Australia's Golden Outback 2023 Holiday Planner

Road Trip Holiday Planner 2023

Your guide to exploring the region.

COVER London Bridge, Sandstone WA | Region | 1

L E O N O R A | A L I C E S P R I N G S

Leonora Lodge was originally a mining village for FIFO workers at the nearby Sons of Gwalia gold mine.Today, the history continues with Leonora Lodge housing local mine workers alongside tourists. Stay in our well-appointed Studio room - It’s taste of mine life with added comfort and amenities such as a large screen TV, queen bed and kitchenette with Nespresso coffee machine. With a fully catered kitchen serving buffet breakfasts, packed lunches and hearty dinners, Leonora Lodge has all the amenities you need and is the ideal place to base yourself while you explore all the region has to offer!

If you’re travelling in a caravan Leonora Caravan Park is a small, friendly oasis right in the centre of town.The park is a popular base for prospectors who come back year after year looking for gold and sharing their stories around a camp fire at the end of a day. It is also an ideal base for exploring the famous Golden Quest Discovery Trail and Leonora Loop Trails. If you’re on your way to the Northern Territory you can stay with us in our newly developed AliceVillage . With everything from a single unit with private ensuite to a 4-bedroom house we have accommodation options to suit any traveller, whether on a solo trek through the Red Centre or travelling with a large group.

For more information see our website or call one of our properties on the below: Leonora Lodge (08) 9037 7053 Leonora Caravan Park (08) 9037 6568 AliceVillage (08) 8953 2643

2 | Region |

beaches and over 100 islands are in stark contrast to the red earth of the surrounding outback, making for an invigorating spot to cool off and bathe in tranquillity. Cape Le Grand National Park and Fitzgerald River National Park are paradises of biodiversity to discover. Spectacular displays of wildflowers bloom all around in season, erupting in the north from August and until November in the south. Discover these magical displays of colour on one of the regions many wildflower trails. Walk the lands and stretch your mind back to over 60,000 years ago when Aboriginal people first began tending to this Country. Ancient Aboriginal culture and remnants of history run deep through Australia’s Golden Outback and are inspiring to observe and understand. While accessible to even the most inexperienced tourer, this is territory that should be respected. Use this guide to thoroughly plan ahead, contact our local visitor centres and ensure you equip yourself properly to make the most of your adventure ahead. With so much natural beauty to explore in this vast and varied region, when you immerse yourself in its rich experiences, the time is always now.

The adventure of a lifetime awaits in the untamed expanse of Australia’s Golden Outback.

H it the road and let endless horizons lead the way as you take in the dazzling displays of wildflowers, rugged rocky outcrops, wild woodlands, brilliant beaches, and vast open plains of Australia’s Golden Outback. Networks of road trips sprawling throughout the region will take you far and wide, covering 54 per cent of Western Australia. In the north discover Gascoyne Murchison, the red heart of the state where pindan soils sweep the plains and station stays abound for a true blue outback experience. The expansive ranges and massive Mount Augustus / Burringurrah are majestic sites to behold. Venture to the Wheatbelt where

country charm emanates, carpets of canola sweep over rolling fields, and quaint streetscapes light up with character. The iconic 100-metre-wide Wave Rock is a must-see sight, and immersive farm stays and fresh produce will give you a rich taste of the region. If Gascoyne Murchison is the red heart of state, Kalgoorlie Goldfields is certainly its heart of gold. History and heritage of wild gold rush days of the late 1800s will forever be imprinted here, despite the modern mining boom transforming the Kalgoorlie-Boulder City into a progressive place to explore. Travel further south and find the spectacular coastal destinations of Esperance and the Fitzgerald Coast. Glistening blue waters, snow-white

Australia’s Golden Outback acknowledges the Traditional Custodians throughout the Golden Outback of Western Australia and their Elders, past present and emerging.

PUBLISHED & PRINTED BY Vanguard Publishing, 26 John St, Northbridge WA 6003 | (08) 9273 8933 EDITOR | Tori Wilson, | DESIGNER | Cally Browning SALES DIRECTOR | Natalie Du Preez, | 3

10:35am wednesday. discovering gold together.

You’ve taken so many wonderful road trips together over the last 40 years, but none of them were as special as your first. It only seems fitting to celebrate your anniversary by recreating that magical trip all over again. It brings back so many golden memories of meeting new friends, sharing stories and singing your favourite songs at the top of your lungs. For realising the real gold is right next to you, there’s no place like Dôme.

Perth Metro, WA Regional : Albany, Bunbury, Busselton, Dunsborough, Esperance, Geraldton, Kalgoorlie, Katanning, Margaret River, Newman, Northam, Port Hedland, Rottnest.


