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Kalgoorlie services the goldfields of Western Australia and is the largest town in the region. We stopped in for a couple of days on our way to the Great Central Road and there was more than enough to keep us interested and plenty of activities to fill a week easily if you wanted to.
We are always trying to find things to entertain our five year old daughter and save money at the same time, so we look for activities that are free or low cost.
Below are some of the things on offer that we found to be interesting and good value in the Kalgoorlie area.
The museum is free entry, but donations are appreciated.
There are heaps of great exhibits including a gold vault and display with some examples of gold found in the area as well as numerous stories from the history of gold mining in the area. There is a whole area devoted to the social history of the area which I found particularly interesting. You can check out their website to see what their current exhibits are.
The museum just keeps on going and if you walk out the back there is an old miners cottage, a small police station and a bunch of other building displays which show how people used to live in the area. We particularly loved the old miners cottage and the stories of the people that used to live there.
Offers a number of walks through temperate woodlands. It is a tiny section of the Great Western Woodlands which is the largest Mediterranean woodlands left in the world.
It has remained largely intact because of the unsuitability of the area for agriculture or other purposes.
There were about 5 walks to choose from. The one that suits you best will depend on which carpark you end up parking in. We wanted to do the Karlkurla (prickly pear walk) but we were in the wrong carpark so settled on the Mula Mula walk which was 2.7km long and passed through a tiny part of the Karlkurla walk.
You could also just wander around the park and paths if you like as they all intersect at some point and there are plenty of signs around the park so you can work out exactly where you are. Here is a link to the park map if you would like to plan your own visit.
There are a number of information boards telling you about some of the trees shrubs and flowers. It was July when we did it and some of the wildflowers were just starting to come out.
Kalgoorlie Art Walk
This is a great initiative by Kalgoorlie council. There are heaps of murals, art works and street art are dotted around Kalgoorlie.
You can enjoy the various pieces as you wander through the streets or you can pick up a brochure and do a self guided tour of them. The brochure outlines who the artist of the piece was, where they came from with a short bit of information on the artwork itself.
Historic Hannan Street
Dotted with gold rush buildings, brothels and statues of historic characters it is truly a trip in time to the wild west of the gold rush era.
You can enjoy the gold rush architecture, drop into one of the historic pubs, and learn about Paddy Hannan who first discovered gold in the region and who is now forever immortalised.
While you are there you can run your errands. Drop in to one of the supermarkets or one of the local cafes.
The Super Pit
This has to be the biggest áttraction’ in the area. There are tours that you can do through the superpit for a fee which you will need to book in advance, however the viewing area is free and has plenty of information boards with information on the history of the operation.
The Super pit is huge. It has to be seen to be believed because when you see a photo of it, you just don’t get the perspective. When you read about the tiny amount of gold that they get out of all the massive truckloads of rubble, you just have to wonder how it is a viable business and if it is really worth it. I guess it because they are still doing it, and according to the information boards on site, it will only be in operation for another 9 years.
The Goldfields Pipeline
Kalgoorlie would not exist today without the pipeline from Perth which provides it’s inhabitants with water. The pipeline travels almost 600km from Mundaring in Perth and it ends in Kalgoorlie.
You can download a free App and follow the Golden Pipeline Heritage trail all the way from Perth. There are a number of stops and the App takes you through the history and significance of each stop, ending in Kalgoorlie.
Along the way, you can learn about C.Y. O’Çonnor, the engineer who designed and oversaw the building of the pipeline. It is recognised today as a major engineering feat, but at the time that it was being built CY O’Connor was persecuted by the media and he sadly committed suicide before it was completed and working.
Golden Quest Discovery Trail
Takes you on a 965km loop through the ghost towns and history of the goldfields. Another free App is available to take you through many different stops on the Golden Quest Trail. I downloaded the App and we used it selectively, stopping at some of the stops that suited us.
More to do…
There are plenty of other experiences in the area, but we ran out of time to do them all. A few others that we would like to return to the area to do are:
The Goldfields War Museum – is a second museum which is located in Boulder.
Two Up Shed – located about 5km out of town is the historic Two Up shed.
Hannan’s Tourist Mine – would be a great experience for kids as they get to see and experience what it would have been like to search for gold back in the gold rush days.
The Nullabor Links – Two of the golf holes that stretch across the Nullabor are found in Kalgoorlie and would be good for a bit of fun.
Discovery Goldfields Tourist Park
We stayed at the Discovery Goldfields Tourist Park which was fine for our needs. They are a TAWK park, which means that they offer 2 nights free for kids. They are right next door to the airport though, so be prepared for a 6am wake up. Conveniently the superpit lookout is just at the end of the street. We had an unpowered site, they also had powered sites and a range of cabin options. There are a few permanents on site who work at the mine.
There is quite a bit more to see in the surrounding area around Kalgoorlie, particularly Lake Ballard and Menzies which you can read more about here. We stopped in Kalgoorlie on our way to the Great Central Road. Keep your eyes peeled for my comprehensive guide if you are keen to give it a go yourself.
If you are heading in the other direction, towards Esperence you may want to stop and check out Wave Rock on the way. There is always heaps to do in Perth, or check out one of my other posts if you are heading up the Indian Ocean Road or down south to Busselton in the Margaret River Region.