Location: Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Western Australia
The first stop on our great Australian road trip was to the outback of Western Australia. We left Perth and drove 6 hours east to the gold mining twin towns of Kalgoorlie-Boulder. Here the area is known as the ‘golden mile’, and is the largest gold producing region in Australia. With only a short two day stay here, we made our own concise tour of Kalgoorlie-Boulder and enjoyed the last of Western Australia’s warmth that we’d experience for awhile.
Things to see and do
1. Questa Casa Bordello
We only drove past this one as we felt the tour price was steep ($25), however, the ladies at the Information Centre (book at the Info Centre) did say that it was a very humorous and a surprisingly historically relevant tour. Perhaps next time we’ll do it when we’re not so stingey, as it did sound rather ‘titilating’!
2. KCGM Superpit
The official KCGM Superpit tour was another tour that we felt was too expensive for our budget ($70 per person), so instead of doing the tour we drove up to the free look out just outside of town and got a great view into the pit. Later we found out that on Boulder Market Days (third Sunday of the month), KCGM runs one hour tours of the Super Pit, departing from the Historical Society in Boulder at 9am, 10am and 11am. So if you are there on the right day, sign up and make sure you’re wearing closed in shoes and long sleeve shirts and long pants.
3. See the main street
Kalgoorlie’s main street is surprisingly well kept! A lot of the original buildings are perfectly preserved and are still in use today. We particularly liked the facades of the many pubs, with a lot of them still pulling pints too! A short drive over will take you to Boulder’s main street, although smaller it is just a well kept and filled with equally beautiful heritage buildings as those found in Kalgoorlie.
4. Inside Australia
Just outside of Kalgoorlie in the town of Menzies is the largest sculpture installation in the southern hemisphere. Spread over 10 square kilometers of Lake Ballard’s white salt plain is Anton Gormley’s ‘Inside Australia’. A 51 statue commission he created for the 2003 Perth International Arts Festival, with the ‘Insiders’ being formed by the measurements of the inhabitants of Menzies. We also camped for a night here for free and were treated to an eerie night amongst the ‘Insiders’.
After two day here I came to like it a lot, mainly because it reminded me of my birthplace, Karratha; both towns built on the back of mining, both towns consumed by the red dust of the Western Australian outback. For the short time that we spent in the area I felt it was enough for us to see the main sights and get a good feel for the place, and had we stayed longer we would have definitely explored more of the ghost towns located north of Kalgoorlie, and followed the Golden Quest Discovery Trail. The only sight I was disappointed in was the view from Mount Charlotte, which is meant to give you views out and over Kalgoorlie-Boulder, but the area is flat and you don’t really see that much, so I’d give it a miss next time.
I think I’d definitely return to Kalgoorlie though, and I look forward to having that red dust stain everything I own and flood my mind back with memories of my childhood.
If you’re thinking about doing the Nullarbor crossing, read my article on our crossing here for some ideas on where to stay and what to see.
Featured image by Auyeung Photography, all other images by Jelena Stipanicev.