The spirit of the gold rush lives on in Western Australia’s outback
The pioneering spirit of the great gold rush lives on in Kalgoorlie, Australia’s largest outback town and home of one of the world’s biggest open cut mines – the Super Pit.
Its grand heritage buildings, lively pubs and restaurants are a striking contrast to the surrounding Goldfields region, where you can tour eerie gold rush ghost towns, vast plains of spring wildflowers and the famous Antony Gormley sculptures.
Discover Kalgoorlie gold
Begin your outback adventure in Mundaring, near Perth, following the Golden Pipeline Heritage Trail along the route of the original water pipeline constructed at the turn of the century to feed fresh water to the Goldfields.
When you arrive in Kalgoorlie, you’ll notice a few things remain unchanged since the 1800s. Majestic colonial architecture lines the main streets, skimpy barmaids serve drinks at historic pubs and the colossal Super Pit (400 metres deep, 3.5 kilometres long and 1.5 kilometres wide) still mines the richest square mile of gold-bearing earth in the world.
Pull on a hard hat and take a tour of the mammoth modern-day mining operations. Try your hand at panning for gold. Visit the original corrugated iron shack where the gambling game of two-up is played. Or play a hole on the world’s longest golf course, the Nullarbor Links – stretching 1,365 kilometres across the Nullarbor Plain from Kalgoorlie to Ceduna.
Gold rush boomtowns and ghost towns
From Kalgoorlie, hit the Golden Quest Discovery Trail on a self-guided tour of Goldfields history to Coolgardie, Menzies, Leonora, Laverton, Gwalia Historic Precinct and long-abandoned gold rush towns. Keep an eye out for kangaroos, emus, wedge-tailed eagles and heritage sites along the way.
Inside Australia: Antony Gormley Statues
Just north of Menzies, take the detour to Lake Ballard, a 10-square-kilometre salt bed transformed into one of the largest outdoor galleries on Earth by world-renowned artist Antony Gormley. His ‘Inside Australia’ exhibit creates an unusual spectacle, with 51 steel sculptures dotted across the vast plain.