The story of Kalgoorlie’s Gold in the West begins in 1893, when a pair of prospectors discovered 100 ounces of alluvial gold near Mount Charlotte.
Thus began the Western Australia Gold Rush, and gradually discovered a huge gold field, the Gold Zone, which continues to produce gold in large quantities to this day.
The mess of mines around Jinyu has turned into a pit big enough to be seen from outer space.
With museums, gold rush-era buildings, historic display mines and huge super pits, there’s no better place to discover the past and present of gold mining in Western Australia.
1. Super Pit
For over a century, until the 1980s, Kalgoorlie’s fabled Golden Mile was dominated by various small businesses.
That changed in 1989 with the formation of Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines Pty Ltd (KCGM), which immediately began digging individual pits on such a massive scale that they soon became known as super-pits.
This can be seen from space and is 3.5 kilometers long, 1.5 kilometers wide and more than 600 meters deep.
It is serviced by two processing plants that process 12 million tonnes of gold ore and produce 800,000 ounces of gold per year.
To measure the size of this divide, there is a lookout at the top of Outram Street in Boulder.
However, if you want to experience the operation for yourself, you can go on a 2.5-hour super-pit tour in an air-conditioned Mine-Spec bus wearing a high-vis vest and safety goggles.
With in-depth commentary, you’ll get to see giant haul trucks up close, take in stunning views, and learn more about the gold grinding process.
2. Hannan North Tourism Mine
North of Kalgoorlie, you can visit one of the most productive gold mines in the East.
This is Hannans North, which was first sunk in 1893 and worked until 1991. It is now a world-class mining museum, showcasing over 120 years of local mining heritage, but also some of the amazing machinery used in the industry today.
The shaft descends to a depth of almost 400 meters on 13 floors, which is amazing considering the seam was initially thought to be only about 36 meters deep.
At the site, you can visit historic outbuildings, try your luck panning for gold, and relax in a peaceful Chinese garden.
For heavy-duty hardware, check out the giant Caterpillar 793C haul truck and stand in the bucket of the 994K Large Wheel Loader.
3. Gold Mine Museum
The massive Ivanhoe mine towers over the site and is not to be missed, and the Gold Mine Museum gives you all the background information on the mining traditions of the area.
For starters, this museum showcases Western Australia’s largest collection of gold bars and nuggets, all displayed in underground vaults.
The museum also takes you back to the Gold Rush era, in well-preserved settings such as the miners’ cottage, Woodline offices, and the offices and boardroom of entrepreneur Claude De Bernales, lined with jarrah wood.
What brings everything to life is a wealth of artifacts from the turn of the 20th century, as well as detailed information about the natural history and ecology of the gold mine.
And make sure to zoom in on that headstand, which is now a viewing tower, to get an all-around view of Kalgoorlie-Boulder.
4. Hammond Park
Kalgoorlie’s premier park is on the west side of the city and is a lush, well-tended haven.
Hammond Park exudes gold rush luxury, including the beautiful heritage-listed Rotunda and Onion Dome.
The building is over a century old and is one of the largest in Australia.
For kids, the park’s main activity is the animal sanctuary, where you can get up close and personal with emus, kangaroos and peacocks, while there is also a spacious pond nearby with plenty of ducks to feed.
Hidden in Hammond Park is a miniature Bavarian castle whose walls are said to be covered with more than 40,000 gems.
5. Golden Quest Discovery Trail
Kalgoorlie is the first step in an unforgettable journey through Western Australia’s goldfields.
This is still one of the most productive gold mining areas in the world, but also offers a lot of adventurous fun.
Spanning nearly 1,000 kilometers of stunning outback terrain, the Golden Quest Discovery Trail is the ultimate way to get in touch with more than 120 years of mining heritage.
On this route, 4WD is best for visiting ghost towns, endless woodlands, fascinating places steeped in gold rush legends, huge modern mines and more.
Lake Ballard is haunted by its statue of Antony Gormley, while the inland areas of the Wheat Belt and Goldfields are embroidered in colorful spring after heavy winter rains. wildflowers.
6. Kalgoorlie Town Hall
Just look at City Hall and its gabled façade and you can see how much money went to Kalgoorlie in the Edwardian era.
Completed in 1908, the whitewashed monument features a richer interior with chandeliers, a grand staircase and intricate metalwork throughout.
The only way to look around is to take a tour offered by Boulder Heritage Services in Kalgoorlie, Monday and Wednesday at 10:30. You will visit the municipal offices, the mayor’s parlour and council chambers, as well as the delightful auditorium and stage.
Your guide will introduce you to City Hall’s many fascinating stories and characters, while pointing out its valuable art collection and historical memorabilia.
7. Kalkula Jungle Park
One of the saddest aspects of the Kurgardi Gold Rush was the destruction of the eucalyptus forests that once covered much of the region, being cut down to use as fuel for wood-fired steam engines in the mines.
Volunteers from the community planted this 200-hectare park north of Kalgoorlie-Boulder in Hannam in 2000, and in an ongoing effort to make amends, you’ll stroll through native trees and bushes on the park’s four kilometers of signposted trails Kangaroos may be seen in the morning or evening.
