Have you ever started a road trip without a plan? You did not know where to stay and what to do? That’s exactly how our first week of our long road trip started. Having no fixed plan turned out great. We found awesome free camp spots and nice little towns from the gold rush times.
Our road trip starts in Perth. We buy a 4WD camper, we fit it out and now we are finally ready to hit the road.
It is pretty cold in Perth. Even if spring has started, the temperatures are still very low for the time of the year. The weather is very unstable and unpredictable. One day it is 28 degrees and the next day temperatures are dropping to 19 degrees Celsius again. The day we leave Perth it is one of these cold, rainy and windy days. It’s definitely time to go and search for the warm weather. We hope to find it in the Goldfields and the Red Center.
City and nature are so close together
It’s fascinating how fast the landscape changes. We drive 40 Minutes to the east of Perth and suddenly, we’re in the middle of the nature. Perth already feels miles away. We pass the signpost leading to the John Forrest national park. That’s where we hiked the 15 km long Eagle Hawk Trail a few of days ago. It is a fabulous national park and a perfect getaway from the city.
We are driving on the Great Eastern Highway from Perth to the east. Civilization is still present but it is getting less populated the further east we get. We pass Northam, where we fill our fuel tanks. It looks like Northam is the last town with all the famous fast food companies. As soon as we get away from the town, we are surrounded by nature, trees, bushes, meadows and the road we’re driving on. Also the traffic is getting less and less.
The Eadine Springs free camp is perfect for a night
Our first stop on the way from Perth to Kalgoorlie is the free camp Eadine Springs, just off the Great Eastern Highway. Luckily it’s far enough from the road that we don’t have too much traffic noise. It’s an official rest area with benches and tables.
The sun is out and we are happy to be on the road again. It feels so good. Unfortunately, the rain followed us and clouds are rolling in quickly and the wind starts to blow as well. We hop in our camper and sit out the bad weather. It only takes a quarter of an hour and the sun is back. And so it goes on for the rest of the day. We wonder if we manage to prepare dinner during a sunny period.
Pic: Marcel is cooking under the umbrella
The rain was quicker. Marcel has to improvise and he Needs to hold the umbrella while standing at the gas grill.
What a start of our road trip. Oh, well. It’s a good test. Nobody said that camping is always easy 😉
The night is freezing. We check the weather forecast the next day and it looks like we have chosen one of the coldest nights to start our road trip. The temperature dropped in the night to freezing 4 degrees Celsius. Brrrr….
Anyway, the day welcomes us with a clear blue sky and mild temperatures.
The Ettamogah Pub in Cunderdin, a cool photo opportunity (158 km east of Perth)
The Great Eastern Highway is a well maintained road that follows the Golden Pipeline from 1903. The water pipeline was essential for the cities that are located along the pipeline. If you are interested in the history, you can visit several pump stations along the Golden Pipeline Heritage Trail. Don’t miss the old pump station at the Cunderdin museum, an impressive engineering achievement that was constructed over 100 years ago.
For us the attraction of Cunderdin is the building of the Ettamogah Pub. The funny shaped building is a landmark and great for taking photos.
There is also a cool airplane in Cunderdin. You can’t miss it if you drive through the town center.
Do you like to get 360-degree panoramic views over the town and the surrounding farmland? Check out the Cunderdin Lookout just about one kilometer south of the main street.
Wildflowers and Mini Wave Rock close to Kellerberrin (202 km east of Perth)
A side trip to the Kellerberrin Hill Lookout is well worth it. In springtime you get rewarded with views overlooking fields of wildflowers.
Another side trip about 30 km away from Kellerberrin takes you to Kokerbin Rock. It is the third largest Monolith in Western Australia. In the area you also find a mini Wave Rock, the Dog Rock and Devils Marbels.
There is much more to see along the Great Eastern Highway. You can visit the towns Merredin or Westonia, the Moorine Rock, museums, the Collgar Wind Farm and there are also a few other rock formations in the area.
Southern Cross (368 km east of Perth)
It feels like the further away we are from the coast, the smaller the towns are getting. This was not always the case. During the gold rush there were about 50 towns built in the harsh country around Southern Cross. The towns came as fast as they disappeared. No gold, no people.
