Kalgoorlie is a city in Australia. It is about 650 km east of Perth in Western Australia, a mining town of about 32 000 people, one of the few larger towns in the state. It is along the road from Perth to Adelaide and Sydney.
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Coming from the west (Perth, Merredin, Southern Cross) a driver wishing to bypass Kalgoorlie might drop you on the edge of town, at the traffic lights of Great Eastern Hwy/Anzac Dr. Just walk across the lights along Great Eastern Hwy a few metres and there is a large shoulder to the road, where cars coming into town can pick you up. You should quickly get a ride into town.
Coming from the south, if your driver wishes to bypass Kalgoorlie, ask them which side of the town they will pass. You do not want to be dropped at the big roundabout on Celebration Dr, its not a good spot for getting into Kalgoorlie (though if you are, head to the BP Service Station on the Kambalda turnoff) and your driver will come closer to the town anyway. If they go to the west, they can put you at the crossing of Great Eastern Hwy and Anzac Dr (advice as above). If they go to the east along the Bypass road, they can put you at the top end of Hannan St; it's a three block walk into the centre of town.
West towards Perth
The main street of the town, Hannan St, becomes Great Eastern Hwy as you follow it east, down from the main shopping area. Anyone can point you in the right direction, and depending how much transport you have available there are various options for hitching out.
Walking from town If you're on Hannan St in the shopping area, head down the road until you cross the traffic lights at Lionel St. For about three blocks after this, the road is wide with a space on the side for people to park which is usually mostly empty. You could pick a good spot here and pull your thumb out, there is space to safely stop and a good chance of finding someone who will either be heading out of town or can take you further along Hannan St/Great Eastern Hwy towards the edge of town, ask if they can take you at least to Gatacre St (see next), or if you're up for a nice 5km walk you can wander down, there isn't as much space for cars to stop along the way though.
Someone can give you a lift within the town Ask them to take you along Great Eastern Hwy to Gatacre St. There are some traffic lights, go along Great Eastern Hwy past the lights, continue about 20m and there begins the industrial area of town. You can take your pick of the big, empty driveways and parking lots of the various businesses, where if you stand by the road cars will easily be able to pull into. If the driver offers to take you to the very edge of town, where Gt Eastern crosses Anzac Dr, there is a wide shoulder of the road before the last traffic lights of the town where cars could also easily stop. This is a good place, but doesn't have a huge advantage over the Gatacre St crossing, where more cars within town are likely to be going by.
South/East towards Esperance, Port Augusta, Adelaide, Sydney
Just three blocks up from the main shops, Hannan St ends in a T-intersection with the Bypass, a kind of highway running roughly north-south along the eastern side of Kalgoorlie. Along Hannan St, just before the Bypass there are some old shops/buildings with angle parking out the front of them which is often not full and provides a good place for cars to pull over. Pick a good spot with some space close by and stick your thumb out.
A sign saying 'South' might help you at the corner, but you'll probably get at least a lift to the edge of town with or without. There aren't any good places to stand along the Bypass until you get to the edge of Boulder (Oroya St), or the big BP Truck Stop on Celebration Rd, so ask for these if you are just getting a short lift out of town.
If you're heading to the east coast, you'll have to go south from Kalgoorlie to Norseman, where the Eyre (pronounced Air) Highway goes East.
Almost all trucks/road trains heading in both directions across the nullarbor do not pass through Kalgoorlie, they go between Coolgardie (39km west of Kalgoorlie) and Norseman (188km south of Kalgoorlie) on the Goldfields-Esperance Highway. If you want to catch these (a good idea for getting across the nullarbor) you'll have to head to either town.
These are small outback communities, make sure you know what you're in for if you decide to head up this way, perhaps try to talk to someone who has been there.
To get a lift, stand in the same spot at the corner of Hannan St and the Bypass, as for hitching South/East, but take cars turning left towards Menzies and Leonora (a sign saying North may help... but it may be fine without).
