We’re hungrier than ever to get out and explore Western Australia, and with so many fantastic road trip opportunities available to us we truly are spoilt for choice. After recently gallivanting along the South West Edge road trip, we turn our attention inland and to the wild wild west AKA The Goldfields and the Golden Quest Discovery Trail.
WA’s frontier country, it’s a spectacular part of the State steeped in historical significance, quirky outback pubs, incredible art, stunning wildflower-filled vistas and if you happen to strike it lucky – maybe even some gold! So if you’re planning your next adventure and want to stray off the beaten track, here are 10 reasons why you should consider conquering Kalgoorlie and The Goldfields.
Explore the Golden Quest Discovery Trail
If you’ve got a few days up your sleeve the best way to get the most out of your Goldfields road trip experience is by following the Golden Quest Discovery Trail. It covers much of what we discuss below, taking in some of this country’s most spectacular outback landscapes. Kicking off from Perth, it’ll take you on a loop from Coolgardie to Laverton and back, winding up at the Kalgoorlie-Boulder before heading home again. On the drive you’ll find some incredible tops like Lake Ballard’s art installation, the ghost town of Gwalia, Kookynie’s quirky pub and much more.
Pull up at a few fair dinkum outback pubs
We’ve made no secret of our love of fair dinkum Aussie pubs in WA, be they around Perth or further afield, and the Goldfields has some of the best in terms of that quintessential Australian charm you can only find in the outback. Catch up with Willie the horse at Kookynie’s Grand Hotel, marvel at the signature-filled walls of the Broad Arrow Tavern or get some proper history lessons at Kalgoorlie’s Palace Hotel and/or York Hotel. There’s even a few more contemporary options like the Beaten Track Brewery that’ll whet your whistle just nicely.
Marvel at WA’s man-made Grand Canyon, the Super Pit
Whatever your stance on mining, it’s hard not to be impressed by the sheer magnitude of Kalgoorlie’s famed Super Pit. The biggest gold mine – and one of the biggest open-cut mines – on the planet, you can check it out for free or book a tour to either go into the belly of the beast or fly above it.
Get a hole in one on the renowned Kalgoorlie Golf Course
A golf course in the middle of the Australian outback may seem a little crazy, but the Kalgoorlie Golf Course is not only exactly that, it’s actually ranked #18 in Australia’s top 100 public access golf courses, making it one of the best in the country. Even if you’re not too keen on going for a hit, a stop in at the Waterhole Bar & Bistro will provide some excellent food and drinks while you watch the sunset from the verandah.
Be inspired by the Lake Ballard’s eerie art gallery, “Inside Australia”
While a golf course in the Australian outback may seem crazy, an outdoor art exhibition that’s also the most isolated gallery in the world takes the cake. Lake Ballard is home to “Inside Australia”, an installation featuring 51 steel sculptures positioned over a wide salt plain, creating some eerie shadows as the sun descends. For the full effect you can also camp overnight here and cop a starry night sky like no other.
Wonder at rolling plains of beautiful WA wildflowers
From late August through to October to tumbling plains of the Goldfields light up with some of the most unique wildflowers in the country. The best way to see them in this region is to jump on any section of the Granite And Goldfields Wildflower Drive, or maps and wildflower booklets are available from the Kalgoorlie Boulder Visitor Centre.
Take on the old boys in an Australian tradition – Two Up
While generally reserved for ANZAC Day only, you can partake in the iconic Australian tradition of Two Up in the Goldfields no problem. Taking place in the same shed it originated in 10 minutes outside of Kalgoorlie, it’s the only spot you can legally play the game year-round. Just swing by on Sunday arvo from 2pm and bring a few bucks to gamble…responsibly of course!
Immerse yourself in the Goldfields’ rich outback history
Habitation of this area of WA dates back over a hundred years, so as you can imagine there’s plenty to sink your teeth into when it comes to the history of the region. The Museum Of The Goldfields is a fantastic start, likewise Coolgardie and Gwalia also have excellent museums. If you’ve got a bit of juice in the old legs you can also jump on the Kalgoorlie Boulder Walking Trail. For something a little more salacious you can pop into the Questa Casa AKA Pink House, a brothel that’s been in operation for over 115 years! Daily tours provide an insight into a world not many of us know about, but still an important part of Kalgoorlie’s historical DNA.
Try not to get spooked at haunted ghost towns
On a similar tip, the Goldfields region is littered with ghost towns, places like Gwalia and Cossack that were established to capitalise on the minerals booms of the early days before being abandoned. While ghosts are not guaranteed, it’s a fascinating look into the past. Gwalia in particular is a must-do, and THIS article lays out a few more for you.
Pan for gold and find your fortune
Last but not certainly not least, no trip to the Goldfields would be complete without attempting to unearth a fortune and do some fossicking of your own. There is a wide variety of tours you can jump on who’ll help you try and strike gold, otherwise a visit to Hannans North Tourist Mine could land you a juicy nugget or two.
For more info and tips on planning your own Goldfields road trip adventure, head to the Road Trip Country WEBSITE.