Welcome to Australia’s Golden Outback Contents Road Trips by Region Top 13 Experiences

3 6 8

10 13 14

Unmissable Events in 2023

Top Travel Tips

Wildflower Wonderland

The Gascoyne Murchison Immerse Yourself in Outback Life Gascoyne Murchison Road Trips Gascoyne Murchison Shires

16 18 20 24 32 34 38 43 72 74 76

The Wheatbelt

Farming Country, for the Free Spirited

Wheatbelt Roadtrips

Wheatbelt Shires

Kalgoorlie & the Goldfields

A Rich History Runs Deep

Kalgoorlie & the Goldfields Road Trips Kalgoorlie & the Goldfields Shires Esperance & The Fitzgerald Coast


94 96 98

Plunge into a Natural Paradise

Biodiversity at its Best

100 104

Esperance & The Fitzgerald Coast Roadtrips Esperance & The Fitzgerald Coast Shires | 5


ROAD TRIPS by region: Refer to map opposite

GASCOYNE MURCHISON Monthly Av temp ( ° C) Dec-Feb 37° Mar-May 29° Jun-Aug 20° Sep-Nov 29° Page 16

Drive yourself through a window into history built on the dreams of fortune-seekers who flocked to the area following the discovery of gold in 1892. Immerse yourself in the rich tapestry that is the Goldfields by exploring routes like the Golden Quest Discovery Trail, creating your own true outback adventure. Discover amazing salt lakes, ghost towns and quirky outback pubs and try your luck at gold prospecting. Rock is on everyone’s bucket list, while charming pioneering townships, miles of golden fields, delightful rural stays and spectacular wildflowers each spring make for an exhilarating driving experience. With its great web of self-drive trails and relatively short distance from Perth, it’s no wonder the Wheatbelt is such a popular holiday destination. Seeing the world-famous Wave With enough spectacular scenery to inspire a road trip movie, this region’s brilliant turquoise waters and pearly-white beaches create a dazzling contrast to the red earth of the Outback. Considered one of Australia’s most significant biodiversity hotspots, the countryside features our state’s most pristine and untouched coastal national parks, all easily accessed by a grid of roads. Take a few back roads, marvel at the ancient geology and witness the culture of outback stations in this extraordinary region. Kaleidoscopic carpets of wildflowers spring from the rich red earth during springtime and Mount Augustus, twice the size of Uluru, is simply mesmerising. Come and be enthralled by the wonders of an ancient outback landscape which delivers a perfect self-drive holiday.

Road to the Rock Canning Stock Route Kingsford Smith Mail Run Wool Wagon Pathway Miners’ Pathway


Pathways to Wave Rock Granite Woodlands Discovery Trail Golden Pipeline Heritage Trail Wildflower Country & Wildflower Way Everlasting Trail Wheatbelt Way Public Silo Trail Wineries, Woodlands & Wheatbelt Trail Pioneers Pathway Northern Wheatbelt Wonders Road to the Rock The Holland Way and the John Holland Track

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Monthly Av temp ( ° C) Dec-Feb 33° Mar-May 25° Jun-Aug 17° Sep-Nov 24°

Monthly Av temp ( ° C) Dec-Feb 32° Mar-May 25° Jun-Aug 18° Sep-Nov 25° KALGOORLIE & The GOLDFIELDS Page 72

Golden Quest Discovery Trail Outback Way Leonora Loop Trails Norseman Heritage Trail Gunbarrel Highway Anne Beadell Highway


Road to Esperance Great Ocean Drive Eyre Highway & Nullarbor Links Ravensthorpe Ranges

Monthly Av temp ( ° C) Dec-Feb 25° Mar-May 23° Jun-Aug 17° Sep-Nov 21°

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To Adelaide








































ALBANY | Region | 7

TOP Things to Do

Visit the world’s largest outdoor gallery at Lake Ballard

Experience life on the land at an outback station stay

Go for a “surf” at Wave Rock

Meet the Lucky Bay kangaroos in Cape Le Grand National Park

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Hike or simply wonder at the world’s largest rock, Mt Augustus

Take a step back in time at Gwalia ghost town

Travel the quirky Tin Horse Highway

Explore a UNESCO biosphere reserve of coastal beauty at Fitzgerald River National Park

Take in the view andmining history at the Kalgoorlie Super Pit

Tour the Public Silo Trail for inspiring art on a grand scale

Marvel at the endless canopy of constellations in the dark sky of the outback

Learn about indigenous culture on a local tour

Search for rare and beautiful wildflowers across the outback | 9

Unmissable Events in 2023 Don’t miss the action and cultural activity kicking off annually across Australia’s Golden Outback. Plan your journey to time with one or more of these incredible and diverse events!

• Lake Perolilli Red Dust Revival • Landor Races • Meekatharra Outback Festival • Mt Magnet Astro Rocks Fest • Newdegate Machinery Field Days • Ravensthorpe Wildflower Show & Spring Festival • Wattle Week Festival • Wave Rock Weekender OCTOBER • Bruce Rock Back to the Bush Veterans Reunion • Kalgoorlie Desert Race • Kulin Bush Races • Landor Races • Reynoldson Reserve Festival • Yalgoo Emu Festival NOVEMBER • Bruce Rock Back to the Bush Veterans Reunion • Narrogin Revheads Weekend DECEMBER • Pingelly Christmas Festival • St Barbara’s Festival

MARCH • Wagin Woolorama APRIL • Merredin Show • Nullarbor Muster • Quindanning Picnic Race Day MAY • Pipeline Challenge JUNE • Goldfields Cyclassic • Leonora Golden Gift Weekend JULY • Gascoyne Dash AUGUST • Coolgardie Rodeo • Dowerin Field Days • Wyalkatchem Rodeo SEPTEMBER • Australia’s Biggest BBQ • Chasing the Sun Golf Festival – Nullarbor Links • Coolgardie Day • Esperance Wildflower Festival

