|Day 15 – Perth to Kalgoorlie
Todays challenge – To navigate our way through Perth’s maze of freeways without taking a wrong turn.
We depart Perth at 7.30 as we will be driving into the early morning sun. Perth farewells us with heavy rain and peak hour traffic as the Tom Tom tries to navigate me through five different freeways before heading us out of town. It tells me to bear left however there are four lanes bearing left so I stick to the middle lane. “Recalculating it blurts out”. Dam it, I have failed the challenge already. Back on track we head underground through a very long tunnel then reappear only to drive through bumper to bumper traffic and miles of roadworks. We still have not seen a sign to Kalgoorlie. One hour later we spot a sign that indicates an exit ahead and we are now confident we are on the right track.
We pass through Mundaring and this is where the famous Perth to Kalgoorlie pipeline starts and it not long before we spot it . We are unaware that we will be following this pipeline for the next 623km along with many kilometers of rail that carries the Indian Pacific.
We exit the freeway to grab some breakfast at Northam and to refuel. Rod notes that petrol is10 cents a litre cheaper than Brisbane. We pass a sign that tells us we are crossing the Meckering fault line where an earthquake in October, 1968 destroyed the small wheat belt town, approximately 100 km east of Perth. We drive a little faster just in case the ground decides to swallow us.
Back on track, the rain has stopped and we notice the temperature is starting to rise as we follow mile after mile of pipe line. We come across a sign that states we are now crossing Rabbit Proof Fence No 2. We don’t see a fence in sight. One hundred kilometers further on we pass the Rabbit Proof Fence memorial marker, still no sign of a fence, We both discuss the movie and try to remember what states the fences traversed. Rod vows to Google it.
We stop at the Southern Cross Hotel for lunch and a cold beer then head towards our destination. We note that there are a number of pump houses along the way and many have stories to tell about the families that tended them. We stop at Coolgardie for a stretch and if we blinked we would have missed it.
We pass many signs pointing to mine sites and assume we are getting close to Kalgoorlie. We soon hit the town and drive down historic Hannan St which is lined by many fine old pubs (92 in it hay-day). We check into our accommodation and secure the last available room. Rod has forgotten that accommodation is as scarce as hens teeth in mining towns and we are lucky we don’t have to sleep in the car.
We head to the information centre and try to book a tour of the ‘Super Pit’ for tomorrow. “Sorry all booked out” we are told “but you may wish to view it from the lookout, it is quite impressive” the girl behind the counter tells us. We ask if we can book a Brothel Tour and she has two tickets left. We purchase them and head to the York Hotel to have a beer or two.
Tonight we have Chinese for dinner. You would expect Kalgoorlie to have a decent Chinese Restaurant……….. Wrong!