Places to Visit
Visit the Mt Charlotte Lookout. At the top of a (man/mine-made) hill at the top end of Hannan St, left on the Bypass and right at the first sign. At the top of the hill there is the reservoir of the town's water, where it is collected after its 600km journey through C.Y. O'Connor's pipeline from the hills of Mundaring to sustain the good folk of Kalgoorlie (an engineering feat in its beginning in 1907; unfortunately he was so ridiculed for his brave idea that he committed suicide from the pressure just 4 hrs before the water came through). More beautiful to the eye, there is a panorama over the whole city which is spread out flat before you. In the daytime it is nice to see, at nighttime it is a beautiful spread of twinkling lights under the also bright stars. At night, you may want to not go alone, however, and be careful about yourself and your stuff if other groups are about.
If you have a car at your disposal, a quick 5min drive out of town will take you away from all of the light pollution of Kalgoorlie sufficiently to see the Milky Way stretched over your head with such brightness (on a clear night) as you won't be able to find anywhere in fluorescent Europe. From the top end of Hannan St, turn left onto the Bypass. Drive out of town for about 5 mins, once you pass by the Speedway track, the road bends to the right, and just at the bend there is (hard to spot; slow down) a dirt track off to the left. This is the Firebreak, a long, spacious double dirt strip where you can have some space and look at the stars, without getting run over by the side of the road.
For those even more interested in having a look at these gorgeous stars, local guy Peter Mikula (the wonderful father of user Dear Sarah :) has a self-built, 2 m Dobsonian Telescope which he loves to bring out upon request. Stargazing and also Sun-Gazing (with appropriate solar filters) are a wonderful way to spend some time and see something amazing, send him an email through his contact form here to ask if something is possible while you're in town.
On the way into Kalgorlie from Perth there is Coolgardie Camel Farm, along Great Eastern Hwy about 20min drive. You can have yourself a nice bumpy ride about the farm on one of these misplaced animals, which are busy destroying the nature in the centre and north of the country with their overgrown herds storming through our lovely bushland.
The biggest (literally; you can see it from the Moon) sight to see in Kalgoorlie is the Superpit. A massive open-cut mine running along the eastern side of the city, you can make your way there to see the 1pm blastings which have long served schoolchildren of the town by giving a little rumble of the ground, a timekeeper to the approaching 1:05 lunch bell, and to see monster trucks as big as your house, looking like ants at the bottom of the Pit. From the top of Hannan St, turn right onto the Bypass, and after a way there is a sign to the left for the Superpit Lookout. Go on, follow it!
A lovely park to visit is Hammond Park, along Memorial Drive in the north-west of town. It has fun landscaping, a mini castle, native bird aviaries, enormous goldfish, peacocks running around, children chasing them, BBQ facilities, play equipment and in the adjacent but fenced off area, kangaroos and emus mooching around being admired by park-goers. The park is locked at night though. On the next block to the park is the Arboretum, and open and more natural bush-ish parkland, with nice paths and such, popular for jogging and with a dog exercise course. And all round the two are actual empty bushland, so you can choose your preferred degree of 'cultivation'. Also in this area is the cemetery, should that be of interest somehow.
Places to Avoid
Unfortunately this section could probably be as long as the 'Places To Visit'. Kalgoorlie is a bit of a rough town sometimes, it has the infamous reputation of being the most racist town in Australia. There are a lot of problems with alcohol and drugs among people living on the fringes of the town and society, and with antisocial youth. Take care at night, not all places to avoid are listed here. Try to keep from walking alone unless you are familiar with your area, and be aware that most places where there are pubs, service stations, shops or large streets could have people hanging about them. Some suburbs are pretty quiet and safe at night, you should ask the advice of locals. On the upside, it is more likely that someone passing by will give you help should you be in trouble, than in big cities, and if you find yourself somewhere undesirable at night, talking to people at a shop/pub or by their cars might get you a lift to another part of town.
Take care at the top end of Hannan St at night, and along dark back roads branching out from Hannan St. Hanging around outside pubs can put you near drunk and unpredictable people sometimes. The best advice is to ask about your area from people at your accommodation, or people you meet in town. Don't be unfriendly to people who might give you trouble, just keep things calm and move on.
Accommodation and Sleep
There are some backpackers' places along Hay St, just up from Lionel St. However do take care which doorway you walk through; across the street is a lineup of the town's most frequented brothels, where you will find quite a different kind of bed.