We visited the Goldfields for a Winter Escape with our two kids aged 6 and almost 3, we travelled our family two wheel drive car and stayed in hotels in Kalgoorlie and Boulder, and one campsite. Here are our top 9 things to do in the Goldfields with Kids.
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#1 Drive a Haulpak Truck
Well, pretend to drive a truck. This hits our number 1 because it was both interactive and educational for all the family, from the littlest through to dad. Hannan’s North Tourist Mine is filled with lots of old machinery which is awesome for kids to climb into, pull levers and press buttons! The ability to climb on old machinery and then into a massive Haulpak was a total winner for everyone in the family!
#2 Pan for Gold and Play 2 UP
Our visit to Hannans tourist mine started out slowly (it was the middle of winter!), even Miss 6 with her normal excitement for things historical found it the miners tents and fire hard to warm her up! While in other weather the gold panning would have been lots of fun, the water was cold and we had no luck (I wonder if we would have had the perseverance to be prospectors?)
Miss M found some of the mannequins, especially one of Paddy Hannan spooky and scary and it was a game of 2UP that got us smiling!!! Great for maths and something you can play at home.
Two-up is a traditional Australian gambling game, involving someone throwing two coins into the air. Players gamble on whether the coins will fall with both heads (obverse) up, both tails (reverse) up, or with one coin a head and one a tail (known as “odds”).
More info & Entry fees http://www.hannansnorth.com.au/
#3 The Super Pit
Kalgoorlie’s Super Pit can apparently be seen from space and until 2016 was Australia’s largest open pit gold mine. It has absorbed what was Kalgoorlie’s famous Golden Mile and is over 3.5 kilometres long and 1.5 kilometres wide. It is currently around 400 metres deep, and the massive Haulpaks are like ants – we watched for some time as the massive machines would fill up the trucks which would then head up the steep walls of the mine. Mumma traveller refrained at this point from expressing her sadness about the massive scar on the earth and the mining industry in general.
#4 Fossick for treasures in Ghost Towns
The Goldfields are littered with ghost towns and has a rich history that is well promoted and documented through radio channels, brochures and podcasts. However, we quickly discovered that given much of the history is not visual it was hard to capture the kids attention for more than a few minutes. They loved the old buildings at the Ghost Town at Gwalia, and we played there for a good hour. Outside of Laverton they were excited to stumble upon an old mine site with a pile of rusted bits and pieces – as well as plenty of white quartz, which is the rock that contains gold. (We took home a pocketful of treasure)
(We would have loved to head to the town at Kookynie and meet the racehorse that lives in the pub but ran out of time – it definitely sounds like something that would be great to schedule in)
#5 Watch a sunset
With a pretty flat landscape as far as the eye can see, huge skies are a feature of the Goldfields. And the skies are even better at sunset. When we realised just how magnificent the sunsets were we headed off for a fossick (point #4) each night around sunset. Even though we visited prior to the famous wildflower season, there were also a rich variety of flowers and plants.
#6 Hammond Park in Kalgoorlie
This is a must see place to visit with small kids! We realised that we should have visited on our first day in Kalgoorlie because there is only so much history small kids can absorb!
We had a great time at Hammond Park as a new/innovative park with lots of different activities. There is a small Bavarian Castle and also lots of birds which show the wide variety of colours in the native Australian parrots. Pink and grey galahs, sulphur crested cockatoos, and corellas, plus much more – really fun for the kids to look at.
We enjoyed the Plum Café, with simple ham and cheese toasted sandwiches and sausages in bread, it’s the good old fashioned homey food! With kids playing, hot coffee, cute cartoons and complete with blankets to wrap around your legs on cold winter days it was a chilled way to spend a couple of hours and really changed the pace of the holiday for us.
#7 Historic Kalgoorlie City
With wide streets and lots of pubs Kalgoorlie is super atmospheric as you really can feel the bygone era, as well as a certain brashness and vitality of the current mining industry. There are dirty cars covered with red dirt on the streets, proudly flying aerials and the flag of bush travel, a dirty rag on a tall pole. High Vis clothing is de rigeur or just what you wear on the street and without doubt it’s a frontier town. Sunset photo opportunities abound in Kalgoorlie city itself especially shots of the old pubs.
#7 Lake Ballard
Lake Ballard, the home of the Inside Australia exhibit by Antony Gormley was out of this world and well worth a visit – we shared our Tips to Visit the Lake Ballard Statues with kids. Also, big thumbs up to Menzies playground, right on the highway as you come into Menzies it appeared a popular spot for parents to take a break.
#9 Walk along the Water pipeline
The Goldfields Water Scheme is quite literally a lifeline of water that runs from Perth to Kalgoorlie. There is a great interpretation centre at Mt Charlotte which incidentally also offers an excellent view over Kalgoorlie. This gave us a great overview of the history of the pipeline, and its amazing successes, which was a great thing to have on board as we travelled back down the road. The pipeline is ever present as you travel the 600km back to Perth!
What’s the best age to visit the Goldfields with Kids?
Given the rich history, and sometimes adult themes of the rocking Goldfields history, we’d potentially recommend this trip for kids that were slightly older than 2. 5 and 6… probably an 8 or 10 year old would be able to envisage things a little better than a 6 year old. Also, there was a lot of driving involved (6 hours from Perth) and
Where did we stay in Kalgoorlie?
We stayed at the Rydges Kalgoorlie as full paying guests. They upgraded us to the Hannan Suite which was super spacious with two bedrooms, a kitchen and living area. Super soft beds, lots of nice touches – everything you would expect for a 4 start hotel. The best part was that it had a spa. With outside some of the worst winter weather of the year we were appreciative of the extra space, and spa to warm up in. Room service from their restaurant was top notch and we highly recommend the desserts. They have an outdoor swimming pool and shared spa area as well for those visiting in summer. Rydges Kalgoorlie definately gets a thumbs up for a good Kalgoorlie family hotel.
More information – places to stay Kalgoorlie
take a look at this page for a complete list of places to stay in Kalgoorlie.