 Scan here to discover more amazing regional events

10 | Region |

Coolgardie Rodeo

Dowerin Field Day

Kalgoorlie Cup

Australia’s Biggest BBQ

Koorda Show Kulin Races


Reynoldson Vintage Car Show

Wattle Week Festival

Kalgoorlie Desert Race

Immerse yourself in the rugged wilderness of Australia’s Golden Outback, which has remained largely unchanged for billions of years. Travelling this region will arouse a feeling of venturing back into ancient times, especially when you’re with an Aboriginal guide who can reveal astonishing secrets handed down by his ancestors over thousands of years.

Goldfields Honey Ant Hunters Image: Reg Morrison

With a variety of experiences in hunting, food gathering, bush survival and bush medicine, your guide will take you on a unique journey along ‘hidden tracks’, which unveil a fascinatingly different perception of the country’s rich natural treasures and the influential role they play in paving their lifestyle. For the Aboriginal people, their spiritual connection to the land and natural environment is a key part of their identity. Their knowledge of the country and the sacred places that are scattered through it are priceless gems in a fast changing world and a deeply moving experience, that you’re sure to take home as lasting memories.

For more details about the full range of authentic Aboriginal tourism experiences in Australia’s Golden Outback and Western Australia, visi t . The Western Australian Indigenous Tourism Operators Council (WAITOC) is the peak not for profit organisation representing Indigenous Tourism on Country, showcasing over 100 of the best of WA’s unique Indigenous Tourism experiences & authentic cultural offerings.




When you holiday in WA, book with Quality Tourism Accredited Businesses and you’ll get a quality assured operator wherever you go. From hotels and guided tours to shops and services, you can expect quality, reliability and great customer service. Holiday in WA

To book your holiday with Quality Tourism Accredited Businesses, visit

Some driving tips: AWD or 4WD? Many SUV’s are constant AWD, which doesn’t make them 4WD. When you are on gravel, engage 4WD to ensure better road handling and stability. Make sure you switch back to either 2WD or AWD before you are back on the bitumen otherwise you can do serious damage to your vehicle. It’s a popular myth that you need to drive as fast as possible to get a smooth ride where there are corrugations. This is NOT TRUE. Driving fast over corrugations limits the contact your vehicle has with the ground, resulting in less control and the possibility of a serious accident. (P.E.T.R.O.L) PETROL – fill up with the fuel type for your vehicle. ELECTRICITY – check battery condition and fluid levels. TYRES – Check tyre pressure, look for bulges, tread damage etc. RADIATOR – Check the coolant level via the overflow reservoir and the washer bottle level. OIL – Use the dip stick to check engine oil levels. LIGHTS – Check headlights, indicators etc. Daily Vehicle Check


for the Best Outback Experience Travel Tips

If this is your first rodeo on the outback roads then read our top tips for a safe and seamless journey.

Australia’s Golden Outback is rugged and beautiful, full of vast stretches of dry plains. Exploring it is a true adventure, warranting considered preparation. Here are a few top tips from the experts at Western 4W Driver to get you started. 1. Make sure you get your vehicle serviced before you depart to avoid costly surprises. 2. Share your plans . Let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return. 3. Australia’s Outback can be hot! Carry two to four litres of water per person, per day between destinations. 4. If you breakdown or get stuck, stay with your vehicle . It is easier to find a vehicle than it is a person. Stick your bonnet up to signal you’ve broken down. 5. Check current road conditions prior to departure. Visit travelmap. 6. Mobile reception is extremely limited in many areas. For the best connectivity use Telstra . 7. To find electric vehicle charging stations, visit

Here’s a handy checklist of important items to carry on your journey: ✔ A first aid kit . ✔ A good quality, 12-volt air compressor . You will need it if you want to drive on sand or corrugated roads (when pumping tyres back up, check how hot the compressor is getting and maybe let it cool down a little between tyres). ✔ Stay on track . Invest in a quality GPS and carry a paper map road book as back up. Don’t rely on Google Maps. You will have limited mobile signal and many tracks and backroads are not shown. We recommend getting your hands on a HEMA HX-2, great for on and off-road navigation. ✔ Bring cash with a range of notes and change. Don’t rely on internet being available to run eftpos and your Apple iPay as you travel. ✔ If you brought it with you, take it with you . Rubbish bins can be scarce or not emptied very often so get yourself a dirty gear bag to hang off your spare wheel and put your rubbish (and any you find) in it. Empty it when you come into town.


Western 4W Driver magazine will get you and your family discovering exciting and interesting places off the beaten track in Australia’s Golden Outback and the rest of WA. Western 4W Driver is THE magazine for all 4WD enthusiasts whether you are a new or seasoned 4W driver.

Subscribe today at | 13


Be enchanted by blankets of ephemeral candy-coloured blooms juxtaposed against centuries-old rock formations come wildflower season in Western Australia’s Golden Outback.


