Take to the road to explore Australia’s glorious golden outback on this six-day itinerary through the Goldfields to the edge of the Great Victoria Desert. Departing from Perth, you will head east to uncover ancient Aboriginal rock art, majestic salt flats and wide open skies, taking in the bustling metropolis that is Kalgoorlie, the eerie ghost town of Gwalia, and everything in between.
Perth to Perth
Best Time of the Year
March to November
- Super Pit
- Antony Gormley Art
- Goldrush towns
Perth to Hyden (Wave Rock)
Distance 340km - Driving Time 4 hours
Taking care to stock the campervan with the supplies you’ll need for this trip, head out of Perth and travel east towards Corrigin, a pretty place to stop for lunch, especially during wildflower season. From there, drive on towards Hyden and the iconic Wave Rock.
One of Australia’s biggest waves – yet nowhere near the ocean – Wave Rock rises 15m over the outback plain, looking like it’s about to crash into the bush. More than 2,700 million years in the making, the multi-coloured granite rock spans 110m, and becomes even more entrancing when surrounded with a sea of wildflower blooms in spring.
Also worth a visit within the surrounding 160-hectare nature reserve is Mulka's Cave. Hosting a collection of more than 450 ancient rock paintings, this cave tells the story of a local Aboriginal legend.
Hyden to Kalgoorlie
Distance 378km - Driving Time 4 hours
Driving on to Kalgoorlie, you can break up your journey with a stop at Coolgardie, the birthplace of the 1892 gold rush. At its peak, Coolgardie was Western Australia’s third largest town, boasting 60 shops, 26 hotels, four clubs, three breweries, seven newspapers, six banks and two stock exchanges. Much smaller today, it offers fascinating insight into the region’s gold rush past, while nearby Burra Rocks, Cave Hill and the freshwater wetlands at Rowles Lagoon are also well worth exploring.
If you’re keen to keep driving, you can head south from Kalgoorlie to Kambalda, where you can visit Red Hill Lookout to take in panoramic views of Lake Lefroy, a 40km salt pan lake. Bushwalking trails take you around the hill, showing off beautiful flora and fauna, or alternatively, try your hand at land sailing on the lake, the location of many land speed record attempts.
As Australia's largest Outback City, the twin towns of Kalgoorlie-Boulder are without doubt the hub of the Goldfields region. Starting out as a magnet for gold seekers, Kalgoorlie comes from wild beginnings, but unlike many towns in the area that have since faded away, it has become a bustling metropolis with a dynamic and cosmopolitan vibe.
During your stay in Kalgoorlie, check out its ornate buildings, captivating murals, and unexpectedly enticing foodie scene. Play 2UP at one of two legal weekly games in Australia, have a beer in a true-blue Aussie pub, or head out to the Super Pit, a mine so big it can be seen from space.
Kalgoorlie to Leonora
Distance 235km - Driving Time 2 hours 30 mins
Your drive today will take you through the historic gold mining town of Menzies. While the town itself is tiny, it provides access to Lake Ballard, home to Antony Gormley’s incredible sculptures. Here you can see the sculptor’s 51 stainless steel figures – most of which represent the people who lived in Menzies – as they stand stark against white salt bed of the lake.
Staying in Leonora overnight, be sure to visit Gwalia, an intriguing ghost town that acts as a ‘living’ museum. You could also take a trip out to the Malcolm Dam, a haven for many native bird species and an excellent spot for bird watching, or head to the Terraces – a large breakaway formation about 40km north-east of Leonora – to find great bushwalking and magnificent views.
Leonora to Laverton and Kalgoorlie
Distance 438km - Driving Time 5 hours
An hour and a half’s drive from Leonora is Laverton. Situated on the western edge of the Great Victoria Desert, it is the starting point for the Anne Beadell Highway, leading to Coober Pedy in South Australia. It is also the start of the Outback Way, an awesome four-wheel drive route that runs through Alice Springs, up to Cairns.
Visiting Laverton, you can check out the town’s colourful past as a gold and nickel mining town, to find out why it was once known as the wildest town in the west. From Laverton, you will drive back towards Leonora, and south to Kalgoorlie for the night.
Kalgoorlie to Perth
Distance 592km - Driving Time 6 hours 30 mins
Take your time on the drive back to Perth, as you follow the Golden Pipeline Heritage Trail all the way from Kalgoorlie back to the Perth Hills. In Perth, you can drop off your campervan, or connect with another itinerary heading north or south.