The famous Superpit

City Profile : Kalgoorlie-Boulder

The city with a heart of gold – literally – Kalgoorlie-Boulder is the home of the Golden Mile, the richest square mile of gold-bearing earth in the world.  These days, the Golden Mile is called the Super Pit, a huge hole in the ground that goes 500m deep, and mining remains as the lifeblood of the community.

 

The city is the site of Paddy Hannan’s first gold find and the main street in Kalgoorlie is named after him.  Hannan Street hasn’t changed much since its construction and there is a statue of Paddy outside the Visitor Centre, offering water from a bubbler.

 

 

The discovery of gold at Coolgardie in 1892 and Kalgoorlie in 1893 revived Western Australia’s economy, which had been stagnant for over 60 years.  With the hope of finding their fortune, men arrived in the thousands to work in the goldfields, including many single blokes… with needs.  At one point, there was about 25 brothels on the Red Light district on Hay Street.  There is only one brothel left in town, and it offers tours (of what, we didn’t want to find out).

 

These days, Kalgoorlie-Boulder is home to 30,000 people and is a vibrant and dynamic city with big supermarkets and major clothing brands.  There are several fast food outlets, cafes and restaurants, hairdressers, churches, a huge recreation complex, and even an airport.  St Mary’s Church, also known as Kalgoorlie’s Church of Gold, is a heritage listed federation-gothic style church that was built in 1902.  Despite the plain exterior, it was beautiful inside with the stained windows and wooden ceiling, and it is rumoured to contain real gold.

 

The city is surrounded by red dust and is full of beautiful buildings, miners and travellers.  A large percentage of the pubs in town are Skimpy Bars, where the girls behind the bar are ‘dressed’ in lacy lingerie or bikinis. It is also an RV Friendly city and offers 24 hour parking at Centennial Park.

 

Boulder isn’t as commercial as Kalgoorlie.  We went to check out the Little Boulder Sweet Shop but ended up finding something much more special right next door – the South African Gourmet Deli, complete with a little imported supermarket and a display case full of jerky, biltong and drywors.  We purchased three pieces of drywors because they were so delicious, salty and spiced. YUM!

 

PLACES OF INTEREST

Super Pit

We were really excited to see this great big hole in the ground so we drove up to the KCGM SUPERPIT Lookout and witnessed a mind-blowing sight.  We looked down into Australia’s largest open cut gold mine – a hole 500m deep, 3.8km long and 1.5km wide, resulting from 120 years of digging and spits out $70,000 of gold every hour.

 

 

Amazeballs…

 

Mt Charlotte Lookout

Mt Charlotte Lookout gives a great view Kalgoorlie-Boulder but is also home to the reservoir that supplies water to the city.  There are information boards with the history of the C.Y. O’Connor water pipeline that carries water from a weir near Perth through a 500km steel pipeline to Mt Charlotte.  The reservoir was built in 1903 and is the longest potable water steel pipeline in the world.

 

Beaten Track Brewery

A great little brewery that relies on word-of-mouth for visitors and sales, the owner is more than happy to give you a guided tasting.  Check out our post on the Beaten Track Brewery.

 

Kalgoorlie Arboretum

Talk a leisurely stroll through the Aboretum and learn about native Australian trees.  The walking trails are dotted with plaques that provide information on the nearby flora and help you identify their unique features.  The park contains around 50 different species of Eucalypt trees – each a little different and special in their own way.

 

 

Hammond Park

We accidentally found this park while looking for a BBQ to cook our fish.  Inside the gates was a wonderland of miniature Bavarian castles made from local rocks and gems, ornate gazebos and avaries filled with native and exotic birds.  There was plenty of open grassed areas for running around, as well as picnic tables, a playground and electric BBQs.  A great place to stop for lunch.

 

TO THE SOUTH

Coolgardie

Located 38km south of Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Coolgardie is considered to be the mother of the Goldfields.  As the site of the first settlement of the Goldfields, many of the buildings on the main street display the history and heritage of the town and Ben Prior’s Park is an open air museum with old machinery and statues that provide insight into the history of the town.  Definitely worth a stop to look around.

 

 

Cave Hill & Burra Rock

These granite conservation reserves are great places to camp, with plenty of walking trails, sightseeing and 4WDing.  Facilities include picnic tables, toilets and information shelters.

 

Check out our post on camping at Cave Hill.

 

Lake Douglas Recreation Reserve

After spending two days in Kalgoorlie Boulder, we slipped out of town and stayed the night at Lake Douglas.  The camping area was huge, with lots of bins and concrete picnic tables and nearby drop toilets.  At night, you can see the light from Kalgoorlie-Boulder but make sure you bring some insect repellent because the mosquitoes are hungry.

 

 

INFORMATION & ACCOMMODATION

Kalgoorlie Boulder Pure Gold Visitor Centre – cnr Hannan & Wilson Streets, 08 9021 1966

 

If you have a self-contained unit and you only plan to stay overnight, there is free 24-hour parking at Centennial Park.  Kalgoorlie Boulder prides itself in being an RV Friendly town so camping is free with no permits required.  However, the area is patrolled by rangers so keep your area clean and keep to the limit of 24 hours.  You can come back if you want to, provided that you spend one or more nights elsewhere.

