little Christmas cheer (no matter the time of year), plan a stop-off at this festive shop.
7 of WA's quirkiest attractions »
Newcastle Gaol Museum Precinct
Toodyay's Newcastle Gaol was built in 1865, and was eventually replaced by the 1907 Lock-up. The infamous bushranger Moondyne Joe was one of the lock-up's most notable inhabitants - and today, you can visit the cell that was commissioned to deter other prisoners from mimicking Joe’s dramatic escape. Entry to the precinct also includes a visit to the Old Police Stables, Convict Depot Barracks and Wicklow Shearing Shed. A ticket will set you back $5 per person, or $12 for a family pass.
Hoddywell Archery Park
This 50-acre archery facility is the perfect place for beginners to try their hand at archery. The park offers a number of archery trails with both short and long-distance targets that weave archers through the property’s natural bushland. Equipment hire is available onsite on weekends and school holidays, so all you’ll need to do is turn up.
Toodyay Food & Picnic Trail
For a unique food and wine experience, check out the Toodyay Food & Picnic Trail. Along this self-drive trail, you’ll meet local growers and producers of dates, olive oil, wine, breads, meat and condiments, filling up your picnic basket as you go. Once you finish the trail, take your pick from Toodyay’s riverside areas, nature reserves and parks to enjoy your picnic at - we’d recommend popping over to the Pelham Reserve look out for a scenic view of the town.
Free Range Emu Farm
Ever wanted to get up close and personal with an emu? The Free Range Emu Farm in Toodyay is the oldest emu farm in the world; where visitors can view adult emus, nests and checks in their natural setting. You can also get a glimpse at the incubation and hatching process on a guided tour. Though the farm is open daily, it’s advised you call ahead before your visit.
Toodyay Miniature Railway
Opened in 1996, the Toodyay Miniature Railway is 1.1 kilometres long and is owned by a local hobby club. The trains consist of petrol engines, a coal-fire steam locomotive and an electric battery. A train ride is a great way to keep the kids entertained – but be sure to check in with the visitor centre before your visit, as the trains are only open on certain days and have a specific school holidays schedule.
Go on a wildflower walk
Toodyay experiences an explosion of wildflowers each spring. Hotspots around the town include the Dawn Atwell Reserve, the Wongamine Nature Reserve and the Rugged Hills Reserve. All of these walks are under 10 kilometres, and feature species such as mottlecah, the endangered star sun orchid, and the stunning fire wood banksia. Check out this Toodyay wildflower guide for more information.
Toodyay Fairytale Farm
A short drive from the town centre, the Toodyay Fairytale Farm is a must-visit if you’re travelling with young kids. This unique fairytale-themed park is packed with friendly farm animals (including llamas, horses, goats, cows and chickens), outdoor games, a maze and a nostalgia-filled vintage toy museum that parents are sure to love. There’s also a spacious picnic area once it’s time for lunch.
Toodyay is dubbed a ‘motorcycle-friendly region’, so there are plenty of storage facilities and parking spots if you choose to bring your motorbike. Otherwise, key attractions in the town are only a short walk from each other, and there are plenty of parking spots where you can leave your car for the day.
There aren’t any bike hire companies in Toodyay, so it’s worth venturing to neighbouring towns if you’re keen to explore the region on two wheels.
What to pack
In summer, Toodyay is known to hit high temperatures, so wearing light, breezy clothing is a good idea. If you’re visiting in cooler months, bring a light jacket. The town can get very cold on winter evenings, so if you’re staying overnight be sure to pack plenty of layers. If you’re exploring natural attractions, bring a pair of sturdy footwear with you.
There are five main roads into Toodyay; all of which are quite hilly and can contain uneven surfaces, so drive carefully. Read more long distance driving tips.
Need to fuel up before hitting the road?
RAC members get 4 cents a litre off fuel at participating Puma Energy, Better Choice, Gull and Peak service stations.