With red dirt on either side of the car and a straight road as far as the eye can see we have officially entered the outback as we head north to Kalgoorlie. Stopping in the mining town of Kalgoorlie for a night is more of a necessity on our round trip route than a must see destination, but it does have a few sights to offer. Walking down the main street is like stepping back in time, as each of the faces of the main buildings has been restored to its turn of the century glory. It’s quite a juxtaposition with the old country style shops selling modern goods and electronics, and large banners promoting the new iPhone 4.
The main tourist attraction for the town is the Super Pit lookout. At one kilometre across, 800 meters wide and almost 500 meters deep, it’s one giant hole! You can watch the digger’s and the dump trucks dig away at the loose rubble almost half a kilometre down, and then spend almost an hour trucking it back to the surface as they wind their way around the circular ledges. It’s a mulit-billion dollar operation that runs 365 days a year and keeps the money rolling into the town and surrounding suburbs. On the information boards around the mine it says, “ for every 6 dump trucks that haul up rubble, only 1 golf ball size amount of gold is recovered!” That one golf ball must be making a heck of a great return to keep this operation running.
There are only a few budget options for accommodations available, and most are quite busy with contractors for the mine. We stayed at the Kalgoorlie backpackers – cheaper than the YHA in town, and surprisingly quite clean given its outside appearance and clientele. Lizzie, the owner, runs a tight ship and keeps the boys in line, making sure no dirty boots or work clothes are left lying around the hostel. Sandra and I were the only females staying in the hostel, great for showering since we each have an entire bathroom to ourselves. Tomorrow it will be a long push back to Perth to drop off Sandra and then on to Lancelin, two hours north of the Perth, for a night of peaceful relaxation before heading back into the big city.