The gold mining town of Kalgoorlie once drew fortune seekers from around the globe to the Golden Mile, the world’s richest square mile of gold-bearing earth. Kalgoorlie-Boulder is still a thriving mining town and the first sizable town you come to if you’re driving across the Nullarbor Plain.
Kal is an interesting place if you haven’t been to an outback mining town before and there are a few grand old buildings along Hannan Street. There are also some good pubs, although there are also some that are worth avoiding.
Despite the rough and ready image there is plenty to see in Kalgoorlie and it is well worth stopping here, particularly if you’re just spent the last few days driving from Adelaide. The city’s attractions are mostly related to the mining industry and include Hannans North Historic Mining Reserve and the impressive super pit, but Kalgoorlie doesn’t have as much to offer as some other outback mining towns such as Broken Hill.
316 Hannan Street, Kalgoorlie
Tel (08) 9091 6671
Open 9am-5pm daily
Kalgoorlie has plenty of transport options with frequent connections to both Adelaide and Perth.
Skywest (tel 1300 660 088) have direct flights from Kalgoorlie to Melbourne and Perth and Qantas (tel 13 13 13) fly to Perth. The airport is about a five-minute drive from the centre of town and either hostel should be able to pick you up if you have made a reservation.
Transwa (tel 1300 662 205) coaches travel between Kalgoorlie and Esperance and stop at the train station on Forrest Street.
Kalgoorlie is well served by rail. The Indian Pacific is one of Australia’s greatest rail journeys running between Perth and Sydney with a stop in Kalgoorlie. If you don’t have a Great Southern Rail pass, Transwa’s daily Prospector service to Perth is a cheaper alternative at $76.85 one-way. The train station is on Forrest Street opposite the intersection with Wilson Street.
There is a local bus service that runs between Boulder and Kalgoorlie; this is generally the best way to get around if you don’t have access to a car.
Both Kalgoorlie’s hostels are situated in the heart of the red light district and are a short walk to supermarkets and the town centre.
192 Hay Street, Kalgoorlie
Tel (08) 9091 3737
166 Hay Street, Kalgoorlie
Tel (08) 9091 1482
This excellent museum focuses on all aspects of mining encompassing geology, the history of mining and its impact on Kalgoorlie, and modern-day mining techniques. The Mining Hall of Fame sits on an original mine that commenced in 1893 when miners used only a pick and shovel. Gold panning and gold pouring demonstrations take place throughout the day as do underground tours of the mine.
Goldfields Highway, Kalgoorlie
Tel (08) 9091 4074
Tour $30 (includes surface & underground tours)
Open 9am-4.30pm; gold panning 9.30am, 11.30am, 4pm; gold pouring demonstrations 11.30am, 1.15pm, 3.30pm; underground tours 10am, 12.15pm, 2.30pm
This museum provides a good introduction to the city’s history and life during the height of the gold rush.
17 Hannan Street, Kalgoorlie
Tel (08) 9021 8533
Open 10am-4.30pm daily
The biggest hole in the Southern Hemisphere is worth a look. The massive Super Pit open cut mine can be seen from the lookout in Outram Street in Fimiston near Boulder or from the Golden Mile Loopline.
Super Pit Lookout Outram Street, Fimiston; Golden Mile Loopline Corner Burt & Hamilton Streets, Boulder
Admission free for the lookout, $12 for a ride on the Golden Mile Loopline