Ok – I know what you are thinking. Kalgoorlie? For a holiday? Really? Yes, at almost 600km east of Perth, it's a long way from the beach, but it’s also a fascinating place to explore Western Australia’s gold mining history, relax by the pool or take a trip out to some of the state’s eerie ghost towns. If you’re looking for a family holiday that’s a bit different from the usual down south or up north, Kalgoorlie has a heap of things on offer for families.
Gold Mining History
In 1893, a man named Paddy Hannan discovered gold in Kalgoorlie Hannans North Tourist Mine is a fascinating insight into Western Australia's gold mining history and offers a look into the life of a goldminer. You can read an external review here.
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The Museum of the Goldfields will take you on a further journey into the Eastern Goldfields and how it evolved as a gold mining centre, plus how the area helped shape WA’s development. Take a look at the State’s largest collection of gold bars and nuggets, learn how prospectors searched gold and the many hardships families faced at the start of the 20th Century.
Along with the Hannans North Tourist Mine and the Museum of the Goldfields, Kalgoorlie is also home to the Goldfields War Museum, a fascinating look into the role the Kalgoorlie people played in the first and second world wars. The Loopline Railway Museum takes a look at the history of railway and transport networks in the city.
The Perth Crochet Club meets fortnightly to learn crochet, meet other Perth mums, and have a good chat. Whether you're a complete beginner or a seasoned pro, everyone is welcome to come along!
Hammond Park is a lovely inner city space that has a playground, including a separate area for toddlers, a café, a bird aviary and an incredibly detailed miniature Bavarian Castle. You can read a full review of Hammond Park here.
Hammond Park playground
Hammond Park toddler playground
Kalgoorlie Super Pit and Super Pit Lookout
One does simply NOT go to Kalgoorlie without a trip to the Super Pit! It is the biggest open pit gold mine in Australia, and the Super Pit Lookout is a popular attraction. It provides an opportunity to have a look at some of the trucks and diggers and see the mine site in operation – you might even see a blast! The lookout is open between 7am to 7pm and you can contact the Super Pit on 9022 1100 for information about blasting times.
The Kalgoorlie Super Pit
That's a big wheel
Ghost Town Day Trips From Kalgoorlie
Being a mining region, the Goldfields are littered with once-thriving townships that have since been abandoned – some are certainly more well-preserved that others, and here’s where to find some of the best near to Kalgoorlie.
Gwalia is around 240km drive from Kalgoorlie but well worth a visit if you want to see one of the best preserved ghost towns in the state. The town is managed by the Gwalia Ghost Town and Museum and welcomes visitors to take a look at the old townsite.
Alternatively, if you don’t fancy travelling that far with the kids, Broad Arrow is around 38km north of Kalgoorlie. The town was abandoned in the 1920s, with ruins throughout the town. Ora Banda, another abandoned mining town, is 50km west of Broad Arrow and various building remnants remain. You could also take a drive out to Kookynie, some 157km north of Kalgoorlie.
Kalgoorlie has a range accommodation options to suit every budget, including holiday parks and resort style hotels. Some of the most popular options are listed below.
You can fly, drive or take the Prospector Train from East Perth to Kalgoorlie. The train takes around seven hours, while the drive takes about 6.5 hours, so be prepared to make plenty of stops with the kids. Qantas and Virgin have flights departing several times a day and the flight takes just over an hour. There are car hire depots at Kalgoorlie Airport.
If you’re looking for more great holiday ideas in WA, you can check out some of the best places South and North.