Exchange Hotel, John Baker / Explore Australia Publishing

Population 28243

Kalgoorlie is the centre of Western Australia's goldmining industry. It was once known as Hannan's Find in honour of Paddy Hannan, the first prospector to discover gold in the area. In June 1893 Hannan was among a party of about 150 men who set out from Coolgardie to search for some lost prospectors near Yerilla. After a stop at Mount Charlotte, the main party continued on, leaving Hannan and two others behind as one of their horses had lost a shoe. Some idle 'specking' (looking on the ground for nuggets) led them to stumble on the richest goldfield the world had known – it soon grew to encompass the 'Golden Mile', which is reputedly the world's richest square mile of gold-bearing ore. Rapid development of Kalgoorlie and nearby Boulder followed, with thousands of men travelling to the field from all over the world, reaching a maximum population of about 30 000 in 1903. The shortage of water was always a problem, but in 1903 the genius of engineer C. Y. O'Connor enabled a pipeline to be opened that pumped water 560 kilometres from Perth. In its heyday Kalgoorlie and Boulder boasted eight breweries and 93 hotels. The two towns amalgamated in 1989 to form Kalgoorlie–Boulder, and today the population is again close to peak levels due to the region's second gold boom.

Visitor Information

Cnr Hannan and Wilson sts; 1800 004 653 or (08) 9021 1966.


Nearby towns

  • Coolgardie

    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...more

  • Norseman

    Norseman is the last large town on the Eyre Highway for travellers heading east towards South Australia. Gold put Norseman on the map in the...more

  • Leonora

    Leonora is the busy railhead for the north-eastern goldfields and the surrounding pastoral region. Mount Leonora was discovered in 1869 by...more

In Town

Historic buildings Although only a few kilometres apart, Kalgoorlie and Boulder developed independently for many years. The amalgamated towns now form a city with 2 main streets, each lined with impressive hotels and civic buildings. Built at the turn of the century, when people were flocking to the area, many of these buildings display ornamentation and fittings that reflect the confidence and wealth of the mining interests and are fine examples of early Australian architecture. The Kalgoorlie Town Hall (1908), on the corner of Hannan and Wilson sts, has hosted many a famous performer on its stage, including Dame Nellie Melba and Percy Grainger. It now displays a collection of memorabilia; tours 1.30pm Wed. The offices of newspapers the Kalgoorlie Miner and Western Argus was the first 3-storey building in town. Burt St in Boulder is regarded as one of the most significant streetscapes in WA. Buildings to see include the Grand Hotel (1897), the Old Chemist (1900), which now houses a pharmaceutical museum, and the post office (1899), which was once so busy it employed 49 staff. The Boulder Town Hall, built in 1902, is currently closed due to extensive damage caused by a 5.2 magnitude earthquake which struck Kalgoorlie–Boulder in Apr 2010. The Town Hall is home to one of the world’s last remaining Goatcher stage curtains. Phillip Goatcher was one of the greatest scenic painters of Victorian times and his hand-painted drop curtains graced theatres in London, Paris and New York. The self-guided Kalgoorlie Inner City Trail will take you on a tour of 40 historic buildings; contact the visitor centre for brochure.

Paddy Hannan's Statue: a monument to the first man to discover gold in Kalgoorlie; Hannan St.

St Mary's Church: built in 1902 of Coolgardie pressed bricks, many of which are believed to contain gold; Cnr Brookman and Porter sts, Kalgoorlie.

WA School of Mines Mineral Museum: displays include over 3000 mineral and ore specimens and many gold nuggets; open 8.30am–12.30pm Mon–Fri, closed on school holidays; Egan St, Kalgoorlie.

WA Museum Kalgoorlie–Boulder: panoramic views of the city from the massive mining headframe at the entrance. Known locally as the Museum of the Goldfields, displays include a million-dollar gold collection, nuggets and jewellery. See the narrowest pub in the Southern Hemisphere, a re-created 1930s miner's cottage and other heritage buildings. Guided tours available; open 10am–4.30pm daily; 17 Hannan St, Kalgoorlie.

Goldfields Arts Centre: art gallery and theatre; Cassidy St, Kalgoorlie.

Goldfields Aboriginal Art Gallery: examples of local Aboriginal art and artefacts for sale; open Mon–Fri or by appt; Dugan St, Kalgoorlie; (08) 9021 8533.

Paddy Hannan's Tree: a plaque marks the spot where Paddy Hannan first discovered gold; Outridge Tce, Kalgoorlie.

Red-light district: view the few remaining 'starting stalls', in which women once posed as prospective clients walked by, and visit the only working brothel in the world that visitors can tour. Langtrees; tours by appt; (08) 9026 2181; Hay St, Kalgoorlie.

