Top Trail: Golden Quest Discovery Trail, Goldfields
The must-see Goldfields ghost town of Gwalia brings the gold rush to life. Explore historic buildings and fascinating displays in the Gwalia Museum and Historic Precinct and imagine life for pioneering prospectors in the late 1800s. At around 10 hours from Perth by car, perhaps the best way to reach Gwalia is on a Goldfields road trip, taking the three hour drive north of Kalgoorlie on the Golden Quest Discovery Trail. Make sure you allow plenty of time to stop at the interpretive sites along the way. While Gwalia is still home to a small number of permanent residents, the town survives as a fascinating window into Goldfields history. The centrepiece is the Gwalia Museum and Historic Precinct that sits alongside the historic Sons of Gwalia gold mine. Lovingly restored remnants of the town's heyday, from establishment in 1897 to the closure of the Sons of Gwalia mine in 1963, make for an awe-inspiring journey into the region's past. Take a walk through the precinct of miners' cottages, huts and shops. Visit Western Australia's first State Hotel, the Gwalia Historical Museum or historic Hoover House - the former residence of the 31st President of the United States, Herbert Hoover. While exploring the Hoover House Museum, say hello to 'Ken' the small locomotive that was used on the extensive narrow gauge woodlines, established to collect 30,000 tonnes of mulga timber each year to fuel the mine. For sweeping views of the whole settlement, take a picnic to the top of Mount Leonora and imagine yourself in explorer John Forrest's shoes when he first set eyes on the area in 1869. You can complete your journey back in time with a stay at Hoover House, which has been beautifully restored and operates as a bed and breakfast. Alternatively, drive four kilometres north to Leonora where you'll find a range of accommodation, including hotels, a motel and caravan park.