Red Dirt, Blue Seas and White Sands

When I was a child, one of my favourite books was the autobiography ‘A Fortunate Life’ by Albert Facey. He spent most of his childhood working under extraordinary conditions on cattle stations outside of Kalgoorlie at the turn of the 20th century. Life was very difficult for Bertie, for reasons children today should never know. But this inspirational story always remained in my memory, so I was excited to finally see the Kalgoorlie that was part of his life.

The Kalgoorlie of today is the world’s biggest gold mine, dubbed ‘The Super Pit’. It is the most striking thing on the landscape as you come into town, along with the red dirt and dust. There were mine entrances everywhere on the road from Norseman (the western gateway to the Nullarbor), but the Super Pit is the biggest.

Super PitThe ‘Super Pit’ is Australia’s largest open cut gold mine. It is 3.5 km long, 1.5 km wide and 350 m deep, and is large enough to be seen from space. It produces around 28 tonnes of gold per year, and they estimate it won’t reach the end of its life until 2021. This mine is definitely the lifeblood of the town.Big Digger Bucket

Despite the heat, dirt, mining equipment and industry of the town, I loved Kalgoorlie. The wide, flat town centre and oldie world pubs on street corners gave the place a quaint ambience. People were laid-back and friendly, like in a country town. But it had all the big-city conveniences, with modern shops and restaurants, beautiful parks and a fantastic aquatic centre. I was able to meet and chat with some long-time locals, as well as some town newbie’s when I visited the Kalgoorlie Central Playgroup.

Kalgoorlie also had a really new and well groomed golf course, which is the centre piece of a new sub-division. We booked our final two holes for the Nullarbor Links, conformed to the dress code and off we went. It was amazing to see the contrast of the perfect golf greens against the red dirt and browning scrub. I found out later, Kalgoorlie has water piped in from Perth, which is why the town actually has water and green lawns.

So, without any further ado, I would like to finally reveal our final scores for the world’s longest golf course.

Mike ā€“ 204, Sharon ā€“ 256

Kalgoorlie Golf Course - Sharon Tees offOf course I cannot guarantee this is entirely accurate. It’s more of an under estimation as some badly aimed shots were taken again, and there were countless swings where we missed the ball entirely. We lost around 10 golf balls, but gained 3 looking for our lost ones. We used up an entire packet of tees, and a few plastic bottles that we were using as tees on some courses. I managed to chip our driver by slugging a rock at full pelt by accident. But we played every single hole in its entirety, despite the heat, dust, wind, rain, ants, flies, impatient children and thieving crows. We even have fully stamped cards and certificates to prove it. If I every express an interest in golf again, remind me to leave the kids at home.

RFDS RadiosAnother highlight I would like to mention was our visit to the Royal Flying Doctors Service base. An elderly volunteer went to the trouble to give the four of us our own tour/information session. We learned about the history of the service, and how it was available to absolutely everyone in need, without any cost to them. They do get funding from the state and local governments, but much of their equipment, including the planes, and funded by donations. One of the biggest new users of the RFDS is travellers like us, who run into trouble in remote areas. She gave us an information pack, and encouraged us to keep the number handy should we ever need it. Unfortunately there were no planes around for us to look at, as the hanger was being upgraded. But the centre was well worth the visit.

Hellfire Beach - Cape leGrand national parkOur next stop was Cape LeGrand National Park, just outside of Esperance on the southern coast of Western Australia. WA so far has been gum forests, arid landscapes and red dirt. This Park contains some unique rock formations, and the coastline was strikingly beautiful. White, fine sand and water so blue and clear it seemed unreal. We had only heard about this spot speaking with contacts in Kalgoorlie and travellers who had just been there. Everyone was insistent we check it out. Arriving on a weekend, we were lucky to get a camping spot at all, as it is popular with the locals and there are limited spaces. But we loved it and stayed longer than originally intended, mostly to relax and enjoy the beautiful beaches and coastline walks across the enormous rocks. Coby was inspired to try out her boogie-board after watching the older kids have a go, and managed to catch a wave or two. It’s lovely to see her confidence growing only 4 weeks into our trip.Sunrise - Lucky Bay to Thistle Cove morning walk

It’s amazing that we are now a month in. We have done so much already, but the ground we have covered seems like a tiny blip of the entire Australia.


5 Responses

  1. Sharon, your trip sounds amazing. I think it is so brilliant that you have actually got yourselves together and done it! (Not that I doubted you would – I remember your determination!). Seeing those beach pictures reminds me of the wonderful time I had in Western Australia many years ago. I hope it continues to go well for you all. xx

    • Hi Jessica, Nice to hear from you. Glad you are enjoying the blog and pictures, and I’m happy it brings back good memories. Hope you and your boys are going well. XX

  2. Hi. I thought you might be interested to know we just recently stopped at the town of Wickepin & came across Albert Facey’s homestead. A house he built in 1924 that has been restored & was relocated here in 2000. If you are travelling this way it may be worth a look (we were driving from Hyden to Albany). Safe travels šŸ™‚

  3. Cant wait for Coby to teach me how to bodyboard when she gets back! šŸ™‚ You are making me so neeeeeeeeeed to see these places myself! šŸ™‚

    • You are going to get even more jealous soon. The sights keep getting better and better. You will just have to meet up with us sometime šŸ™‚

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