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The premier guide to Western Australia scooptraveller.com.au
JANE PELUSEY, AUTHOR OF THE WESTERN
AUSTRALIA 4WD TOP 50 ATLAS, GIVES US HER
TIPS FOR TOURING THE RED DIRT ROADS.
I have a soft spot for the Goldfields. The lure of gold enticed my great-
grandfather and his brother to leave England in search of their fortune. With
many other men, they arrived in Albany by steamship, caught the train to
Broomehill and walked the 731km to Coolgardie, and on to Kalgoorlie. Those
men had walked the Holland Track, which was reopened to 4WDers in the 1990s.
The remote off-road track leaves Hyden, following in the footsteps of John
Holland and his team and the thousands of prospectors with gold fever. You must
be self-sufficient for this one.
GOLDEN PIPELINE HERITAGE TRAIL
Water, or lack thereof, was the greatest single problem
faced by goldminers in the 1890s. It was C.Y. O’Connor who
surmounted the great engineering challenge of getting water
to Kalgoorlie. He planned a 600km pipeline from Mundaring
Weir in the Darling Ranges, helped along by a series of pump stations.
Facing massive scepticism about the project, O’Connor committed suicide at
South Beach in Fremantle. Ten months later, the water arrived in Kalgoorlie,
heralding the success of the project – still the world’s longest water pipeline to
this day. The pipeline trail follows the heritage locations along the way.
GOLDEN QUEST DISCOVERY TRAIL
Get a feel for how hard the pioneer prospectors had it. This fascinating 965km
loop trail takes you to ruined townships that were wealthy, busy hubs in their
heyday. Take a good guidebook on this one.
GRANITE AND WOODLANDS DISCOVERY TRAIL
This alternative route to the Great Eastern Highway joins Norseman and Hyden
by good gravel road through the untouched Great Western Woodlands. Along
the way there is a series of colourful granite and limestone outcrops. The
Breakaways are a lovely spot to camp and watch the sun rise.
THE OUTBACK WAY
Known as Australia’s longest short cut, this is an alternative
route to Queensland from Kalgoorlie. The section from
Laverton to Uluru and Kata Tjuta is a classic off-road adventure
across red-sand dunes, best done in a well-equipped 4WD.
The best way to explore the Goldfields is in an SUV (2WDs can be used
with care). Information on trails is available from the Kalgoorlie Visitor Centre.
Crossing the Nullarbor has been
described as a trip of a lifetime that
everyone should experience once.
Instead of booking a flight for your
next holiday over east, add a few
more weeks onto your journey to
experience rural WA at its best.
The Nullarbor will take at least two
to three days of driving, but it’s best to
spread this out over a week to see the
sites and avoid fatigue. These days
you don’t need a 4WD to make the
trip – a family car will do just fine
along Eyre Highway, provided it has
When to go This is desert country and
temperatures are extreme, so it’s best
to travel in winter when its not too hot.
Make sure you rug up at night though
– it can get chilly.
Attractions Remote railway
outposts; the scenic granite hills of
Fraser Range; Mt Pleasant peak;
Afghan Rocks; Ninety Mile Straight
(the world’s second-largest straight
stretch of road); Caiguna blowhole;
Nuytsland Nature Reserve, with
its small caves and collapsed
caverns; Dead Dog Cave, where
a mummified Tasmanian Tiger was
found; Cocklebiddy Cave; Eyre Bird
Observatory; Eucla National Park; the
old telegraph station in Eucla; Bunda
Cliffs; Australia’s longest golf course;
the Great Australian Bight.
The Nullarbor is the largest piece of limestone in the world.
There are up to 100,000 wild camels in the desert, abandoned
there after being used in building the railroads.
When you drive through Kimba you are halfway across Australia.
Its name comes from the Latin ‘Nullus’ and ‘Arbor’, which means ‘no trees’.
The ABC offers audio downloads about the Nullarbor towns. Go to abc.
Accommodation You can sleep
overnight in roadhouses or campsites.
Animals you’ll spot Kangaroos,
cattle, whales, birds, emus, camels
Tips Keep your eyes peeled during
the low-visibility hours of dawn and
dusk. Select petrol stops wisely, and
stock up on plenty of water and food.
Ensure your car is serviced, don’t
bring fruit or veg past Border Village,
and watch out for road kill. Take a
break every two hours. In the event of
a breakdown, stay with your car.
Day 1 Perth to Balladonia
Day 2 Balladonia to Caiguna
Day 3 Caiguna to Madura
Day 4 Madura to WA/
SA Border Village
Day 5 Border Village to
Day 6 Nullarbor Roadhouse
to Ceduna (from here, Adelaide
Driving near Leonora
(photography Tourism WA).
Gibb River Road (photography
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