Western Australia’s Golden Outback shines bright on the Golden Quest Discovery Trail, where a round circuit from Coolgardie to Kalgoorlie sees gorgeous outback landscapes, incredible art and fascinating history gloriously mesh together for the road trip of a lifetime.
The Golden Quest Discovery Trail takes us from Coolgardie, up to Leonora and back down to Kalgoorlie-Boulder, highlighting some of Western Australia’s most thrilling outback towns. Traversing through the brutal yet beautiful outback Goldfields will see you diving headfirst into a region with vibrant towns and ancient terrain full of adventure – from goldmining museums, to ghost towns and obscure artistic sculptures. Whether you tackle the road trip in a weekend sprint, or sink your teeth into the Golden Outback over a week, the Golden Quest Discovery Trail will have you coming back to Western Australia time and time again.
If you’re a history fan wanting to explore Coolgardie’s humble post-settlement beginnings and its gold-panning past, then head to the Coolgardie Goldfields Exhibition Museum. Housed in the grand multistorey Warden’s Court Building and first built in 1898, the museum is home to a captivating collection of photographs, equipment, models and artefacts from the town’s early years. The museum also presents the country’s largest bottle collection, and the Pharmacy exhibition displays one of Australia’s most extensive collections of early modern medicine from the 1700s and 1800s, including pharmaceutical advertisements and antique medical tools.
Nearby Lake Ballard is arguably Menzies’s most popular (and most quirky!) attraction, drawing in crowds from all over the globe. Considered to be the world’s largest outdoor art gallery, Lake Ballard is adorned with 51 unique steel sculptures made by world-famous British artist Antony Gormley. The sculptures are said to be loosely based on the real residents of Menzies, and their quirky, alien-like stature casts other-worldly shadows onto the lake’s equally unique surface. Lake Ballard is a salt lake whose surface glows with shades of pastel pink and rose, complete with touches of white and even lilac – all of which looks absolutely stunning against the desert’s bright orange earth.
Once you’re well rested and ready for the next day, hop back in the car and travel two hours north to Leonora – a mining hub that boasts some of the region’s best museums and historical collections. Gwalia Ghost Town & Museum, on the outskirts of Leonora’s township, is a must for any history buff. After the closure of the Sons of Gwalia goldmine in December 1963, many of the buildings were left abandoned as the miners and their families sought work elsewhere along the Goldfields.
If you’re wanting something a bit more creative, then there are plenty of art attractions on the cards in the twin townships of Kalgoorlie-Boulder. You can find intricate and colourful murals decorating the sides of buildings along the main streets in town, or you can even head to the Boulder Town Hall to see the famous Goatcher Curtain – a priceless artwork and stage curtain that is the last of its kind in Australia. There’s also plenty of outdoor adventures and nature-based activities available for the fitness fanatic, including a trek through Karlkurla Bushland Park’s 200 hectares of native flora.
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Image courtesy of Tourism Western Australia