Perth to Kalgoorlie Road Trip

In a state of stunning beaches, spectacular landscapes, and excellent national parks, Kalgoorlie offers something a little different. This unique city is the largest in the Outback and has a rich history dating back to the gold rush of the 1890s. Mining continues to play a prominent part in present-day Kalgoorlie and is one of the main reasons to visit this remote outpost. Kalgoorlie is an excellent location for anyone exploring the Outback and keen to discover more about Western Australia’s vast mining industry.

A road trip to this historic city also offers a different experience from other road trips in Western Australia. Following the original route of the Goldfields Water Pipeline (now known as the Golden Pipeline Heritage Trail), you’ll pass through a range of landscapes, charming country towns, and several stunning national parks. It’s a journey that can be completed in as little as 6 hours, making it ideal for either a long weekend adventure or as part of longer trip into the Outback.

In this guide, we’ll cover the best time to visit, the best route to take, and the best things to see along the way. So read on to find out everything you need to know about the perfect Perth to Kalgoorlie road trip.

The Best Road Trip Route Between Perth and Kalgoorlie

A road trip route isn’t much more straightforward than the one between Perth and Kalgoorlie. The route both begins and ends on the Great Eastern Highway. You’ll first join the road in Perth’s eastern suburbs and then follow it for the full 594 km to Kalgoorlie. The road is asphalted the entire way, meaning a regular 2WD vehicle can easily make the journey. Along the way, there are several potential detours and attractions off the main road, which may require a 4WD during wetter weather.

The route takes you from the city limits of Perth, through the Perth Hills, and into the Wheatbelt. As you travel through the Wheatbelt, you’ll pass through countless agricultural communities and attractive small towns. Eventually, you’ll arrive at Goldfields-Esperance, the largest of Western Australia’s nine regions. The route then progresses through a series of National Parks and Conservation Areas before you reach Coolgardie and head into the final stretch to  Kalgoorlie.

If you drive without stopping, the 594 km journey should take between 6 and 7 hours. However, there are plenty of potential stops along the way, and we’d suggest spreading the trip out over a few days. 

Perth to Kalgoorlie Itinerary

We’ve split the 594 km journey from Perth to Kalgoorlie over three days for this itinerary. This is the perfect amount of time to allow you to explore the area and take in the sights and scenery without spending too much time on the road each day. As the distances involved aren’t vast, you can shorten or extend the itinerary to fit in with amount of time you have available. 




Driving Time


Perth – Northam 

95 km

1 hour 15 minutes


Northam – Southern Cross

273 km 

3 hours


Southern Cross – Kalgoorlie

226 km

2 hours 30 minutes

Day 1 - Perth to Northam

From Perth, you’ll head 34 km east on the Great Eastern Highway to Mundaring in the Perth Hills. It’s only a short drive to this famous town, and it’s well worth stopping. The town marks the beginning of the renowned water pipeline that supplied water to the Kalgoorlie goldfields in the early part of the twentieth century. The Mundaring Weir, built in 1903, is the starting point of this pipeline, and there’s an excellent attached museum, which provides a comprehensive history of the project. 

From Mundaring, you continue east on the Great Eastern Highway. There are several potential stops and detours that you can take at this point. The first is up to Lake Leschenaultia, where you can swim, kayak, or paddleboard on this beautiful lake. You can’t go far wrong if it’s a hot sunny day. 

Returning to the Great Eastern Highway, the route continues a further 50 km to Northam, the destination for the first overnight stay. On the way, you’ll pass the first exhibits of the PUBLIC Silo Trail that extends from Northam to Albany. The trail features a series of spectacular murals painted on the side of the region’s vast Grain Silos. 

An alternative option is the detour via York. This route involves turning off the Great Eastern Highway onto the Great Southern Highway. This route takes you to York, the oldest inland town in Western Australia. The town is full of historic buildings and the excellent York Motor Museum. From York, it’s a relatively short 36 km up to Northam for your overnight stay.