F rom late winter and early spring, thousands of pastel pink, yellow and purple wildflowers carpet the wilds of the state’s vast outback — the sight of over 12,000 varieties blooming in a multi-coloured vision signalling the impending spring. A wet winter makes for a better wildflower season, particularly in the north where blooms are more susceptible to dry conditions. From late July in the northern regions of the Golden Outback, follow the wildflower season south through late winter for awe-inspiring views. From golden hued fields of canola, to wildflower carpeted bushland, to flower-studded seaside cliffs, the landscapes invite visitors to stop and smell the fragrant wildflowers. The Gascoyne-Murchison The wildflower season comes early to the Gascoyne Murchison region, with blooms typically visible from late July or early August. A covering of mulla mulla, scarlet red sturt desert pea, everlastings, native cornflower, eremophiloa, flannel bush, cassias, acacias, bachelor buttons and golden billy buttons take over the hinterland from late winter in some of the best wildflower displays in the state. Looming Mount Augustus, surrounded by delicate wildflowers, is always a vivd

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eremophilla of Lake Ballard, take in the black steel Anthony Gormley sculptures scattered across the salt lake. Esperance & The Fitzgerald Coast By the end of August and early September the wildflower season has made its way south to Esperance and the Fitzgerald Coast, where the bush blooms with a plethora of jewel-like flowers. The Fitzgerald Coast’s rocky cliffs and rugged peaks alone boast more than 1,800 wildflower varieties, including vibrant acacia, wattles, redcaps, dainty wedding brush and hakea, with the depthless blue sea making for an incredible backdrop to the enchanting flowerscapes, while the sandy, rocky expanses of Ravensthorpe are a mecca for stunning qualup bells, a diaphanous flower with papery, moth wing-like petals. At the peak of wildflower season, the Cape Le Grand National Park is an endless sea of wildflowers, with Frenchmans Peak offering incredible views.

sight; as are the bloom-spotted walking trails along the Gascoyne River and Bilung Pool; while the wetland waterfalls and gorges of the Kennedy Ranges brim with budding displays of colour. The Wheatbelt Come August, wildflower season reaches the Wheatbelt, where buttery yellow fields of canola are a common sight as you drive along the endless roads. During peak season, the region is famed for thousands of orchid varieties, from startling white sugar orchids, sunshine-hued cowslip orchids, blushing pink candy orchids, and the incredible greens and reds of the many spider orchids nestled among everlastings and wreath flowers. The vast Wheatbelt region and its many landscapes make for ideal growing conditions for a wide range of wildflowers, with the northwestern Wildflower Country famed for its incredible dense blooms, while the rolling hills and salt lakes of the

northeast Wheatbelt are a sea of colour after a wet winter.

Kalgoorlie & the Goldfields Wildflowers in the Kalgoorlie and Goldfields regions also typically begin to bloom from around August, but can be scarce after a drier winter. Wildflower season will typically see bush tomatoes, sundews, sturt peas, daisies and more take hold of the region. Driving the Great Eastern Highway through the Goldfields, you’ll spot plenty of roadside wildflower hotspots, particularly through the Yellowdine Nature Reserve and Boorabin National Park. Alongside the abundant wattles, everlastings, senna and

Enjoy the freedom

Caravan Parks in Australia’s GoldenOutback offer a range of spectacular destinations and accommodation options, from camping sites for tents, powered sites for vans, to fully self-contained cabins . . . the choice is yours!


Your holiday starts now. Kick back, relax and discover regional WA on Transwa’s modern Prospector train. We travel between Perth and Kalgoorlie 18 times weekly, enjoy on-demand entertainment, buffet service whilst travelling in comfort and now free wi-fi accessibility on Prospector services. Transwa also operates luxury road coaches between Kalgoorlie and Esperance six times weekly, all services are air conditioned and fully accessible, equipped with on-board entertainment, bathroom facilities and USB charging ports. To book your next holiday, or to see where Transwa can take you call 1300 662 205 or visit . | 15

Gascoyne The


TOP THINGS to See & Do

16 | Region | of the Murchison GeoRegion • Enjoy a yarn over a beer at an outback pub • Dress up and attend a bush race meeting • Explore all of the Outback Pathway road trips • Admire a chandelier of stars from your swag • Visit the gallery of rock paintings at Walga Rock • Camp out in Kennedy Range National Park / Mundatharrda • Swim in the oasis of Bilung Pool / Birlungardi • Walk on Mount Augustus / Burringurrah, Australia’s largest rock • Experience true outback hospitality at a station stay • Discover the geological heritage