Superpit Lookout: underground mining on the Golden Mile became singly owned in the 1980s and '90s and was converted into an open-cut operation – what is now known as the Superpit. Peer into its depths from the lookout off Goldfields Hwy, Boulder (can coincide visit with blasting; check times at visitor centre); daily tours (free on market day) and scenic flights are also available.

Mt Charlotte: the reservoir holds water pumped from the Mundaring Weir in Perth via the pipeline of C. Y. O'Connor. A lookout provides good views of the city; off Goldfields Hwy, Kalgoorlie.

Hammond Park: miniature Bavarian castle made from thousands of local gemstones. There is also a sanctuary for kangaroos and emus, and aviaries for a variety of birdlife; Lyall St, Kalgoorlie.

Arboretum: a living museum of species of the semi-arid zone and adjacent desert areas, this 26.5 ha parkland has interpretive walking trails and recreation facilities; Hawkins St, adjacent Hammond Park.

Miners' Monument: tribute to mine workers; Burt St, Boulder.

WMC Nickel Pots: massive nickel pots and interpretive panels describe the story of the development of the nickel industry in the region; Goldfields Hwy.

Loopline Railway Museum: celebrates what was once one of the busiest railways in Australia, which connected Kalgoorlie and Boulder to outlying towns in the region; Boulder City Railway Station, cnr Burt and Hamilton sts; open 9am–1pm daily.

Royal Flying Doctor Visitor Centre: climb on board an authentic RFDS plane; 45min tours available, on the hour; open 10am–3pm Mon–Fri; Airport, Hart Kerspien Dr.

Karlkurla Bushland: pronounced 'gullgirla', this natural regrowth area of bushland offers a 4 km signposted walk trail, picnic areas and lookout over the city and nearby mining areas; Riverina Way.

Walks: guided and self-guide heritage walks; details and maps at visitor centre.


Australian Prospectors and Miners Hall of Fame Tour a historic underground mine, watch a gold pour or visit the Exploration Zone, which is designed specifically for young people. You will find interactive exhibits on exploration, mineral discoveries and surface and underground mining, including panning for gold. The Environmental Garden details the stages and techniques involved in mine-site rehabilitation. At Hannan’s North Tourist Mine, historic buildings re-create an early gold-rush town and visitors can take a first-hand look at the cramped and difficult working conditions of the miners. Eastern Bypass Rd; (08) 9026 2700; 7km N.

Bush 2-Up: visit the original corrugated-iron shack and bush ring where Australia’s only legal bush 2-up school used to operate; off Goldfields Hwy; 8 km E.

Kanowna Belle Gold Mine lookouts: wander the ghost town remains of Kanowna and see day-to-day mining activities from 2 lookouts over a previously mined open pit and processing plant; 20 km E.

Broad Arrow: see the pub where scenes from the Googie Withers movie Nickel Queen were shot in the 1970s. Every wall is autographed by visitors; 38km N.

Ora Banda: recently restored inn; 54 km NW.

Kambalda: nickel-mining town on Lake Lefroy (salt). Head to Red Hill Lookout for views across the expanse; 55 km S.

Prospecting: visitors to the area may obtain a miner's right from the Dept of Mineral and Petroleum Resources in Brookman St; strict conditions apply; details from the visitor centre.

Lake Ballard: a collection of 51 black steel sculptures created by world-renowned artist Antony Gormley are scattered through the vast 10 sq km white salt plain of Lake Ballard. Made using scans of locals from the nearby town of Menzies, these taut, stick-like body-forms are best seen at sunrise and sunset; 80 km NW.


: almost a ghost town, it has a museum, the restored State Hotel and tin houses preserved in their lived-in state; See Leonora; 233km N.


: has historic buildings saved by the nickel industry; 100 km E.

Golden Quest Discovery Trail: 965km drive that traces the gold rushes of the 1890s through Coolgardie, Kalgoorlie–Boulder, Menzies, Kookynie, Gwalia, Leonora and Laverton; pick up the map, book and CD at the visitor centre.

Golden Pipeline Heritage Trail: follow the course of the pipeline from Mundaring Weir to Mt Charlotte. Finding a reliable water supply to support the eastern goldfields’ booming population became imperative after the 1890s gold rush. C. Y. O’Connor’s solution was radically brilliant: the construction of a reservoir at Mundaring in the hills outside Perth and a 556km water pipeline to Kalgoorlie. His project was criticised relentlessly by the press and public, which affected O’Connor deeply. On 19 Mar 1902 he went for his usual morning ride along the beach in Fremantle. As he neared Robb Jetty, he rode his horse into the sea and shot himself. The pipeline was a success, delivering as promised 22 million litres of water a day to Kalgoorlie, and continues to operate today. On the coast just south of Fremantle, a half-submerged statue of a man on a horse is a poignant tribute to this man of genius; guidebook available at visitor centre.

