The Western Australian Goldfield region first became famous in the 1890s when thousands of locals and migrants came to the area to try their luck at prospecting. While mining is still present in the area, this tour explores the other riches of the area’s unique landscapes. Lake Ballard is a large salt lake famous for its permanent art installations. However, we also hope to see a range of flora and fauna that call the lake home, including kangaroos, a wide range of birds and a diverse group of plant species (hopefully some flowering Eremophilas).
Credo Station and the surrounding area (including Rowles Lagoon) are prime examples of the Great Western Woodlands. These woodlands are famous for their picturesque vistas of the Gimlet (Eucalyptus salubris) and many other flowering plants and bird species.
We also explore the Helena & Aurora Ranges (the Aboriginal name ‘Bungalbin’), a magnificent banded ironstone formation and one of the last ranges in the whole Yilgarn region. At 2.6 billion years old, it’s ancient, it’s unique, and there are species here that are not found anywhere else on earth.
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Extended Trip Details
|Day 1||Perth to Coolgardie area||We depart Perth from Wellington Street tourist pick up point at 8.00 am and head up the Great Eastern Highway towards Coolgardie. Our drive will take us up the Darling escarpment, through the forest, and then through some of our most fertile wheat and sheep farming areas. We will follow the Golden Pipeline to Western Australia’s eastern goldfields, rich in gold, gold-rush history and scenery, whilst also revealing the story of a unique engineering feat; C.Y.O`Connor built the inspired Goldfields Water Supply Scheme in 1903. It took five years to construct and is still the longest freshwater pipeline in the world. Accommodation: Bush Camp Coolgardie area LD|
|Day 2||Coolgardie area - Kalgoorlie - Lake Ballard||Leaving Coolgardie, it is only a short drive to Kalgoorlie which will take us through eucalypt woodland forests. There are about 14 different eucalypt species between Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie, and over 50 around Kalgoorlie. We will visit the massive open-cut mine in Kalgoorlie before continuing onto our campsite at Lake Ballard. Accommodation: Bush Camp Site Lake Ballard BLD|
|Day 3||Lake Ballard||We will walk out onto the lake this morning to see the renowned Anthony Gormley outback sculptures which form Australia’s largest world-class art site. Gormley has fused nature and art in a striking display of 51 stark black steel sculptures scattered across seven square kilometres of the vast, flat salt lake. After lunch, we will travel via Menzies to Niagara Nature Reserve and Niagara Dam, a drawcard for the wildlife of the area. Accommodation: Bush Camp Site Lake Ballard BLD|
|Day 4||Lake Ballard - Rowles lagoon - Credo Station||Today we travel to Credo Station via Rowles Lagoon, the only freshwater wetland within the Goldfields. 41 waterbird species have been recorded here, including eight protected by international treaties. The freckled duck, one of the worldʼs rarest waterfowl, has been recorded breeding here twice. Accommodation: Credo Station Camp Site BLD|
|Day 5||Credo Station||Today we return to Rowles Lagoon Conservation Park and spend the day discovering the local wildlife. Accommodation: Credo Station Camp Site BLD|
|Day 6||Credo Station to Helena and Aurora Ranges||We will travel via Southern Cross to the Helena and Aurora Ranges where we will set up camp. Accommodation: Bush Camp Helena Aurora Ranges BLD|
|Day 7 & 8||Helena Aurora Ranges||We will spend the next two days discovering the wildlife and natural history of these often overlooked and threatened ranges. Accommodation: Bush Camp Helena Aurora Ranges BLD|
|Day 9||Helena Aurora Ranges - Baladjie Rock - Perth||This morning we pack up and start our return journey to Perth, stopping at the iron ore mining town of Koolyanobbing. We will stop to refuel at the historic gold mining town of Southern Cross and then head to Baladjie Rock (an extensive rock outcrop situated in an attractive woodland) for lunch. We should arrive back in Perth in the late afternoon. BL|
NOTE: the above itinerary may be varied according to conditions and advice.
Places available on 22nd October 2022 departure
- Two well-maintained 4WD vehicles;
- 2 crew members – a naturalist/driver guide and driver/cook;
- Easy-to-erect tents and camp chairs with armrests;
- A self-inflating air mattress and stretcher bed;
- All eating utensils;
- Meals as per itinerary: breakfast (B), lunch (L), dinner (D);
- Campsite fees;
- Morning teas;
- All national park entrance fees;
- Travel permits as required.
“I’m grateful to Coates for providing this kind of service which allows me to travel to off-the-beaten track locations in comfort and without having to do any of the heavy lifting in friendly and supportive company.”
“Highlights of the tour included walking on Lake Ballard, nesting brown falcon at Helena Aurora, finding so many flowers in a very dry landscape, travelling with a like-minded group of people.”