I n the Gascoyne Murchison, the red heart of Western Australia, pindan soils sweep expansive plains and immense, towering rocks and ranges dwarf all that surrounds, humbling the soul. Here, you’ll be greeted with a classic vision of Australia’s Golden Outback — rugged, all-encompassing, otherworldly and completely awe-inspiring. It’s the kind of place that you can’t just pass through on the breeze. You need to live and breathe it to connect with the life here; and there’s no way to immerse yourself into the lifestyle and landscape quite like a station stay. Embrace this pastoral region’s culture when living like the locals, and experience the most brilliant, glittering starry skies around the campfire at night, allowing time to become naught but a foreign concept. With your station stay as a base for a while, embark upon inspiring touring routes and walking trails to soak in the sights. Wildflower season (July – Aug) is one of the most spectacular times to explore. If you’re lucky, late downpours will time perfectly just prior to your visit, transforming the red, dusty landscapes into lush, green carpets speckled like an ice-cream with hundreds and thousands of colourful wildflowers. Walking trails around Wooleen Station will expose you to the likes of wurmbea densiflora, eremohpilas, cassias, sidas, everlastings, acacias and bachelor buttons opening their tiny petals to the sun. In the north you’ll find iconic species like the scarlet red sturt desert pea setting the undergrowth ablaze and the royal purple mulla mulla carpeting the roadside. The magnificent Kennedy Range / Mundatharrda and Mount Augustus / Burringurrah also offer particularly inspiring wildflower settings — their rugged, golden outlines are enhanced by clusters of wildflowers at the base. Mount Augustus, not to be missed, is twice the size of Uluru and something of an icon for the region. Experienced hikers can climb its summit, or walk the base and admire accessible galleries of ancient art. Every year the massive rock is the fitting venue for Australia’s Biggest BBQ when the Gascoyne Food Festival celebrates the best of the bush. Kennedy Range National Park is a

How to Get There

of Aboriginal people of the area at Carnarvon’s exceptional Gwoonwardu Mia Gascoyne Aboriginal Heritage and Cultural Centre . As you walk through its interpretive centre, you’ll encounter many themes ranging from stories of the land through to station tales. The main surviving language of the Gascoyne Murchison is Wadjari, originally spoken in the eastern Murchison area. While a number of languages were spoken in the region, the people all referred to themselves as Yamatji. Today, they refer to the language they speak as the Yamatji language. By Road: The Gascoyne-Murchison has a good network of sealed and all weather roads. There are also the gazetted Outback Pathway trails that make for an enjoyable self- drive adventure. By Air: Skippers flies regular air services from Perth to Wiluna, Meekatharra and Mount Magnet. Reservations 1300 729 924. By Coach: Transwa operates coaches to a number of the Gascoyne- Murchison towns - including Yalgoo, Mount Magnet, Cue and Meekatharra. Tel: 1300 662 205.

film directors’ outback vision of stunning gorges, red sand dunes, natural springs and honeycomb rocks. Camp under a canopy of endless stars here and 4WD to your heart’s content — the range stretches 75 kilometres. Explore the majestic Mount Augustus when travelling the Road to Rock or Kingsford Smith Mail Run . You’ll also find the Kennedy Ranges along your way, as well as along the Wool Wagon Pathway . Kingsford Smith Mail Run and Wool Wagon Pathway belong to the trifecta of trails that comprise the Outback Pathways , along with Miner’s Pathway . The stories and secrets of the region unfold along these trails via interpretive roadside signage along the lattice of sealed and unsealed roads. The Gascoyne Murchison’s collection of self-drive pathways criss-cross the region and showcase the many natural wonders and rich history of this magical landscape. The Murchison GeoRegion Trail is another jewel in the region’s crown, showcasing the significant natural, cultural and geological heritage of the area and easily explored from the region’s towns and the Outback Pathways. Download the Murchison GeoRegion app which takes you on a journey of 21 significant sites, through a unique and ancient landscape full of stories that reach back almost to the earth’s beginning, some 4.54 billion years ago. Celebrate the culture and heritage | The Gascoyne Murchison | 17

WA’S OUTBACK IS the sort of place where the horizon seems to stretch forever and the rugged beauty of the place fills you with awe and wonder, beckoning you to dive deeper into its splendour. It can be hard to envision it sometimes, but there are many folk who have lived and worked the land out here dazzling stars by night when living the outback life on a station stay. By TOM DE SOUZA. Outback Life Immerse Yourself in Be awestruck by vast plains by day and

for generations. For those of us from the city, it can be difficult to appreciate the sheer size of their station properties. Many are the size of small European countries and each one is often worked by only a handful of tenacious station workers. In recent years, however, many of those stations have opened up their gates to travellers and tourists. Hidden within the boundaries of their properties are some of the most stunning natural attractions the state has to offer, and a unique insight into what life is really like out in the bush. David and Frances Pollock are one such family within the heart of the stunning Murchison region to open up their 380,000-acre cattle station, Wooleen Station , for travellers to live and dine like a local for a while. “I describe it as a bit of relaxed luxury,” says Frances, winner of the Individual Excellence in Customer Service award at the Perth Airport WA Tourism Conference, 2022. “The homestead is quite beautiful,

18 | The Gascoyne Murchison |

Far from the roughing it, Mellenbye Station between Morawa and Yalgoo is another slice of relaxed luxury meets working life. First established in the late 1800s, it was originally a sheep station, but since Shelly Bogdan arrived at Mellenbye in October 2016, she has converted to cattle and opened up for tourism, utilising a

range of existing guest facilities and building a host of new ones. The station stay at Mellenbye offers guests everything from camping grounds through to the luxuriant Mellenbye Manor. “Most of our accommodations are pretty exceptional for this kind of area. People are quite surprised,” says Shelly.

we have a chef, everything is hosted and catered for. We’re here to look after you, but we’re also a station. So yeah, we get around in our ‘blundies’ and our work clothes, and we are in and out sometimes too. We’re here to host you and immerse you into station life. It’s authentic, and organic. “It’s giving people that real sort of outback experience.” By living alongside their guests, Frances and David are also able to share their diverse and regenerative approach to managing this country. “We’re an eco-tourism experience. We’re really focused on sustainable production, the environment, and connection to country. For us, it’s about leaving this property in a better state than it came to us in,” says Frances. “We’re working with our environment, and working to produce food in a sustainable way that doesn’t alter or destroy things, but preserves it and even improves it.”

