In and around Menzies, there are plenty of sights you just can’t see from a behind the wheel. Step outside for a bushwalk or even a short stroll, and uncover some fascinating Menzies stories.

1. Town walks

Around Shenton Street in Menzies, there are two easy walking trails woven together. Drop into the Visitor Centre and pick up brochures for the “Our Place” European heritage trail, and the Gubbee Menzies Wongi “Our Way” trail, outlining the Aboriginal experience in Menzies around the time of settlement. Both trails follow rusted steel cut-out sculptures with interpretive panels, telling the stories of individuals from Menzies’ past that bring this history to life. These trails follow the footpath for several hundred metres, and are accessible for most. Don’t miss a stroll through the open air museum in the machinery shed.

2. Lake Ballard

Proceed 51 kms north-west of town following signs to Lake Ballard, to view 51 human-like steel sculptures called Inside Australia, an installation by Sir Antony Gormley. Although there is no formalised walking trail here, visitors can choose to walk across the salt pan of Lake Ballard, exploring just a few, or all 51 figures. Footprints of visitors lead the way between each sculpture, each of which is separated from its neighbor by hundreds of metres. The sculptures are spread over a 10 square ilometre area, and it is advisable to bring a hat and water. Whether you opt for a long or a shorter walk, it’s best tackled late in the day or early in the morning. An additional steep hike up a hill near the carpark affords great views over the installation and the wider lake area.

3. Nganamarta Walk, Goongarrie Homestead

Located 40km south of Menzies, the rustic Goongarrie Homestead is part of the Goongarrie National Park. Formerly a working sheep station and part of gold rush history, the homestead now offers accommodation and camping facilities. Explore the Aboriginal watering holes, and don’t miss the the three-kilometre Nganamarta Walk Trail that begins at the homestead, has good opportunities for bird watching, and provides a great insight into the diverse flora, fauna and systems of the mulga woodlands.

4. Niagara Dam Nature Reserve

Niagara Dam, 60km from Menzies, is a popular picnic and camping spot on an old railway dam. Here, two trails are offered for those wishing to explore. The Breakaway Trail stretches for 1.6 km along the top of the ‘breakaway’, an eroded gully, and returns via the normally dry creek bed. The Round the Dam Trail is 1.15 km, and makes a circuit of the dam. Look out for resident birdlife, attracted here by the presence of semi-permanent water.

5. Kookynie

At the ‘living ghost town’, 66 km north-east of Menzies, an informal trail leads through 22 interpretive panels that explain the town in its bustling past. Some buildings have disappeared altogether, and others are half standing. If you stroll the whole town, you could clock up two or three kilometres of walking. You’ll be needing a drink, so quench your thirst at the still-functioning Grand Hotel, where you may be joined in the bar by Willie the horse!