Take a pleasant, 132 kilometre drive north of Perth and you’ll find yourself in New Norcia, the only monastic town in Australia. Founded by Spanish Benedictine monks in 1847, this unique and historic place is worth a visit – don’t miss the local bakery, locally made wines and impressive Abbey Church.
The museum and art gallery is part of the Visitor Information Centre, which runs guided tours offering insights into the area’s history – it’s excellent value.
The historic old buildings in New Norcia are reminders of a time in Australian history when settlers carved lives from harsh environments – worth a look.
Most people visit New Norcia as a day trip, but you can stay overnight in the heritage hotel or monastery guesthouse. There’s terrific star-gazing here!1
The European Space Agency operates a ground station on land owned by the New Norcia monastery. The remotely operated satellite dish and support structures cost $28 million to build and have been running since 2003. While you’re pondering deep space, tuck into some bread from the bakery. The oldest surviving building in town is the flour mill, which has been doing its thing since 1879. It’s the oldest functioning mill in Western Australia – and possibly the whole country.2