IMMERSIVE Live like the outback locals do on a station stay

experience (Mellenbye featured).

An outback eco-tourism experiment that challenges a hundred years of European Orthodoxy.

wooleen station murchison, western australia A rare kind of holiday!


Wooleen Station is one of the finest working cattle stations in the heart of outback Western Australia, situated on the Murchison River and covering half a million acres of picturesque rangelands. At One With Nature Wooleen is a place to relax and enjoy your getaway. Simply unwind, connect with country and take in the Australian outback at its best. Creature Comforts Accommodation ranging from camping to self-contained rammed earth guesthouses. Or stay in the gracious National Trust Listed Wooleen homestead including stylish accommodation, delicious home style cooking, cellar of West Australian wines, magnificent formal dining room, full sized billiards table and swimming pool all amidst an oasis of spectacular award winning gardens. Rich in History Guided tours of the station encompassing such things as the listed wetlands of Wooleen Lake, seasonal wildflowers, Aboriginal heritage, colonial history, and spectacular granite outcrops. Learn how the Pollock family are now working towards making Wooleen an ecologically sustainable enterprise.

Bookings are essential. Please call or email to enquire. Open for tourism each year from April to October. Wildflowers are seasonal. Drinks and tours extra charge. Wooleen Station is situated on the Twin Peaks-Wooleen Rd in the Shire of Murchison, 690kms north east of Perth, Western Australia. Access is via bitumen and gravel roads. Fuel supplies can be obtained from the Murchison Roadhouse, 37km north of the Homestead. Flying brings the outback to within 90 minutes of the city and two airstrips are available for aircraft, private or chartered.

David and Frances invite you to come and stay today. For more information or reservations contact us at: T: (08) 9963 7973

E: W: | The Gascoyne Murchison | 19

Melangata STATION STAY Situated in the Yalgoo region of WA, this sheep station has a unique heritage-listed homestead and offers various types of accommodation from campgrounds with basic facilities to a Homestead Dinner, Bed and Breakfast package. Tag-along, walking and homestead tours and camp oven cooking classes available. For more info & booking, contact Jo on (08) 9963 7777 or email It helps that the station stay is in prime wildflower country, says Shelly. Mellenbye offers numerous self-drive trails on the property so guests can witness an explosion of colour in season. “The wildflowers have been absolutely awesome this year. There are a few that are not marked, but there is certainly a lot to see, even just around the homestead and camping areas.” Like Mellenbye, Melangata Station Stay began its life as a sheep station, taken up for pastoral lease and continuing to operate as a working sheep station to this day. Located in the Yalgoo region, between the Murchison and the mid-west, the station has a unique homestead that was designed by the Priest John Hawes, who spent over 20 years in the Geraldton Diocese and is responsible for the design and construction of many buildings in the area. There are a number of different contained shearers quarters, so guests can opt for their preferred level of luxury. If wildlife is what you’re in the Outback for, Melangata is a haven for it — home to over 40 different species of birds, and also hopping mice, fat-tailed dunnarts, and micro bats. Opt for a guided station tour and sundowner trip to discover the most spectacular areas on the station. Like many other stations in the area, it’s right in the thick of wildflower country, and is best experienced from August to October. accommodation options from unpowered bush sites, bed and breakfast rooms in the homestead, cottage accommodation, and self

“We’ve got a couple of dance floors in the shearing quarters, with disco lights, a music area, a bar area, and we can accommodate about 110.” With diverse settings, guests have the option of experiencing life in the converted shearers quarters or to stay in glamping tents, cottages, cabins, apartments, motel style suites or at the campground.

It’s giving people that real sort of outback experience.”

STATION STAY MELLENBYE Experience the wide open spaces, dark night skies and expansive wildflower displays in season, including the famous wreath flower. Mellenbye is a working cattle station in the Yalgoo/Morawa district, just 4.5 hours drive from Perth and just 6.5 km off the bitumen. Offering an extensive range of accommodation, camp ground and unique function area, Mellenbye is the perfect holiday destination for your station stay experience or to host your special function.

