Australia’s biggest goldrush began in Coolgardie, and the town played a pivotal role in the nation’s history. Today, this history is waiting to be explored, along with the unique nature of the Great Western Woodlands. Take at least two days to absorb the outback charm of Coolgardie with this suggested itinerary.

Day one:

Coolgardie Visitor Centre

Any visit to Coolgardie should start in the grand Visitor Centre; originally the Warden’s Court House, circa 1898, where you can pick up guides and souvenirs. The building also houses the impressive Goldfields Exhibition Museum with its displays of life on the harsh goldfields. Special exhibits here present the remarkable Waghorn Bottle Collection, one of the most significant displays of antique glass bottles in Australia, an historic Pharmacy Display, and a gallery depicting the nine-day rescue of Modesto Varischetti from a flooded mine in 1907.

Glory Days Trail

In the Visitor Centre, pick up a guide for the Glory Days Boom to Bust Trail, a self-guided stroll through 65 points of interest around Coolgardie, including fascinating tales of the town’s evolution from a campground in the desert to thriving outback city of 15,000 just three years later.

Ben Prior Park

Benjamin Prior and his family moved to Coolgardie in the 1930s and this public park contains many pieces of equipment that he found during his prospecting forays. Wander this eclectic outdoor museum, viewing historic mining and farming equipment, wagons and statues created by Prior. Kids can let off steam in the playground.

Local art

Drop into the Judumul Gallery in Bayley Street to purchase beautiful Indigenous art and authentic keepsakes like mugs, printed t-shits and canvas bags that embody culture. Next, drop in to Arthouse 65 and meet Jacqui Mills, a local artist selling arts spanning paintings, handmade soaps and upcycled mini planter boxes.

Coolgardie Camel Farm

Camel trains trundling into the WA Goldfields, laden with water and goods, were the lifeblood of this region, and you can meet these furry powerhouses at the Coolgardie Camel Farm. Phone ahead for a booking.

Warden Finnerty’s Residence

In the chaos of the gold rush days, the Warden was responsible for registering claims, and was also the magistrate. In 1895, the home of Warden Finnerty was built by Robert and Arthur Bunning, who later established the Bunnings hardware chain. The National Trust building is open to visitors, who may peruse the antiques and signage throughout the house and court room. Pull up a chair on the shady verandah and sample the famous Devonshire Tea with delicious homemade scones.

Lions Lookout

Before day’s end, take a cool drink up to Lions Lookout on the south side of town. There’s a shady gazebo and picnic tables here, and from this elevated position, view the relocated headframe from Bayley’s Reward, the original claim of the Goldfields.

Coolgardie Gold Rush Motel

Check in to your comfortable room for the night. Dine in the licensed restaurant here serving a long list of Aussie favorites, like sirloin steak with your choice of sauces, or a classic chicken parmigiana.

Day Two:

Luna Beez

Grab breakfast and coffee from Luna Beez, a food van with shady seats in Bayley Street, and fuel up for your adventure.

Augmented Reality Trail (ARted)

Start your Augmented Reality art trail at the Coolgardie Visitor Centre, where you’ll pick up a brochure on the ARted trail. After downloading the EyeJack App on your smart phone, simply follow the trail as marked on the brochure, scanning the artworks as you come to them. View images from the museum archives, and listen to various narrators bring stories of Coolgardie’s past to life.

Finish the Arted Trail at Coolgardie Cemetery, and stroll through the stone gates to take in to elegant eucalypts. Here you’ll find the peaceful resting place of Bertha Finnerty, wife of the Warden, and outback explorer, Ernst Giles. A guide to the cemetery is available at the Visitor Centre.

Red Hill Lookout and Lake Lefroy

It’s time to explore further afield, with a 50-minute drive southeast to Kambalda East. At Red Hill Lookout, a 1.6 km walking trail leads through the desert landscape, to a lookout over Lake Lefroy. The shimmering ephemeral salt lake is often used for land sailing.

Coolgardie Bluff Cultural Heritage Trail

Arriving back into town in the late afternoon, head to the Coolgardie Bluff Cultural Heritage Trail. Here you’ll find a dramatic rocky outcrop of significance to the local Indigenous community, with signage and steel sculptures that tell Dreamtime stories of the eagle and the crow. As the land below glows orange in the sunset, take in the awe-inspiring views of this harsh and beautiful landscape, that once drew so many.