Approximately 6 km north of Southern Cross we find this stunning camp spot.
Camping at Lake Koorkoordine
That’s what we love Australia for. Free official camps in the bush. Sometimes they come with infrastructure or just bush camping without any facilities. Camping at Lake Koorkoordine is bush camping at its best.
We fall in love with that view on first sight, that’s why we stay for two nights. It is sooooooooo beautiful.
Coolgardie, a city with lots of history (557 km east of Perth)
The town of Coolgardie is our last stop before we get to the mining town Kalgoorlie-Boulder. Coolgardie is a pretty small town with 800 people living here.
It’s hard to imagine that the population of Coolgardie was 15‘000 about 120 years ago. Back then Coolgardie used to be the third largest town of Western Australia. There were 20 hotels and three breweries in town. During the gold rush, many people came to the area for the gold. They hoped for wealth and a good life. Once the gold rush ended, people left.
We take a walk along the main street where we spot a cafe right opposite of the information center. We go in, order a cappuccino and enjoy the quiet atmosphere. There are a few tourists walking around and periodically a road train is passing by.
It is only a 40 km drive from Coolgardie to Kalgoorlie-Boulder. Before we explore the mining town, we are checking out a camping spot to stay for the night.
Fabulous free camp at Lake Douglas, 15 km west of Kalgoorlie
Thanks to the App WikiCamps we find another great spot to set up camp. On Lake Douglas, just 15 km west of Kalgoorlie, there is a fantastic free camp. A bit away from the lake there is a big area suitable for camping vehicles and trailers of all sizes. There are toilets, tables and benches for public use.
The camp looks great, but we like to have lake view. We take a small path leading down to the lake and we find an awesome spot. Once we set up everything it’s time to relax and watch the sunset.
Life is beautiful!
Kalgoorlie-Boulder – The end of the Great Eastern Highway (596 km east of Perth)
Hello Kalgoorlie. We are back to the city. Time to stock up on fresh water, food and fuel. We also check out the city and we enjoy looking at some historical buildings which are still in good condition. Kalgoorlie-Boulder is a mining town and still the biggest gold producer in Australia.
On the way to fill our fresh water tank we see the signpost to the Super Pit Lookout. Great! We go and have a look.
The Super Pit is in Boulder and the drive to the lookout is totally worth it. The dimensions of the Super Pit are mind blowing. The pit is almost 500 meters deep, 3.7 km in length and 1.5 km wide. We observe the huge mining trucks driving in and out of the mine. The trucks are huge but when they are driving down the pit, they look like toys.
Well, here are some photos of Kalgoorlie-Boulder. A separate post about the mining town and its attractions will follow later.
Highlights along the Great Eastern Highway from Perth to Kalgoorlie-Boulder
Where it is worth to stop from Perth to Kalgoorlie:
- The Ettamogah Pub in Cunderdin
- The Kellerberrin Hill Lookout. Extremely nice in springtime when the wildflowers are blooming
- Lake Koorkoordine 6 km north of Southern Cross (great for camping or lunch break)
- Take a walk along Coolgardie’s main street and check out its historical buildings
- The Super Pit Lookout in Kalgoorlie-Boulder
- Enjoy the sunset at Lake Douglas, 15 km west of Kalgoorlie
- Take a few photos of the historical buildings in Kalgoorlie, e.g. the Exchange Hotel and the Kalgoorlie Town Hall
Route information: Great Eastern Highway from Perth to Kalgoorlie
It’s 596 km from Perth to Kalgoorlie on the Great Eastern Highway. If you are in a hurry you can do the trip in a day or two. As there is quite a lot of history, nice lookouts and so many great camping options, we recommend taking your time.
We are in no hurry and therefore we take it easy. We do the 596 km from Perth to Kalgoorlie in four days. Especially Lake Koorkoordine is totally beautiful and worth to stay a day or two.
That’s what we love on a road trip. To have the time, flexibility and spontaneity to stay where we like it, as long as we like. That’s what we call luxury.
What is luxury for you when you travel? Share your thoughts with us. We are looking forward to read your comments.