Open from Easter until early October. To find out more and to book, go to

20 | The Gascoyne Murchison |


TO HALLS CREEK 1,850km (from Wiluna)

Marble Bar

Millstream Chichester NP



Karlamilyi NP

Tom Price



Bullara Station


Emu Creek Station

Coral Bay

Karijini NP






Sealed road Unsealed road

Mt Augustus NP


109km Minilya Bridge Roadhouse

Mt Augustus


Kennedy Range NP

Road to the Rock Canning Stock Route Kingsford Smith Mail Run Wool Wagon Pathway Miners Pathway


Collier Range NP







Gascoyne Junction







Meekatharra Wiluna

Wooleen Station







Sandstone Leinster







Mount Magnet














Paynes Find










TO PERTH 266km

TO KALGOORLIE-BOULDER 129km | Region | 21

ROAD TO THE ROCK 9 days | Sealed and unsealed roads Shires on your journey: Dalwallinu, Yalgoo, Mount Magnet, Cue, Meekatharra, Upper Gascoyne, Murchison, Mullewa, Mingenew, Perenjori This adventurous, rugged road trip takes you more than 1,000km north of Perth. You’ll weave your way through gorgeous country towns, historical sites, station stays and carpets of seasonal wildflowers before arriving at the world’s biggest rock, Mount Augustus. You’ll venture through historic towns like Paynes Find, Mount Magnet, Cue and Meekatharra, seeing amazing natural attractions like the Aboriginal rock art at Walga Rock. In springtime, this area is ablaze with a kaleidoscope of wildflowers. At Mount Augustus National Park, the colours of the landscape change from chalky white soils and fields of olive-coloured shrub to a dark, ruby red moonscape. The park is a lush outback paradise with swimming holes, ancient rock art and a buzzing outback village. Mount Augustus is the star of this road trip. At 1,700 million years old, it’s three times older than Uluru and twice its size. There are a number of walking trails around the base, and a summit trail if you’re up for a climb with epic views.

CANNING STOCK ROUTE 15 days | 4WD Track Shires on your journey: Wiluna

WOOL WAGON PATHWAY 3 days | Unsealed roads

Shires on your journey: Mullewa, Yalgoo, Murchison, Upper Gascoyne, Exmouth This trail epitomises the Australian outback. The drive takes you from Geraldton through the Gascoyne Murchison up to Exmouth in the Coral Coast, passing through historic and timeless towns like Pindar and Murchison Settlement. Camp along the way or get a taste for life on the land by enjoying one of the many station stay options. There are wide open spaces, historic homesteads and lots of attractions to enjoy on this adventure, including a natural spring, seashell fossils and gorgeous picnic spots. Take in the beauty of the Kennedy Ranges; some 75kms of cliffs, canyons and wildlife. Finish your trip in Exmouth with an experience on the spectacular Ningaloo Reef and witness majestic whale sharks in season.

Internationally recognised as one of Australia’s most iconic journeys, The Canning Stock Route runs from Halls Creek in the Kimberley region to Wiluna in the Northern Goldfields. Stretching 1,850km, it is the longest historic stock route in the world and is perfect for experienced off-roaders. Permits are required and travelling with another vehicle or in a convoy is recommended. It’s a route steeped in history – from both an Aboriginal and a pioneer perspective – and you’ll notice this in every kilometre. You’ll cross four deserts on the way: the Little Sandy, Gibson, Great Sandy, and Tanami. Along the way you’ll see amazing outback scenery of sand ridges stretching to the horizon, spinifex grasslands, narrow gorges, sheer cliffs, ancient Aboriginal art sites, and engravings left by the explorers and drovers of old.

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Kingsford Smith Mail Run | 3 days (unsealed roads) Miners Pathway | 4 days (sealed/unsealed roads) Scan the QR code for more insights.

G ENUINE OUTBACK HOSPITALITY YOU DESERVE IT Plan a stay at the grand old Queen of the Murchison Guest House and soak in the history of Cue. Admire the preserved buildings, fossick for gold, photograph amazing sunsets. Owner Joyce Penny has created a fresh and homely environment for travellers and workers.

Address: 53 Austin St, Cue 6640 | T: (08) 9963 1625 E: | W:

GUE S T HOU S E | The Gascoyne Murchison | 23

At a Glance

Shire of CUE

WHAT’SON Australia Day Fireworks — 26 Jan 2023 Monthly Community Markets — Feb-Sept 2023 Anzac Day Ceremony — 25 Apr 2023 Free Community Concerts — Apr-Sept 2023 Town Christmas Party — Dec 2023 TOPATTRACTIONS Cue Heritage Centre / Walga Rock / Big Bell / The Masonic Lodge / Great Fingall Mine Office WILDFLOWERS TODISCOVER Everlastings / Pink Mulla Mulla / Eremophilas (The Emu Bush) / Bush Tomatoes / Eremophila rostrata Chinnock Subs Rostrata

Post Office at night

CUE 649km north of Perth

the collection of historical photos on display in the Cue Shire Administration Building. Built in 1895, it was once home to the London and Western Australian Investment Company offices, and later the Gentlemen’s Club. Nallan Lake Nallan Lake is a nature reserve and during periods of heavy winter rains transforms into a favoured picnic spot. Old Cemetery About 4km east along the Sandstone Road, view a cluster of graves from the late 1890s. It is thought that nine graves were moved here from their original burial sites in 1897 to make way for the railway station. Old Gaol Located in the Cue Tourist Park, the Old Gaol was built in 1896 and was a temporary home to prisoners being transported from outback lock ups in the north until its official closure in 1914. Cue Heritage Centre Located behind the Cue Community & Visitors Centre the Heritage Centre is a museum full of memorabilia and showcases the history of Cue. Masonic Lodge Built in 1899 from timber and galvanised iron, the Masonic Lodge is said to be the biggest free standing, double story corrugated iron construction in the southern hemisphere. It is subject to many a ghost story!

