This town was the first settlement in the eastern goldfields. After alluvial gold was found in 1892, Coolgardie grew in ten years to a town of 15 000 people, 23 hotels, six banks and two stock exchanges. The main street, lined with some magnificent buildings, was made wide enough for camel trains to turn around in. As in many outback towns, the heat and the isolation led to innovation, in this case that of the Coolgardie safe, which used water and a breeze to keep food cool before the days of electricity.
Goldfields Exhibition Building, Bayley St; (08) 9026 6090
Historic buildings There are 23 buildings in the town centre that have been listed on the National Estate register, many of them on the main street, Bayley St. Over 100 markers are positioned at buildings and historic sites across the town, using stories and photographs to recapture the gold-rush days. The index to markers is in Bayley St next to the visitor centre.
Goldfields Exhibition Museum Local photographs and displays inside the old Warden's Court including a display on the famous Varischetti mine rescue. In 1907 Modesto Varischetti was trapped underground in a flooded mine for 9 days. Varischetti survived in an air pocket until divers eventually found him. The dramatic rescue captured world attention. Bayley St.
Ben Prior's Open-Air Museum: unusual collection of machinery and memorabilia; Cnr Bayley and Hunt sts.
Warden Finnerty's House: striking 1895 example of early Australian architecture and furnishings; open 11am–4pm Mon–Sun except Wed; McKenzie St.
C. Y. O'Connor Dedication: fountain and water course in memory of O'Connor, who masterminded the Goldfields Water Supply Scheme; McKenzie St.
Gaol tree: used for prisoners in early gold-rush days, before a gaol was built; Hunt St.
Lindsay's Pit Lookout: over open-cut goldmine; Ford St.
Coolgardie Cemetery The town cemetery gives you an inkling of the harshness of the early gold-rush years. The register of burials records that of the first 32 burials, the names of 15 were unknown, and many entries for 'male child' and 'female child' note 'fever' as the cause of death. One of the most significant graves is that of Ernest Giles, an Englishman whose name is associated with the exploration of inland Australia. 1 km W.
Coolgardie Camel Farm:
Coolgardie Camel Farm:offers rides on the 'ships of the desert'; (08) 9026 6159; 4 km W.
Gnarlbine Rock: originally an Aboriginal well, then one of the few water sources for the early prospectors; 30 km SW.
Kunanalling Hotel: once a town of over 800 people, the ruins of the hotel are all that remain; 32 km N.
Victoria Rock: camping, and spectacular views from the summit; 55 km SW.
Burra Rock: popular camping and picnic area (55 km S). Cave Hill, a similar destination, lies a further 40 km S (4WD only).
Rowles Lagoon Conservation Park: picnicking and camping spots available although recently there has been no water; 65 km N.
Wallaroo Rocks: 3 dams with scenic views and good bushwalking; 90 km W.
Golden Quest Discovery Trail: Coolgardie forms part of this 965 km self-guided drive trail of the goldfields; book, map and CD available at visitor centre.
Eco-friendly activities around town
Campsites around town
Burra Rock camping area 49 kmBurra Rock camping area is along Burra Rock Rd, 58 km south of Coolgardie via Hunt Rd. It provides campers with basic facilities (bring firewood and water) in a natural bush environment.... Find out more
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Cave Hill camping area 79 kmCave Hill camping area is 50 km south-west of Widgiemooltha and 39 km south of Burra Rock via 4WD tracks. There are 2 camping areas on the western side of the granite outcrop, and another on the eastern side. Make the... Find out more
Boondi Rock camping area 80 kmBoondi Rock camping area is just off the Great Eastern Hwy, approximately 80 km west of Coolgardie. It provides campers with a few basic facilities (bring firewood and drinking water) near a granite rock outcrop in the... Find out more
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Caravan parks around town
Prospector Holiday Park 35 kmEasily accessible from the Great Eastern Highway this is a spacious park with good amenities for touring caravanners. It is a good base from which to explore the historic region. There is little grass in Kalgoorlie and... Find out more
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Hotels, motels & B&Bs around town
Rest areas around town
Adjacent to the highway. In the middle of town.
Yerdani Well rest area 55 km
129km E of Southern Cross (L) or 56km W of Coolgardie (R)
Secluded area well off the highway in the scrub.
Wattle Dam rest area 56 km
60km S of Coolgardie (R) or 106km N of Norseman (L)
In scrub just off the highway behind the parking bay.
Boondi rest area 75 km
108km E of Southern Cross (L) or 77km W of Coolgardie (R)
Just off the highway in the scrub.
Boondi Rock camping area 79 km
T/O 105km E of Southern Cross (L) or 80km W of Coolgardie (R)
Secluded in scrub 3km (unsealed) north of the highway in Goldfields Woodlands National Park.
Redross rest area 95 km
101km S of Coolgardie (R) or 65km N of Norseman (L)
In scrub behind the truck bay.
What's on around town
Coolgardie Day: Sept.
Metal Detecting Championships: odd-numbered years, Sept/Oct.