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  • Kalgoorlie-Boulder

    Posted by Samuel Cox February 10, 2014 - 286 views - 0 comments - 0 likes - ##kalgoorlie  ##boulder  ##kal  ##superpit  ##bighole  ##skimpy 

    Bestselling British author Philip Pullman once said that, after nourishment, shelter and companionship, ‘stories are the things we need most in the world.’ The twin towns of Kalgoorlie and Boulder have plenty of those. Collectively known as Kal, this outback mining city, in the Goldfields-Esperance region of WA, was the capital of ‘wild west’ back in the day, full of bandits and prostitutes.


    This region was central to WA’s history of flirting with secession, after it underwent a rapid increase in population only to be (apparently) neglected by the State government. At one point, there was talk of it breaking away to become its own state (to be called Auralia), but the sudden diaspora after the Gold Rush saw this plan fall through.


    Kal has sown its wild oats and grown sage. You won’t find exhausted aristocrats having spent the day browsing boutiques for window frames to suit their clubrooms, but this small city steeped in history is no redneck backwater.


    Kal’s sights include, first and foremost, the Super Pit, truly a wonder of the world. This enormous open-cut gold mine is a monument to man’s desecrating rape of the Earth. Operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (until about 2029), there is a viewing post offering panoramic views of this strangely mesmerisingly beautiful monstrosity. There are tours offering a more in-depth look at the Super Pit, taking you along the haul roads and into the site. Be sure to bring your camera for some incredible photos! If you’re looking to get on the bandwagon, Finders Keepers provides mining licenses and prospecting gear.


    Irish Engineer C.Y. O’Connor’s famous pipeline shuttles fresh water from Mundaring Weir, near Perth, to Kal. Although O’Connor’s story ended in tragedy (he committed suicide after the yellow press subjected him to [baseless] prolonged accusations of corruption and gross incompetence), his legacy has been successfully operating since 1903 and can be viewed arriving in Kal from the Mount Charlotte Lookout. When I was last in Kal (helping my sister and her partner move house), I witnessed a sublime lightning storm from this vantage point. It was amazing, but was probably not the safest place to do so as there are a lot of tall metal poles and a large reservoir of water… 


    In September, the Kalgoorlie-Boulder Racecourse hosts the Kalgoorlie Cup, a horseracing event that is developing a reputation as an exciting day out. 


    In terms of restaurants, Manna Thai serves amazing, well presented Thai food, with friendly staff and a good menu. Danny’s Italian Steak & Seafood offers well-cooked food of the titular variety and, finally, there is Golden India, which is not cheap, but the food is authentic and tasty. The food is not great at Judd’s Pub, but it is a nice place to have a drink.


    Getting to this major urban centre is very straightforward, but it is an (approximately) eight-hour transit. One can simply drive down Great Eastern Highway until you hit Kal, or use the Prospector train provided by TransWA. The rail journey can be taken in relaxed comfort as the leg room is spacious and every chair has access to power points for laptop computers and phone chargers.I honestly believe that the Australian bush that will pass by your window is some of the most beautiful landscapes you’ll ever see.


    If you’re seeking accommodation for a longer stay, Rydges Resort and Spa is the nicest Kal has to offer. Only a few minutes drive from the centre of town (the main street is Hannan Street, named after one of the town’s founders), the beds are comfortable, the shower pressure good and there is secure guest parking.