The South West Edge’s hero route requires a time commitment of just under two weeks to enjoy it to its fullest potential. A less hefty option is the Outback to Ocean Boomerang, a nine-day country and coastal taster of WA’s Golden Outback.
Much of this route focuses on the quirks of the inland towns, and the first is WA’s oldest inland town, York. Locals have created a 15-kilometre open-air gallery of horses, all made from farm scraps. Further along, in Northam, more art brightens a grain silo; it’s one of six silo murals around the Wheatbelt, part of the Silo Art Trail.
The next stop is Kalgoorlie, 496 kilometres to the east. Once a bustling gold rush town swarming with hopeful miners, the streets are rich with history and character. Kalgoorlie’s staple trade of the 1890s hasn’t entirely disappeared, with prospecting still very much a part of local life. Just out of town there’s the fully operational Superpit Gold Mine, so big it’s visible from space.
After a few days inland, the white sand of Esperance’s Lucky Bay is calling. Within Cape Le Grand National Park, the pristine bay is known for its array of blues and the friendly roos that frequent it. Spend a few days exploring before heading back to Perth via Hyden’s Wave Rock.
A dry salt bed 800 kilometres from Perth is the last place you’d expect to find art. Yet that’s exactly where you’ll find Sir Antony Gormley’s collection of 51 black steel sculptures, titled ‘Inside Australia’. The sculptures – each cast from body scans of one of the 131 locals – are dotted around the stark white flats 40 minutes out of Menzies. It’s one of Australia’s largest outdoor galleries.
Juicy witchetty grubs, mild and waxy sandalwood nuts and sweet, nectar-filled honey ants are just the start of the traditional bush foods foraged on a half-day Goldfields Honey Ant Tour.
Led by Edie Ulrich and her family, the tours take place about 50 kilometres out of Kalgoorlie on Wongatha country. A traditional morning tea of billy tea and homemade damper complement the wide variety of foraged bounty. Ulrich is one of just six remaining native speakers of the Tjupan language, and she works with the Goldfields Aboriginal Language Centre to help preserve the region’s Aboriginal languages.
Did You Know?
Kookynie, 113 kilometres north-east of Kalgoorlie, has a population of 13 – or 14 if you count Willie, the horse. He’s been a regular at the Grand Hotel Kookynie since the pub’s owners found him on the street and adopted him.
Outback to Ocean Boomerang Drive Route Details
When to visit:
Any time is a good time for the Outback to Ocean Boomerang. Summer temperatures hover around the high 30s inland and drop to the high 20s as you approach the coast – perfect for a dip in Esperance’s azure waters. Winter brings much cooler weather and whale spotting.
The loop begins and ends in Perth. A 4WD is only necessary for beach driving.