K nown as ‘Queen of the Murchison’ because of its importance in the gold production of the area, Cue makes a fascinating starting point to explore the Murchison and Goldfields regions of Western Australia. As legend has it, Cue came about thanks to a gold find by prospector Mick Fitzgerald who, having spotted an Aboriginal fellow called ‘Governor’ with a 10-ounce nugget around his neck, enquired where he had found the nugget, and he was then led to a quartz hill bearing gold in Cue’s centre on New Year’s Day in 1892. The quartz blow is still visible today, located behind the fire station. Cue is ready to delight tourists with attractions ranging from charming 19th century gold rush era buildings to 10,000-year-old Aboriginal rock art. If you are planning on including Cue in your outback adventure, make sure to take advantage and explore its main attractions… Aboriginal Art –Walga Rock A huge granite monolith known as Walga Rock, situated 48km west of Cue, is a site of deep Aboriginal cultural and spiritual significance. The most unusual art depicts a sailing ship in white ochre with masts, rigging and portholes.


Cue Hospital Ruins The hospital served the old Day Dawn township and started as a canvas and bough shed in July 1892. In 1895 a sturdier structure was built from local stone. Today several walls from this building remain, as does the ruins of the chimney from the hospital’s crematorium. Great Fingall Mine The Great Fingall Mine Site Office is another turn-of-the-century structure that is a truly magnificent example of the buildings of this period. Interestingly, Herbert Hoover, President of the USA, worked in this building. Big Bell The ghost town of Big Bell, situated approximately 30km north-west of town was gazetted in 1936 and soon after became the terminus of a spur line from the main railway in Cue. The town was deserted by the mid-1950s. The hotel reputedly had the longest bar in Australia and the remains of this once impressive structure are still standing.

The Cue Historical Photograph

Collection Step back in time to the wild gold rush days of Cue’s past with a journey among

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At a Glance

elements. You can obtain information brochures at the Visitor Centre. Features include the Rangelands Discovery Trail along the town creek, a lookout, and the Meekatharra Drive Trail, which takes in the famous racecourse “at the end of the earth,” spectacular views of open cut mining pits, and more. Meekatharra is an RV-friendly town with potable water and a chemical toilet dump located at the ‘Welcome Park’ on Main Street. It also boasts a hospital, chemist, and GP clinic as well as visiting dental and specialist services, a post office, and 24-hour fuel. ‘Meeka’ has a state-of-the-art small wheels park behind the supermarket, and playground at the town oval. The centrally located town pool is an oasis for all with family-friendly facilities. Discover more of Meekatharra’s top attractions when visiting the town… Peace Gorge Free camping is permitted at Peace Gorge, just 3km from town. The site is named after a picnic held for service people returning from WWI. However, it is also a registered Aboriginal heritage site with many cultural uses. This beautiful area of the shared country is popular for weddings, town celebrations, and get-togethers. Prospecting Prospecting is a popular pastime, and many locals have their own leases. Venture out bush and discover traces of the past, including Garden Gully, where you can see the remains of kerosene tin ‘humpies’.


WHAT’S ON Meeka Outback Festival — 22-25 Sept 2023 TOP ATTRACTIONS

Peace Gorge / Museum / Drive and Walk Trails / Gold Mining Pits and Prospecting / Wildflowers and Wildlife WILDFLOWERS TO DISCOVER Mulla Mulla / Native Hops / Flannel Bush / Cotton Bush / Various Eremophila

Peace Gorge

MEEKATHARRASHIRE OFFICE Corner Main & Savage Street, Meekatharra (08) 9980 0600

MEEKATHARRA 764km north of Perth

M eekatharra is an historic

outback town with so much to see and do. A busy regional

hub located 764km north of Perth, Meekatharra is a friendly place to refresh and refuel on your Golden Outback adventure. Pastoral and prospecting settlement began in the late 1800s, changing the rangelands landscape and the rich Aboriginal culture of the area. The town was gazetted in 1903 and named Meekatharra after the first mine was registered there in 1894. The Shire of Meekatharra wonderfully displays the Murchison Georegion’s ‘ancient lands and brilliant skies’ with a wealth of fascinating geological formations, mind-blowing stargazing opportunities and significant cultural

Respecting People and Country There are untold cultural sites with locations passed on from the Traditional Owners who can read the ancient signposts. If you want to learn more about the Aboriginal history and culture of the area, just ask – there is usually an Elder who will be happy to explain aspects of their country and culture. Lloyd’s Plaza Refurbished in recent years, this town jewel encompasses a bakery, shops, and the Visitor Centre.

Unique outback glamping in the heart of the spectacular Karijini National Park

Karijini Eco Retreat is one of Australia’s leading eco-tourism attractions, situated 1,500km north of Perth in WA’s second largest national park. Stay in luxury or deluxe eco tents, eco cabins or campsites, and dine at the famous outback style restaurant, nestled at the edge of Joffre Gorge. Take a trip into adventure exploring a wonderland of ancient natural landscapes, formed more than two billion years ago – deep gorges, red cliffs, towering waterfalls and emerald green waterholes. (08) 9286 1731 • | The Gascoyne Murchison | 25

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