There are not that many destinations from Perth that you can easily enjoy for a long weekend. The route south is positively gouged so our party of four decided to do something a little different and jumped on the Prospector at the East Perth train terminal and headed to Kalgoorlie.
Train travel is always relaxing – someone else does the worrying about how, when, who and what.
The seven-hour trip on the Prospector, with pre-arranged facing seats, gives ample time for relaxed conversation or to bury your head in something interesting (not an iPad as connectivity is low).
Nowhere else in WA will you get such an expansive ‘wild west’ experience that gives you a genuine taste of the Gold Rush days!
Kal’s streets are long and wide, so be prepared to walk. A stone’s throw from the Kalgoorlie train station is the Visitors Centre alongside the famous Paddy Hannan statue. Here you can hire an audio tour of the town’s unique architecture and main sites along Hannan St (Tel 9021 1966).
For excursions further out, such as the Super-pit tour (which you need to book well ahead, incidentally), use local cabs.
As with any mining town, Kalgoorlie’s 25 or so operating hotels and bars are the hub, where getting a meal can be an experience in itself or you can eat at one of many restaurants.
The audio tour points out some unique history such as the Herbert Hoover Mirror in the Palace Hotel, and other must-sees during your stopover should be:
• Hammond Park for its bird and native animal sanctuary and the nearby cemetery
• A tour of the incredible super-sized Super Pit.
• WA Goldfields Museum (Tel 9021 8533) with a fascinating insight into how early miners and their families lived in this harsh environment.There’s an underground vault and trade union banners and early dental practice on display in the reconditioned British Arms Hotel.
• The Hay St brothel tour – a dying trade with the modern equivalent down the road – and some interesting stories from the ‘madam’.
Kalgoorlie is living history and a feel that is unique. From Perth it’s within easy reach, without the hassle of driving, so spoil yourself (see www.transwa.wa.gov.au).
For four people, train tickets, typical town site-seeing and mid-level accommodation for two nights all comes in at around $2000.