 

Golddust Backpackers YHA – 192 Hay Street, 08 9091 3737

 
 

 

Longnecks available for sale at Beaten Track Brewery

Brewery : Beaten Track Brewery

Longnecks available for sale at Beaten Track Brewery

This little brewery opened in 2008 and produces about 20,000L of beer per year.  All of their beers are named after roads and the three most popular beers are Sandstone Summer Ale, Packhorse Pale Ale and Gibb River Rye.  They barely advertise and rely mostly on word of mouth for new customers, but they do have a facebook page that takes online orders for beer.

 

Tastings are available and include 100ml of 6 beers.  Each tasting costs $15 per person but you can share if you want.  Here are the beers that we got to taste, including the IPA, which was something else!

 

  • Sandstone Summer Ale – 4.7% light and golden, it had yeast and fruit on the nose, a light, refreshing fizz with hopes and a hint of honey.  Awesome!
  • Great Eastern Wheat – 4.7% and 100% Australian ingredients.  With a good head of foam, it has a subtle aroma of smoke.  It was light and hoppy with a gentle hint of smoke.  The wheat gives this beer a nice, healthy body.
  • Packhorse Pale Ale – 5.2% a dark amber beer made with crystal malt.  It had tastes of passionfruit and grapefruit, was a little hoppy and heavier than the two previous beers with a IBU* of 35.
  • Gibb River Rye – 4.7% the colour of gold straw with a good head of froth, it is made of malted rye from Germany.  It has a thick, creamy texture with hints of pine and passionfruit.  It was robust but light.
  • Youngs Scotch Ale – 5.8% Dark, burnt caramel brown, it was thick with coffee and chocolate.  The roasted malt gave it a smoky aftertaste and while it was heavy, you could still drink it in summer.
  • Ginger Ninja – 6.6% a wheat beer made with freshly ground ginger in the mash tun.  It was light and refreshing with a gentle sting of ginger and no sickly sweetness.
  • Gunbarrel Black IPA – super dark with a massive head of coffee froth.  The beer smelt like marijuana, which the hops is responsible for – possibly because the hops marijuana plants come from the same Cannabinaceae family.  It was thick and smoky and absolutely delicious!
  • Sour Apple Cider with Apple Cinnamon & Honey – 6.6% POW! Not sweet at all!  Pure sour, like a sour warhead lolly.  There were really fine bubbles in it that fizzed up into the nose.

 

* IBU is the International Bitterness Unit and ranges between 4-20,000

 

A bag of hops
 
Beaten Track Brewery are located at 25A Dwyer Road in Boulder.

Phone: 0429 205 516

www.beatentrackbrewery.com.au

 

Stockists exist in Fremantle and Perth.  They are also on Twitter and Facebook.

 

Beaten Track Brewery

The Palace

Drink : Pub Crawl in Kalgoorlie-Boulder, WA

It was our first city in Western Australia and after the long drive across the Nullarbor, we were thirsty.  When we saw how many pubs were in town, the first night was appropriately put aside for a pub crawl.

 

Palace Hotel

This bar was one of the venues at the intersection of the main streets, so this was where we decided to meet Tom and Bella for the first round.   We got there early and spoke to the bouncers about where to get the best feed in town and they were kind enough to teach us two things – Paddy’s across the road was having their $15 Schnitzel Night and that the Palace Hotel was a Skimpy Bar.

 

We forgot to tell the latter piece of learning to Tom and Bella, so when we walked through the deserted front bar to get to the busy back bar, Bella was googly eyed!  “Is tonight a special occasion?” she asked on that balmy Tuesday night.  The scantily clad bar bitch with her white lacy suspenders and DD breasts didn’t understand so Juz quietly filled her in, “this is a skimpy bar!”

 

We ordered three beers and a white wine for Bella and went out the back to the beer garden, which felt like an exercise yard – brick wall all the way around.  While there was a dance floor and pool table inside, the atmosphere was negligible so we drank and left soon after.

 

 

The Criterion

We didn’t even enter the place – it smelt like a toilet and looked like a stale TAB gambling bar so we turned around and went to the next pub.

 

The Exchange Hotel

Another bar with skimpies!  Bella and Juz tried to get the attention of the girls, any girl, but they all only had eyes for the men.  We were eventually served by a fully clothed foreign girl who had no idea how to work behind a bar.

 

The positives – the music was alright, the saloon style décor added atmosphere, and they had Little Creatures Pale Ale on tap.  Four pints thanks!

 

Paddy’s Ale House

It was dinner time so we sauntered next door for some $15 schnitzel action.

 

Dave ordered a beef parmigiana while Juz went with a chicken schnitzel topped with creamy garlic sauce.  Both were amazing – thick, juicy schnitzels with well seasoned chips.  Dave’s parma miraculously had ham while Juz’s sauce was creamy and morish. The salad was crisp but the steamed vegetables were wrinkly.  Juz daned her plate and the waitress who cleared the table admired the cleanliness of the dish.

 

 

Drinks were cheap too – Beez Neez stubbies were only $3 while a pint of James Squire was $5.

Paddy's Ale House Irish Pub on Urbanspoon

 

York Hotel

This pub was beautiful, even during the external refurbishments that concealed the façade of the old building.  Inside was spacious and grand with high ceilings and the long walls were filled with AFL memorabilia.

 

We sat in the foyer on gorgeous leather couches next to a beautiful staircase and upright piano and enjoyed the fabulous setting and conversation.  Juz tickled the ivories on the piano with the tune from Titanic. Dave and Tom went upstairs to check out the balcony overlooking the street while Juz and Bella chatted downstairs.

 

 

With even more pubs nearby, we could have kept going but needed to consider where we were going to sleep.  After the York, we called it a night and headed to Centennial Park for sleep.