There is a lookout about 1.5 km from the entrance, as well as the Eco-Cultural Education Centre, which opened on the grounds of the park’s nursery in 2017. ‘Karlkurla’, the ‘silk pear’ of the local Aboriginal world, is one of many species that is now blooming in the park.
8. Royal Flying Doctor Service Visitor Centre
Understandably, the Royal Australian Flying Doctor Service is a true lifeline for communities in the most remote areas of the Outback.
The base at Kalgoorlie was vital to the group’s western operations and was established at Kalgoorlie-Boulder Airport in the 1930s.
The base’s visitor center showcases the flying doctor’s dedication today, but also looks back at the service’s history, highlighting some of the pioneers in their efforts to bring health care to some of the most inhospitable places on Earth.
You can watch films at the Roger Waller Theater and browse informative interactive displays.
Entry is by donation and there is a gift shop with RFDS memorabilia.
9. Palace Hotel
One of the historic hotel complexes on Hannan Street, the Palace Hotel at 137 opened in 1897 and is a fine example of Federal architecture.
At the time it was considered the most luxurious hotel in Western Australia outside Perth, and the first hotel in Kalgoorlie to have electric lights.
Future US President Herbert Hoover (1874-1964) frequented the Palace Hotel in the late 1890s when he was working as a mining engineer in Kalgoorlie.
If you walk into the foyer, you’ll see several artifacts from his era.
There’s a framed poem he wrote for the barmaid he fell in love with, next to the gorgeous mirror he gave to the hotel before he left Australia.
10. Casa Cuesta
Certainly not for everyone, Questa Casa is the last brothel still standing in the red light district of Sea Street.
If you like unorthodox travel experiences or need to tell a story, you can visit what is claimed to be one of the oldest operating brothels in the world.
This, of course, dates back to the Gold Rush of the 1890s, and is a gritty and interesting snapshot of a different period.
The tour lasts approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes and takes you through the work area of the house, from the “starting booth” in front of where workers receive customers, and through a labyrinth of small rooms.
Your guide will share fascinating anecdotes about Kalgoorlie’s “Wild West” era and the lives of the prostitutes and miners who gathered at this outpost some 130 years ago.
11. Broad Arrow Tavern
Head north on the Goldfields Highway and in about half an hour you’ll reach the Broad Arrow ghost town, once home to 2,400 people and now just desert.
In 1893, when it was called Kurawah, it became the centre of the Coolgardie Gold Rush, where gold was first discovered.
The last holdout is the Broad Arrow Tavern, which dates back to 1896 and continues to provide travelers with food and lodging.
The outback pub is doing well, thanks in part to a revival in the mining industry.
Almost every wall is covered with handwritten notes from past visitors ordering the famous “Broady Burger”.
12. Off the beaten track breweries
Kalgoorlie has a rich brewing tradition, serving beer in the Eastern Goldfields.
By the end of the 20th century, the last brewery closed and the industry was all but forgotten.
In 2007, with the founding of Beaten Track, the brewing industry was finally revived.
This is a boutique microbrewery producing an ever-changing line of small-batch craft beers, from IPAs to amber ales, stouts, sours and lagers.
There’s always something weird to try, and new for 2020 is cold brew coffee infused with pale ales.
There’s a satisfying food menu, including burgers and pizza, and a relaxing outdoor patio with patio heaters and blankets to keep you warm on chilly nights.
13. Mount Charlotte Reservoir and Lookout
Just off the Goldfields Highway, north of Kalgoorlie, there is a fascinating piece of local heritage.
Where gold was first discovered in Kalgoorlie in 1893, this reinforced concrete reservoir built in Mount Charlotte represented the region’s first guaranteed water supply.
Capable of holding 4.5 million litres, the Mount Charlotte Reservoir is the culmination of an epic project pumping 560km from Mundaring Weir outside Perth.
The reservoir continues to perform its original role, but is now used as a conservation area following the construction of the Mount Percy Reservoir in the north in the 1980s.
Also at the summit of Mount Charlotte, there is a circular lookout with panoramic views of Kalgoorlie Boulder, the Great Western woodlands and the mining landscape that borders the city.
14. Kalgoorlie Golf Course
Past Hammond Park and Kalgoorlie Botanical Gardens is an 18-hole golf course that winds its way into the bush.
Kalgoorlie Golf Course, designed by Graham Marsh, is one of Australia’s top 20 public courses.
Each hole has an evocative name associated with the area, such as Golden Mile or Super Pit, and the fairways and greens are rimmed with eucalyptus, native shrubs and water hazards.
When we wrote this list in 2020, the driving range had just been updated and there were practice greens next door to help you polish your short game.
At the time of writing, the green fee for 18 holes is $66.50.
After your round, stop for a cold drink at the Waterhole Bar and Bistro overlooking the course.
15. Kalgoorlie Visitor Centre
Kalgoorlie’s historic Town Hall is also the largest tourist information centre in the entire Goldfields.
In such a remote area, it’s an invaluable amenity for anyone looking to see more gold and a bigger outback.
You can book transport, accommodation and tours, and get plenty of first-hand tips, brochures and leaflets on interesting things to do and places to visit.
The centre offers free Wi-Fi and also sells a wide range of Kalgoorlie and Goldfields related memorabilia, from handcrafted Aboriginal art to souvenir gold coins.
Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Kalgoorlie, Australia
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