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Travel Planning

The Goldfields is an expansive region covering 771,276 km². Traversing the region is a thoroughly enjoyable experience, however it is vitally important that you plan your travel to ensure your journey is both safe and enjoyable.

Frenchmans Peak, Cape Le Grand
Credit: Australias Golden Outback

Depending on the time of year you are travelling, the region can be both visually spectacular with an abundance of wildflowers, and also unforgiving in the deluge of rain in the wet season and the radiating heat in summer.

There are nine Shires within the region, each providing a Visitor or Information Centre as a stopping point on your journey providing travellers with a point to ‘check in’ as there can be hundreds of kilometres between Visitor Centres, gather tourist information on the spectacular sights and experiences in the region, ensure you have the appropriate permits to travel especially if you are travelling through the Shire of Ngaanyatjarraku, and be updated on road and weather conditions as these can impact your route through this vast and sometimes remote region in Western Australia.

What to Take

When planning your trip, especially if you are travelling to areas with little telecommunications services, ensure you advise a friend or relative of your travel plans and itinerary.

It is essential that you and your travelling party pack some essential items and be aware of travelling conditions to make your journey a safe and pleasant experience:

  • Take plenty of water and food, especially if you are travelling away from the major towns for a few days.
  • Pack warm clothes, as despite the days being warm, the nights can be particularly cold.
  • Ensure you have adequate shelter, especially if you are camping as the rainy season can bring torrential rain.
  • Telstra is the main telecommunications network in the region, and provides adequate coverage in major towns. Long range radio or mobile satellite phone, global positioning system, and emergency position indicating radio beacons can be useful when travelling on unsealed roads to abandoned towns and mine sites with there is no telecommunications coverage.
  • Ensure you have hard copies of maps, as with little network coverage in some parts of the Goldfields, mobile phones may not provide you with your location maps and directional information.
  • Some areas of the Goldfields traverse ancient and traditional lands. Permits are required and must be obtained before travelling through these regions, especially the Northern Goldfields. Permits can be obtained from the Shires Administration Centre in Warburton, or by contacting the Shire directly on (08) 8950 1711.
  • Ensure that your car is in excellent working condition, and is equipped with either a long range fuel tank for the longer journeys, or topped up with petrol in the major towns, as well as being adequately stocked with petrol, batteries, spare tyres and appropriate tools. When travelling through the Shire of Ngaanyatjarraku, petrol services are limited, so ensure you are well stocked before departing Laverton.
  • Ensure you have a first aid kit with supplies adequate for the areas you will be travelling to.
  • In unforeseen circumstances if you do break down, DO NOT leave your vehicle. Ensure you and your travelling companions stay with your vehicle until emergency services or a search team arrives.
Visitor Centres

Each of the major towns in the region provides a Visitor of Information Centre for travellers to visit as a first point in their journey. These Centres will provide you with a great source of information, including what to see and where to go in their Shire and the broader Goldfields region, local tips, availability and bookings in accommodation venues and at major tourist attractions, and updates on road and weather conditions. If you are travelling to remote areas in the Goldfields, it is important that you ‘check in’ with each Visitor or Information Centre to ensure you have the most up to date information for your journey, including opening times for food and fuel in remote towns, and ensure you are fully stocked with the appropriate equipment and provisions.

Permits to travel through Central Australia and the traditional lands can also be obtained at Visitor Centres in the Northern Goldfields along with information on opening times for some of the more remote facilities and services.

Permits to Aboriginal Communities

The Shire of Ngaanyatjarraku is traversed by The Outback Way where there are numerous arts, culture and tourist sites to explore. As many are located on ancient lands and not open to the public, passes are required to gain access to these attractions and approval from the Community Elders. Accommodation is not provided in this region of the Goldfields so ensure you have adequate supplies for your journey.

Permits can be obtained from the Shires Administration Centre in Warburton, or by contacting the Shire directly on (08) 8950 1711.

Telecommunication Services

The main telecommunication network in the region, especially out of the major towns, is Telstra. Travellers wishing to stay out of town are advised to carry a long range radio or mobile satellite phone, global positioning system, and emergency position indicating radio beacons.

Pastoral Stations

Travelling through the Goldfields may take you through an active pastoral lease which houses large numbers of livestock. It is advised to seek prior permission from the station owner or manager BEFORE you travel off-road within the pastoral property.

Abandoned Minesites

The history of the Goldfields is rich in mining and has an abundance of disused minesites, mineshafts, diggings and numerous old mine workings which will be fenced off and have warning signs displayed. There are also a number which arent fenced or signed, and are unsafe for visitors. It is strongly suggested to remain cautious when walking through abandoned sites for your own safety, and remain on clearly identified and defined tracks and trails.

Travelling with Pets

Many visitors to the region enjoy travelling with their pets, especially dogs. It is strongly suggested to keep your pets on leads AT ALL TIMES as the region is known for its poisonous snakes, wild dogs and foxes, and baiting of other feral animals. Please note that dogs are not permitted inside National Parks.

Roads

The main roads between towns are fully sealed with low to medium traffic and provide a comfortable journey for two-wheel drive vehicles. It is important to note that some roads are also routes for road haulage triple trailer trucks, as well as carriers of heavy mining and earth-moving equipment. It is important to follow the instructions of Pilot Vehicles where necessary and be courteous to other road users.

Not all unsealed roads are graded, so be aware that two-wheel drive vehicles may be damaged if travelling on some of the more remote roads. Many of the abandoned towns and mine sites can be accessed by both graded and ungraded roads which can become difficult to navigate. It is suggested that four-wheel drive vehicles be used to access some of the more rugged roads and terrain to avoid damage to both vehicles and the land.

Sometimes you will see livestock along and on some of the roads in the outer Goldfields region. Take precaution when approaching livestock, stopping at a distance to avoid confrontation. It is advised to wait until the livestock has moved from the road to side paddocks before continuing your journey. You may also see other wild animals such as kangaroos, camels, horses and goats along your journey, so be vigilant while you are driving and always proceed with caution when nearing or around livestock and wild animals.

Information on road closures (heavy rain, flooding or bushfires) can be obtained either through the Shire Administration offices, Visitor and Information Centres, or via the Department of Main Roads Travel Map.

Signage

Routes through the Goldfields are well signed with large green directional signage to towns and sites. Tourist attractions are signposted along the main roads in large brown and white signage. To complement some of the trails in the region, directional signage with the trail icon has been installed at intersections and turning points along the trails.

Many unsealed roads in the Goldfields are signposted advising of road conditions such as open or closed and the types of vehicles which may travel along the roads. It is strongly recommended to only travel along the roads when the roads are signed open, especially in the case of flooding. Information on road closures following heavy rains can be obtained either through the Shire Administration offices, Visitor and Information Centres, or via the Department of Main Roads Travel Map.

Weather Conditions

Weather conditions can be vastly different across the region, and can change quickly, so it is important to get up to date information on weather conditions along your journey. Information on weather conditions can be obtained either through the Shire Administration offices, Visitor and Information Centre, or through the Bureau of Meteorology.

The Goldfields region, while vast in size covering approximately one third of the state of Western Australia, is a remarkably beautiful region with many historically significant places to visit. The people you meet in each town are always more than happy to stop for a yarn, and if you are lucky enough, tell you their favourite place to visit which only the locals know. We look forward to welcoming you to the Goldfields and hope you enjoy your journey.