For an authentic Australian outback experience, visit Kookynie – a living gold rush ghost town on the Golden Quest Discovery Trail, with a quintessential goldfields pub and a host of gold rush relics to explore.
Located nine and a half hours east of Perth by car, the small town of Kookynie is one hour north east of Menzies, or a two-hour drive from Coolgardie.
In its gold rush heyday, following the discovery of gold in 1895, the booming hub of Kookynie had 1,500 residents, six hotels, a public baths and brewery.
Today, it’s practically a ghost town with just 13 permanent residents, but there are a number of buildings that bear testament to Kookynie’s heritage, including the Grand Hotel, where you can enjoy a cold beer, a hearty meal and drink in the outback ambience.
View the hotel’s collection of historic photographs, antique bottles and memorabilia. Stroll to the old shops and the Cosmopolitan Hotel ruins, and imagine the life of a pioneering prospector during the gold rush with a visit to the Old Miner’s Cottage – the last timber and iron building in Kookynie from the turn of the 20th century.
Nearby Niagara Dam was built in 1898 to provide plentiful fresh water for the railway linking Kalgoorlie with Menzies. This oasis in the wilderness is now a top spot for a picnic, refreshing swim or a night in a swag under the stars.
Whether you’re following the 965 kilometre Golden Quest Discovery Trail – a self-drive tour that takes in 25 sites of historic and Indigenous significance – or creating your own Goldfields adventure, be sure to include a trip to sculptor Antony Gormley’s Inside Australia exhibition.
Inside Australia, on the flat salt lake of Lake Ballard, is the country’s largest world-class open air sculpture exhibit. Covering an area of 10 square kilometres, the art installation showcases 51 statues representing residents from the nearby town of Menzies.
If you’d like to make Kookynie your base, book a stay at the historic hotel or caravan park.