Rich in gold rush history and vast, semi-arid landscapes, Coolgardie is a fascinating town to explore. Whether on foot or in your own vehicle, follow these top trails to actively uncover some of Coolgardie’s most intriguing attractions.

1. The Glory Days Trail

Between the gold rush years of 1892 and 1895, Coolgardie’s European population swelled from zero to 15,000, catapulting it into the title of Western Australia’s third largest town. After the boom came the inevitable bust, and although Coolgardie is still a tight-knit community today, there are countless stories to be told of its rollicking heyday. The grand architecture in town, much of it well preserved, is testament to the wealth of those early days.

It’s perhaps easiest to explore this history on foot. Drop into the Coolgardie Visitor Centre to pick up a copy of the self-guided Glory Days Trail and explore at a leisurely pace.

The roughly circular route, mostly through Bayley and Sylvester Streets, includes markers and interpretive signage on points of interest. Picture Bayley Street bustling with miners, splashing their cash in 26 hotels, on two stock exchanges, and reading the news from seven newspapers. Highlights will include the warden’s court building (now the Visitor Centre and Goldfields Exhibition Museum), the Coolgardie Historic Railway Station, Coolgardie Post Office, and the façade of the Marvel Bar.

2. Augmented Reality Art Trail (ARted)

For something completely different, and to engage the whole family, tap into Coolgardie’s arts scene. Start in the Coolgardie Visitor Centre to pick up a brochure on the ARted trail, and scan the QR code on the brochure with your smart phone. This will guide you to download the App called EyeJack, which is required for this interactive trail.

With the App installed, simply follow the trail as marked on the brochure and with your volume turned up, scan the artworks as you come to them. On your smart phone, view images from the museum archives, and listen to various narrators bring stories of Coolgardie’s past to life.

Explore the nine stops on the trail, most of which are easy walking distance from the Visitor Centre. Lastly, take a longer walk or drive out to Coolgardie Cemetery for the final video presentation near the entrance gates.

Tip: Fans of the ABC television series Mystery Road Origin, will enjoy tracing scenes from the series around Coolgardie. Pick up a map of filming locations from the Visitor Centre, and incorporate some of these stops into your walks.

3. Coolgardie Bluff Cultural and Heritage Trail

On the northeastern corner of town, Coolgardie Bluff is a dramatic rocky outcrop of significance to the local Indigenous community. The Cultural and Heritage Trail through this this otherworldly place uses story boards and steel sculptures to tell the Dreamtime story of the eagle and the crow, Widgiemooltha and Lake Lefroy. You’ll also learn about the gold rush history here, and how this whole hillside was once covered in makeshift housing and businesses.

4. Green Trail

Once you’ve explored the town on foot, it’s time to head further afield by car. Pick up a map from the Visitor Centre and head south to drive a section of the Green Trail, which showcases the Great Western Woodlands. Make a stop at the Red Hill Walk Trail in East Kambalda, to overlook the surreal sight of the ephemeral and salty Lake Lefroy, then continue to Cave Hill in Goldfields Woodlands National Park. With its yawning cave, it’s a place of importance to the Kalaamaya people. With a four-wheel-drive, continue north to the huge granite dome of Burra Rock Convservation Park (may also be accessed in a two-wheel-drive on an unsealed road from Coolgardie). Both Cave Hill and Burra Rock were used as water catchments during the 1920s and 30s. The water was needed to drive the steam trains on the narrow-gauge woodline trains that transported timber from here to the goldfields.