Painted grain silos on the PUBLIC Silo Trail
The PUBLIC Silo Trail can be seen in Northam and Meredin

Day 2 - Northam to Southern Cross

The second day begins in Northam, and if you’ve got the time and budget, why not consider a hot-air balloon ride across the Avon Valley at sunrise? It’s a beautiful and exhilarating start to the day. Once you’re ready to hit the road, you’ll once again be heading east on the Great Eastern Highway. 

As you head east, you’ll pass through several small towns, including Malabaine, Grass Valley, and Meenar. Shortly before you reach the town of Meckering, you’ll pass the Meckering Earthquake faultline. This crack in the earth was caused by an earthquake in 1968, and a sign and information board mark the location. It’s worth a few minutes of your time as you pass by.

Shortly after the faultline, there’s a turn-off for the Bulgin Rock Reserve, which is a great hiking and picnic spot. Alternatively, if you carry on to Meckering, you can stop at the Big Camera, a museum dedicated to photography and home to countless cameras from bygone eras. While you can stop in Meckering for lunch, we’d suggest continuing a little further on to Cunderdin. Not only does it have a better range of places to eat but there are some good attractions in town, including the Cunderin Museum. 

From Cunderdin, we continue the journey east through the Wheatbelt to Merredin. The 108 km drive shouldn’t take you longer than 1 hour and 15 minutes to complete. As you arrive at Merredin, you’ll see the beautifully painted silos, which form the second part of the PUBLIC Silo Trail. Merredin has many amenities, including a bakery and a supermarket, so stock up here if you need provisions. It also has two excellent museums: Merredin Railway Museum and Merredin Military Museum. If you’ve got the time, both are worth checking out.   

The final part of the day is spent traveling the remaining 108 km to Southern Cross, the destination for our second overnight stay. The journey should only take an hour and 15 minutes, and there’s a good range of accommodation options in town. There’s also a decent tavern for some refreshments after a long day on the road. 

Day 3 - Southern Cross to Kalgoorlie

Our final day begins in Southern Cross, and as you leave town, you leave the Wheatbelt region and enter the Goldfields-Esperance region. This transition is also reflected in the landscape and the number of towns, which dwindles as you continue east. Towns along the Great Eastern Highway are replaced by national parks and nature reserves. 

The first reserve on the way is Yellowdine Nature Reserve, while Boorabbin National Park closely follows. The latter is our preferred destination and a great place to stop for bushwalking. Karalee Rocks is located between the two parks, and it’s another stop on the Golden Pipeline Heritage Trail. There are large granite outcrops here and a natural reservoir, which is safe for swimming.  

Boorabbin National Park eventually merges into Goldfields Woodland National Park, which is another fine bushwalking location. Beyond the national parks, you’ll reach the small and historic town of Coolgardie. It’s an excellent spot to grab some lunch, and you should also take in the views of Lindsay Pit, which will give you a taste of what to expect in Kalgoorlie. 

The final leg of the road trip from Coolgardie to Kalgoorlie is a short 38 km drive. You should be able to complete the journey in 30 minutes, and that’s it; you’ve made it to your final destination of Kalgoorlie!

KCGM Open Gold Mine Super Pit
The KGCM Super Pit in Kalgoorlie is one of the largest open pit gold mines in Australia

Best Places to Stop on a Road Trip from Perth to Kalgoorlie

There are plenty of towns, parks, historic sites, and reasons to stop on the road trip between Perth and Kalgoorlie. Here’s our guide on the best places to visit along the way. 

Lake Leschenaultia

This peaceful freshwater lake is nestled amidst the forests of Mundaring. Its crystal-clear waters are popular with travelers during hot weather. Whether you stop by for a refreshing swim, paddleboarding, or a leisurely paddle in a kayak, it’s a great destination to cool off. The surrounding picnic spots and barbecue facilities also make it a good place to stop for lunch.


Mundaring is a charming town in the Perth Hills that attracts visitors with its natural beauty and historical significance. It’s the gateway to the Mundaring Weir, an engineering marvel that forms the start of the Goldfields Water Pipeline. The town also hosts art galleries, cafes, and the famous Mundaring Arts Centre.


