Follow legendary pioneers to unearth the riches of a 120-year gold rush history.
The Golden Quest Discovery Trail from Kalgoorlie is a true outback adventure exploring the gold rush legends, landmarks and ghost towns of what is one of the world’s biggest gold producing regions.
At a glance
The drive east from Perth is around six and a half hours, non-stop, and joins the path of the original water pipeline that brought the most precious resource from Mundaring Weir to Kalgoorlie in the Goldfields at the turn of the century. Known as the Golden Pipeline Heritage Trail, there are many historic points of interest, interpretive panels and walking trails along the way.
If travelling between the months of August and October, after good winter rains, the landscapes of the Wheatbelt and Goldfields will dazzle with one of the biggest displays of wildflowers on Earth. Spend the time to take it all in and plan an overnight stop at a country town or farm stay, or head straight for the start of the Golden Quest Discovery Trail, Coolgardie. Just 30-minutes west of Kalgoorlie, Coolgardie is the birthplace of the 1892 gold rush, with a rich pioneering heritage proudly presented in its architecture and museums.
A full day is needed to discover all the riches Australia’s largest outback town, Kalgoorlie, has to offer. Take a walk down Hannan Street for an introduction to the grand architecture of the town – the greatest expression of its gold rush riches. Visit the Kalgoorlie-Boulder WA Museum to see how prospectors searched for gold, learn about the hardships they faced and gaze in awe at the largest display of the State’s collection of gold bars and nuggets.
Take a mind-blowing tour of one of the world's largest open cut mines, the Super Pit. Part of the historic Golden Mile, the modern-day pit is a colossal 3.5 km long and 1.5 km wide, producing 900,000 ounces of gold each year.
For the best sunset views of Australia’s largest outback town, head up to Mount Charlotte. Choose from a wide choice of accommodation styles, from colonial hotels to tourist parks.
Heading north along the sealed and unsealed Golden Quest Discovery Trail, pass through the 'ghost town' of Broad Arrow, Ora Banda, Siberia and Goongarri to reach the historic gold mining town of Menzies.
Stop for lunch at the Menzies hotel before making the drive north-west on unsealed road to Lake Ballard. Here, set against the stark-white 10 square kilometres of salt bed, 51 Antony Gormley sculptures create one of the most remarkable outdoor galleries on Earth. Return to Menzies for an overnight stay at the hotel or caravan park.
Continue north on unsealed road, stopping at Niagara Dam before arriving in the living ghost town of Kookynie. Explore the ruins of its industrious past and enjoy some Goldfields hospitality at its outback pub.
Make the next stop Leonora to admire its lovingly restored main street, complete with old wooden shacks and grand hotels. Then take the unsealed road to the historic gold rush precinct of Gwalia. Once home to the former American President, Herbert Hoover, who managed the local mine, Gwalia invites visitors to explore historic Hoover House and the Gwalia Historical Museum. Stay overnight at Hoover House or return to Leonora with a choice of hotels, motels, backpackers and caravan parks.
The sealed and unsealed loop trail north-east from Leonora takes in the old nickel mines of Murrin Murrin and Windarra to Laverton and visits the sites of Hawks Nest, Mt Morgans and Old Rail Bridges on the trail back to Leonora.
Retrace south back to Kalgoorlie, or extend the adventure by following the loop west from Leonora through stunning outback landscapes. Keep an eye out for kangaroos and other native wildlife, and spend a night camping under a star-filled outback night sky.
Finish the outback road trip by enjoying a cold drink on the wide veranda of a grand old Kalgoorlie hotel before heading to bed for the night at a hotel, resort, motel, backpacker lodge, or caravan park.
If visiting during the wildflower season (mid-July to late October), head north to Karlkurla Bushland Park for an early morning walk. An interpretive walk trail offers a great introduction to the flora and fauna of the Goldfields. For golfing enthusiasts, the best way to start the morning is to play a couple of holes on the longest golf course on Earth, the Nullarbor Links, from Kalgoorlie Golf Club.
The return journey to Perth takes approximately six and a half hours. Depending on the time of departure from Kalgoorlie, plan a lunch or overnight break in Coolgardie, Southern Cross or Merredin. If making good time, break the journey to grab some refreshments in the historic town of Northam.