Road & Rail

Road trip guide: The Golden Quest Discovery Trail

Sponsored by Tourism Western Australia

Australia’s rugged and rich history is calling your clients to hear its secrets and witness its vibrant colours.

Put together their dream road trip through Western Australia’s goldfields and immerse them in 125 years of gold rush history along the Golden Quest Discovery Trail.

Traversing Kalgoorlie, Menzies and Laverton, the trail is a true outback adventure exploring the gold rush legends, landmarks and eerie ghost towns of what is still one of the world’s biggest gold-producing regions.

Best enjoyed in a four-wheel drive, the trail will take them from the buzz of one of the largest open-cut gold mines on Earth to the striking beauty of the Antony Gormley statues on Lake Ballard.

The journey can be enjoyed all year round however, between the months of August and October, after good winter rains, the landscapes of the Wheatbelt and Goldfields will showcase one of the biggest displays of wildflowers on Earth.

Day one: Perth to Kalgoorlie (592km)

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 loads of historic points of interest, interpretive panels and walking trails along the way.

The best way to take it all in is to stay overnight 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.

Day two: Kalgoorlie and the Super Pit

Set aside a full day so your clients can check out all the riches Australia’s largest outback town has to offer, starting with a walk down Hannan Street for an introduction to the gold-rush era architecture of Kalgoorlie.

The Kalgoorlie-Boulder Western Australian Museum tells the prospectors tales of hardship during their search for riches and showcases the largest display of WA’s collection of gold bars and nuggets.

Clients can also take a 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 kilometres long and 1.5 kilometres wide, producing 900,000 ounces of gold each year.

Recommend they head up Mount Charlotte for one of the best outback sunsets in Australia.

The town has a wide choice of accommodation styles, from colonial hotels to tourist parks.

Day three: Kalgoorlie to Menzies and Lake Ballard (180km)

The trail passes through the ‘ghost town’ of Broad Arrow, Ora Banda, Siberia and Goongarri to reach the historic gold mining town of Menzies.

Here, your clients can stop for lunch at the Menzies Hotel before making the drive north-west on unsealed road to Lake Ballard where they will find 51 Antony Gormley sculptures set against the stark-white 10 square kilometres of salt bed to create one of the most remarkable outdoor galleries on Earth, Inside Australia.

Day four: Menzies to Kookynie, Leonora and Gwalia (162km)

The next stop is the eerie ghost town of Kookynie, where they can explore the ruins of its industrious past and enjoy some goldfields hospitality at its outback pub.

Then, your clients can head to the charming town of Leonora to admire its lovingly restored main street, complete with old wooden shacks and grand hotels before taking 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 is home to the historic Hoover House and the Gwalia Historical Museum.

Clients can even stay overnight at Hoover House or return to Leonora where they have a choice of hotels, motels, backpackers and caravan parks.

Day five: Leonora and Laverton to Kalgoorlie (483km)

The sealed and unsealed loop trail north-east from Leonora winds past 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.

From there, clients can head south towards Kalgoorlie, or extend their adventure by following the loop west from Leonora through stunning outback landscapes dotted with kangaroos and other native wildlife and camp under a star-filled outback night sky.

They can put a full stop on their road trip by enjoying a cold one on the wide veranda of a grand old Kalgoorlie hotel.

Day six: Kalgoorlie to Perth (592km)

Those lucky enough to visit during the wildflower season (mid-July to late October) should 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 their time of departure from Kalgoorlie, your clients may wish to plan a lunch or overnight break-in Coolgardie, Southern Cross or Merredin.

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