Discover gold fields and ghost towns, history and high adventure in the heart of Western Australia's wild west.
If you love old westerns, you’ll feel right in your element in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia's largest goldfields city. Its historic buildings and colourful pubs are the legacy of more than a hundred years of gold rush history.
Kalgoorlie was born in the gold rush of the 1880s, when hordes of fortunes-seekers from across the country descended on the region. It was a heady but tough period for the early diggers, with lawlessness and disease rife. By the 1960s the population had grown to more than 200,000 people, mainly prospectors, and the region had gained a reputation as a wild west with bandits and prostitutes.
Today million dollar mining companies have replaced the starry-eyed prospectors, but the gold rush romance lives on in Kalgoorlie’s grand old buildings, historic pubs and colourful characters. On Hannan Street – named after Irishman Paddy Hannan who struck gold in 1893 – you can stay at the Hannan hotel and even drink a pint of Hannan lager. Explore a prospector's campsite and heritage buildings in the Australian Prospectors and Miners Hall of Fame. See Aboriginal and Goldfields art in the Flying Doctor's Visitor Centre. See relics of the gold mine dream in the abandoned cottages, huts and shops of the dusty ghost town of Gwalia.
If you want to explore more recent gold mining history, visit the vast Super Pit Mine, which produces about 800,000 ounces of gold a year. At 3.5 kilometres long and 1.5 kilometres wide, it’s as deep as Uluru is high and about the same circumference.
This area is also rich in natural bounty. Explore the tranquil eucalyptus forests, wide sweeping plains, dry lake beds, low lying scrub land and spinifex fields on a trek or four wheel drive, but make sure you pack your pioneering spirit. As well as striking landscapes, you’ll find an abundance of bird life, including the chuditch, mallee fowl and dunnart.
Back in town, it’s hard to resist the friendly locals and their unique outback spirit. Join the festivities for their famous horse race, The Boulder to Kalgoorlie Cup. Or have a yarn with an old-timer in the pub. With one on just about every street corner, you’re guaranteed an entertaining night out.
Out here adventure, golden history, outback landscapes and colourful characters are the real treasure.