Perth to Kalgoorlie
Total distance: 592 kilometres
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 you’re travelling between the months of August and October, after good winter rains, the landscapes of the Wheatbelt and Goldfields will dazzle you with one of the biggest displays of wildflowers on Earth. Take your 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. Stay the night in Coolgardie, or complete your journey east to Kalgoorlie.
You’ll need a full day to discover all the riches Australia’s largest outback town has to offer – its grand heritage architecture, lively pubs, clubs, cafes, restaurants and, of course, the Super Pit. This 1.5-kilometre hole in the ground is one of the largest open cut mines on Earth and invites you to pull on a hardhat for a guided tour of the colossal operation. You can even try your luck at panning for gold here in Kalgoorlie, or play a hole on the world’s longest golf course, the Nullarbor Links.
Authentic Aboriginal cultural experiences can also be found in and around Kalgoorlie. Take a day or overnight outback tour to explore the bush, meet local communities, forage for bush tucker, cook traditional meals over a campfire and listen to ancient stories of the land and its legends.
Kalgoorlie to Menzies and Lake Ballard
Total distance: 180 kilometres
Heading north along the sealed and unsealed Golden Quest Discovery Trail, you’ll pass through Broad Arrow, Ora Banda, Siberia and Goongarri to reach the historic gold mining town ofMenzies. Stop for lunch at the Menzies hotel before making the drive north-west 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 caravan park.
Menzies to Kookynie, Leonora and Gwalia
Total distance: 162 kilometres
Continue north, stopping at Niagara Dam before arriving in the living ghost town of Kookynie. Explore the ruins of its industrious past, enjoy some Goldfields hospitality at its outback pub, or try your hand at fossicking for gold.
Make your next stop Leonora to admire its lovingly restored main street, complete with kerosene street lamps, 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 you to explore historic Hoover House and the museum. You can even stay overnight at Hoover House, or return to Leonora where you have a choice of caravan parks.
Leonora to Laverton and Kalgoorlie
Total distance: 483 kilometres
The sealed and unsealed loop trail north-east from Leonora takes you 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 here, retrace your steps south to Kalgoorlie, or extend your 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 your outback road trip by enjoying a cold drink on the wide veranda of a grand old Kalgoorlie hotel before taking your bed for the night.
Return to Perth
Total distance: 592 kilometres
Follow the golden pipeline from Kalgoorlie back to its source in the Perth Hills. If you’re an experienced 4WD enthusiast with more time to spare, you can venture further north and test your skill on the legendary Canning Stock Route or Gunbarrel Highway, starting in Wiluna, a four-hour drive from Leonora.
There’s also the option to head south from Kalgoorlie to some of Australia’s whitest beaches and most stunning coastal wilderness in Esperance.
Due to mining operations, some sites along the Golden Quest Discovery Trail may be closed. Please check the latest trail information at Kalgoorlie-Boulder Pure Gold or the local visitor centres.