Northam stands proud as one of the oldest towns in Western Australia. It’s known for its heritage architecture, particularly the grand old buildings lining the main streets. The Avon River meanders through this town, offering scenic riverside walks. The more adventurous might like to try hot-air ballooning over the Avon Valley at sunrise.

York Detour

The York detour leads travelers to the historic town of York, known for its well-preserved 19th-century buildings and charming atmosphere. It’s a haven for history enthusiasts, with heritage trails, museums, and galleries depicting the town’s rich past.


Cunderdin is a small wheatbelt town that is a popular destination for a short stopover. Vast agricultural lands surround the town, which offers a glimpse into Australia’s rural life. The town is home to several places to eat and the highly regarded Cunderdin Museum, one of the best rural museums in Australia. Housed in the Old Pumping Station it documents the areas fascinating history.


Merredin is a central hub in the Wheatbelt region, bustling with rural charm. It is a convenient stop for travelers exploring the Golden Pipeline Heritage Trail. It offers a range of amenities, including hotels, restaurants, a supermarket, a bakery, and several parks for relaxation. In town, you’ll also find the excellent Merredin Military Museum and Merredin Railway Museum. 

Southern Cross

Southern Cross is a historic gold rush town steeped in the tales of its mining past. Visitors can explore remnants of the Gold Rush era, including old buildings and museums that depict the town’s vibrant history. With a range of accommodation options and an excellent tavern, it’s a perfect choice for an overnight stay. 

Boorabbin National Park

Boorabbin National Park showcases the unique beauty of Western Australia’s Outback. It boasts stunning landscapes, including vast salt lakes and rocky outcrops. Visitors to the park can camp, hike, and spot wildlife in this remote wilderness.

Karalee Rocks

Karalee Rocks presents a rugged and scenic landscape with some unique granite formations. It’s another part of the Golden Pipeline Heritage Trail because of its vast natural aqueduct, which is also a safe location for a swim. The area has an off-the-beaten-path vibe and is perfect for camping, hiking, and photography. It’s a serene natural environment away from the crowds.

Goldfields Woodlands National Park

Goldfields Woodlands National Park is a haven for nature enthusiasts, boasting diverse flora and fauna within its expansive boundaries. It’s a popular destination for bushwalking, birdwatching, and camping amidst the natural landscapes of the Goldfields region.


Coolgardie is an iconic gold rush town that once thrived during the late 19th century. Today, it offers a glimpse into its rich heritage through well-preserved historic buildings and informative museums, encapsulating the essence of the Goldfields region’s history.

Other Ways to Travel to Kalgoorlie

If you don’t want to take a road trip between Perth and Kalgoorlie or wish to return by a different mode of transport, several options are available to you. While there’s no direct bus service between the two destinations, you can travel by train or air. 

Kalgoorlie by Train

You can travel to Kalgoorlie by train using the famous Prospector train service, operated by Transwa. The Prospector connects Perth to Kalgoorlie via a series of Outback towns along the old Goldfields Water Pipeline route. It’s a scenic, comfortable rail journey popular with tourists and locals.

The train departs from East Perth Terminal and takes approximately 6 to 7 hours to reach Kalgoorlie.  The service runs daily, although departure times vary by day of the week. As it’s a popular service, you’ll always need to book in advance.

Kalgoorlie by Air

Kalgoorlie is served by the Kalgoorlie-Boulder Airport (also known as Kalgoorlie Airport). Regular flights connect Kalgoorlie to Perth, making the city and broader area easily accessible by air. Qantas and Regional Express (REX) operate most flights into and out of Kalgoorlie. These flights typically take an hour and a half, making them a much faster travel option than either road or rail. 

The Perth skyline
You can travel to Kalgoorlie from Perth by road, rail or air.

Best Time to Drive to Kalgoorlie

The best time to drive to Kalgoorlie is typically during the cooler months, from April to October. This period offers more pleasant temperatures and avoids the scorching heat of the Australian summer. It also coincides with the wildflower season, which brings an explosion of color to the landscape.

From April to October, temperatures are milder, making the journey more comfortable and enjoyable. Additionally, this time aligns with the dry season, reducing the chances of encountering road closures due to flooding or other weather-related issues common during the wetter months.

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