When gold was discovered here in 1893, Kalgoorlie (600km east of Perth), materialised from the dusty desert, becoming Australia’s second biggest town after Sydney. The Golden Mile, a series of claims near the original find by Irishman Paddy Hannan, became known as the richest square mile of gold-producing land in the world.

With its deep gold rush history, and continuing status as a service hub for local mining, there are many engaging ways for visitors to discover this vibrant town. Aside from mining, there are other drawcards here too, like Indigenous cultures, quirky tours, and legendary outback characters. Spend at least three days here to tap into Kalgoorlie’s psyche.

Day one – the mining legacy:

Super Pit Tour

Start your day with Kalgoorlie’s most popular tour, a deep dive into gold mining at the KCGM Super Pit. The project was originally commenced by infamous businessman Alan Bond, who sought to consolidate many smaller holdings, and was the biggest open cut mine in Australia for decades. Board the coach in Hannan Street, and gaze up in awe as you drive past monster dump trucks at their laydown area. Keep your hard hat and high-vis vest handy, you’ll need them when you step outside at the Super Pit lookout.

WA Goldfields Museum

During the hottest part of the day, pay a visit to the excellent (and airconditioned) WA Goldfields Museum. Tour the gold vault, home to more than $4 million of nuggets, and take the lift to the top of the renovated header frame for views of the whole region. Don’t miss the British Arms Hotel, part of the museum and said to be the narrowest hotel in the Southern Hemisphere, and outside, you’ll find an Aboriginal food and medicine garden.

Hannan’s North Tourist Mine

Over at Hannan’s North Tourist Mine, get hands-on with mining history. A working mine until 1991, this self-guided outdoor museum presents diverse exhibits. Hear from Kalgoorlie’s founder, Paddy Hannan and view a modern refuge chamber for underground drillers. Climb inside the cab of a Caterpillar 793C haul truck, get a taste of driving a 994F-loader or try your luck panning for gold.

Dine like a miner

The Palace Hotel, with its graceful verandahs and timber staircase has quenched the thirst of miners since 1897. The grand mirror on the ground floor is said to be gift to a barmaid who worked here. The benefactor was a young Herbert Hoover, who went on to become President of the USA. Tonight, check out the Balcony Bar and Restaurant for one of the best meals in town.

Day 2 – Goldfields culture

Heartwalk trail

In 2017 and 2018, around 60 murals were painted by local and visiting artists, transforming Kalgoorlie’s business district into a lively arts district. Download the App called ‘Everythere’ and follow the Heartwalk Trail to discover each of the murals and artists. Everyone will have their favourite, but don’t miss Karlkurla Dreaming by local Indigenous artist Jason Dimer and his family. Karlkurla is a local fruit (also called the silky pear), but also inspired the name Kalgoorlie.

Boulder Town Hall and Goldfields Aboriginal Language Centre

In neighbouring Boulder (which is effectively joined to Kalgoorlie) take a stroll up historic Burt Street. Pop into the Goldfields Aboriginal Language Centre to learn about the preservation of endangered languages and pick up locally crafted souvenirs, or native herbs and seeds. The Boulder Town Hall circa 1908 is an architectural classic, with its wrought iron dress circle balustrade and pressed tin ceilings. It’s also home to the informative Goldfields War Museum.

Shopping options

While you’re in Boulder, meander through some independent boutiques. At Fossick & Co., a colourful range of art, homewares and souvenirs reside in an historic building. The Book Boutique on Burt sells interesting local reads, and a few souvenirs too. Back in Kalgoorlie, drop in to Natural Gold Nuggets and Jewellery for unique goldfields jewellery, or just browse the gemstones and fossils.

Brothel culture at Questa Casa

Along with the miners came the influx of another culture, prostitution. At one time, 18 brothels operated in Hay Street, with Questa Casa, the pink house, being the only one remaining. The owner, Madam Carmel, explains that these days the brothel offers only tours, and she shares fascinating stories of this piece of Kalgoorlie’s history.

Pub life

There’s little doubt that pubs are a vital part of Kalgoorlie’s culture, although these days they’re far less raucous than the early gold rush days. Dine at the York Hotel, one of Kalgoorlie’s grandest Federation-style pubs, with its Anglo-Dutch architecture, and several ornate domes. Follow the timber staircase to the verandah overlooking Hannan Street.

Day three – explore offbeat tours:


The landscape of the goldfields is more than just mines, and a morning walk in the Karlkurla Bushland Park is a great way to appreciate the biodiversity of the Great Western Woodlands, an ecosystem covering 16 million hectares.


Next, channel your inner biker. Meet the leather-clad Greg Ocinski from Thunderstuck Trike Tours and jump in the back seat of his Harley Davidson. Greg’s tours are individually tailored, and can include any of the historic sites, and plenty of stories, some true and some legendary, from Kalgoorlie, Boulder, and the wider region. Ask Greg about a visit to Chunky Timbers, a workshop where hardwood is repurposed into unique furniture and kitchen wares. Or roar up to Mount Charlotte Reservoir Lookout, the terminus of the Golden Pipeline, which stretches 563km from Mundaring Weir near Perth, to Kalgoorlie. The precious water started flowing in 1903, and has been supplying the region’s freshwater ever since.

Broad Arrow Tavern and ghost town

Just a 25-minute drive north, the former gold-rush town of Broad Arrow now consists of only its character-filled, outback tavern. The graffiti-covered pub has an almost cult-like following, with locals riding out on motorcycles and tourists popping in for a famous Broady Burger.

Two-up Shed

Kalgoorlie has a rich association with the gambling game of bush two-up, and every Sunday afternoon a fascinating, and legal, game operates at the Two-up Shed, in the woodlands outside town. The corrugated iron and timber circular ring is frequented by locals and visitors alike, and amid the shouting and laughing, serious cash is changing hands.


The ultimate way to round out your three days in Kalgoorlie is with a helicopter flight over this iconic landscape. Banking around the Super Pit, you’ll stare 600m into the terraced crater, before rocketing out to White Flag Lake for a low altitude flightpath over this salty, still pond. As the final rays peek over the widest of horizons, you’ll see the sky blazing and the land aglow.

De Beranales Bar and Bistro

For your final dinner in Kalgoorlie, join the locals at a Kalgoorlie institution, De Bernales Bar and Bistro for a cocktail, plus Australian-European cuisine like pizza, steak, and chicken parmigiana. On weekends, there’s often live music.