South western Australia Road Trip – Part 1

The south west of WA, breathtaking beauty of rugged coastline and forest scenery, a hotspot for once in a lifetime experiences and a hub of activity – this part of Western Australia is a treasure to discover and a memory to last you a lifetime.

Before we set off on our Perth to Darwin tour, second escorted motorhome tour of the year, our tour leaders Jean and Dave had a couple of weeks to explore the south western corner of this remarkable part of the Oz, and oh boy, what gems they discovered!

From Perth they headed off along the Great Eastern Highway, passed through a few country towns on the way to Kalgoorlie, 593km east of Perth. York, just 1.5 hours east of Perth, was one of these charming colonial towns they came across.   There was a fabulous spot to set up camp at one of the freedom camping spots down by the river to break up this 6+ hour journey to Kalgoorlie. This was quite a remarkable spot as the freedom camping spot had a few power points available for use – oh boy we love this country!!

Fimiston Open Pit Kalgoorlie super pit

The Fimiston Open Pit

It was then off to Kalgoorlie, passing through other interesting towns.  At Kalgoorlie, they spent some time at the Super Pit Mine Lookout, located off the Goldfields Highway on the south-east edge of Kalgoorlie. The Fimiston Open Pit, colloquially known as the Super Pit, was Australia’s largest open cut gold mine until 2016 when it was surpassed by the Newmont Boddington gold mine also located in Western Australia. The pit is approximately 3.5 kilometres long, 1.5 kilometres wide and over 600 meters deep and believe it or not, at these dimensions, it is large enough to be seen from space!

You’ll find the Super Pit Mine Lookout at the top of Outram Street in Boulder (off the Goldfields Highway, 6.4 km south of Hannan Street). However, over the years the Lookout does have to get moved to accommodate the changing pit. The Super Pit Lookout is open 07:00 to 19:00 daily. For information on blasting times, contact the KCGM Public Interaction Line on +61 (0)8 9022 1100.

There was no blasting going on the day Jean and Dave were there, however it is still very interesting watching the hive of activity with the monster trucks.  It takes seven truckloads of ore to produce one golf ball size piece of gold.

calm waters sunset trees lining lake lake douglas

Lake Douglas

Another favourite freedom camp was Lake Douglas, which was just 12 km south-west of Kalgoorlie (you’ll find it in Camps Australia Wide Guide version 9, ref 229).  This provided us with another picture-perfect freedom camp spot before heading south down the Coolgardie-Esperance Highway to Esperance where we were planning on picking up our National Park Passes for Cape Le Grand National Park.  In Western Australia, you’ll need a national park pass to access all the parks – if you are planning on visiting a couple, of parks this is very worthwhile.  You can grab the pass online, or some of the motorhome depots in Perth sell this.  Otherwise, grab from the Esperance information centre.  If you are planing on heading out to visit one of Australia’s stunning National Parks, check out our blog here where we provide really useful links to the National Parks sites for each of the states as you’ll need to organise a Park Pass if you plan on camping there.

blue aqua sea white sandy beach blue sky esperance ocean drive

Esperance Ocean Drive

If you do get down to Esperance, we recommend doing the 40 km ocean drive, as it really is worth doing. Labelled as the ‘tourist drive’ from Esperance it is easy to following along the stunning coastline, and then inland back into town past the ‘pink lake’.  This drive, while only 40 km could take all day by the time you stop at the many vantage points and enjoy the views and a stroll or two along picturesque beaches.

Heading out to Cape Le Grand National Park is also a must do when in this area.  You can either head out for a day trip from Esperance, or there are some unpowered camping spots available within the park (limited availability).

Kangaroos on Lucky Beach

Jean and Dave were fortunate enough to see kangaroos right down on Lucky Beach, which is believed to be the whitest sandy beach in Australia! The area here is stunning and so picturesque – it is all about the turquoise ocean, white sandy beaches and weathered granite rock formations.

After a fabulous time exploring Cape Le Grand National Park, Jean and Dave gallivanted off inland and drove up through Ravensthorpe to Hyden where they saw the iconic Wave Rock, a natural rock formation that is shaped like a tall breaking ocean wave. The “wave” is about 15 m (49 ft) high and around 110 m (360 ft) long and it forms the north side of a solitary hill, which is known as “Hyden Rock”.

tin horse highway kulin

Tin Horse Highway

They then went on to Kulin, to drive the quirky 15 km Tin Horse Highway, it really is a laughing matter! The dusty paddocks surrounding Kulin, over time, have become a gallery of bright, quirky, community creations. What started as a community marketing campaign to promote the annual Kulin Bush Races has become one of Western Australia’s most popular self-drives. The Tin Horse Highway provides a seriously entertaining drive and a fun detour!

If you are in the planning stages of your motorhome holiday adventure down under take a look at some of the Travel Routes you can take in Australia and then get in touch with us as we’ll make sure you get the best bang for your buck and the most suitable vehicle for your needs. You can take a look at the vehicles we select from here.