Tours: self-drive or guided 4WD tours available to many attractions. Also fossicking, prospecting, camping and museum tours, and self-guide wildflower tours; details at visitor centre.

Scenic flights: flights over Coolgardie, the Superpit, Lake Lefroy; details at visitor centre.

Cafes & restaurants around town

Danny's Bar & Grill

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The Exchange Hotel

Established in 1896, The Exchange Hotel is one of the oldest hotels in town and was the original miner’s pub back in the gold-rush days. After having undergone extensive renovations, today it still functions as a... Find out more


Situated within the Kalgoorlie Hotel, Judd’s is where diners come to indulge in the Australian tradition of hearty pub fare enjoyed in relaxed surroundings. This popular spot has patrons people-watching from the... Find out more


This Italian restaurant is undoubtedly one of the best eateries in town. ‘Saltimbocca’ means ‘jumps in the mouth’ and the menu doesn’t disappoint. Naturally, veal saltimbocca is the... Find out more

Sheffield's Bar & Grill

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Campsites around town

Credo Homestead camping area 69 km

Credo Homestead camping area is located 70 km north of Coolgardie on Coolgardie North Rd, opposite Rowles Lagoon. Visitors who set up camp near the old homestead will be able to make use of the facilities there as well... Find out more

Rowles Lagoon camping area 71 km

Rowles Lagoon camping area is 6 km north-east of Coolgardie North Rd, 68 km north of Coolgardie. It has shady sites and a good range of facilities on the edge of the lagoon for campers who enjoy aquatic activities by day... Find out more

Burra Rock camping area 76 km

Burra 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

Victoria Rock camping area 79 km

Victoria Rock camping area is on Victoria Rock Rd, 46 km south of Coolgardie via Gnarlbine Rock Rd, at the western end of town. Nestled beside the rock, visitors will find sites with basic facilities (bring drinking... Find out more

Goongarrie Homestead camping area 94 km

Goongarrie Homestead camping area is 14 km west of the Menzies–Kalgoorlie Rd, 90 km north of Kalgoorlie. Use the homestead’s facilities while exploring this old pastoral property. Note: roads may be closed... Find out more

Caravan parks around town

Prospector Holiday Park 3 km

Easily 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

Discovery Holiday Parks – Kalgoorlie 4 km

Located off the main road, close to the airport and about 2 km from the centre of Boulder, this is a good base from which to explore the surrounding goldmining districts. Bookings are required in the winter months.... Find out more

Goldminer Tourist Caravan Park 4 km

This park is conveniently located on the Coolgardie Road, about 4 km west of the city centre. It has good facilities and a range of accommodation.... Find out more

Hotels, motels & B&Bs around town

All Seasons Kalgoorlie Plaza Hotel

Located in the town centre, the All Seasons Plaza Hotel has 100 modern hotel rooms, some with balconies. The restaurant serves international cuisine and you can enjoy your meal by the pool or in your room. As soon as you... Find out more

Kalgoorlie Overland Motel

Offering comfortable motel-style rooms, the Kalgoorlie Overland Motel also has two-bedroom family rooms with cooking facilities. All rooms include ensuites and internet access is available to guests. Away from the busy... Find out more

Palace Hotel

The Palace Hotel has a range of accommodation options, from basic rooms suited to backpackers to hotel rooms with balconies and apartments, including one with five bedrooms. Complimentary wireless internet access is... Find out more

Quest Yelverton Kalgoorlie

The Quest Yelverton Kalgoorlie is the premier accommodation in town and is conveniently located within walking distance of all the action. It offers studios and one- and two-bedroom apartments, with internet access and... Find out more

Rydges Kalgoorlie

Formerly the Broadwater Resort Hotel Kalgoorlie, the Rydges Kalgoorlie offers a range of accommodation options, including deluxe studios and one- and two-bedroom apartments. The modern rooms come with spa baths and... Find out more

Rest areas around town

Coolgardie park area 38 km

At Coolgardie

Adjacent to the highway. In the middle of town.

Wattle Dam rest area 67 km

60km S of Coolgardie (R) or 106km N of Norseman (L)

In scrub just off the highway behind the parking bay.

Yerdani Well rest area 92 km

129km E of Southern Cross (L) or 56km W of Coolgardie (R)

Secluded area well off the highway in the scrub.

What's on around town

Kalgoorlie Market Day: St Barbara Sq; 1st Sun each month.

Boulder Market Day: Burt St; 3rd Sun each month.

Community Fair: Apr.

Menzies to Kalgoorlie Cycle Race: June.

Diggers and Dealers Mining Forum: Aug.

Kalgoorlie Cup and Boulder Cup: Sept.

Back to Boulder Festival: Oct.

Balzano Barrow Race: Oct.

St Barbara’s Mining and Community Festival: Dec.

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