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MINER'S PATHWAY

Follow the Miner’s Pathway north of Perth and explore the legacy of the remarkable gold rush era. Visit the grand old buildings, graveyards, rusting machinery and the rich stories of those who lived in these whirlwind times. This 5-day self-trail will take you through the Gascoyne Murchison region to explore these fantastic towns of time gone by. You can purchase the Gascoyne Murchison Outback Pathways Guidebook online or in a local visitor centre to help plan your trip.

PLEASE NOTE: The Miner’s Pathway self-drive route covers both sealed and unsealed roads, including gravel roads. Depending on the time of the year and weather conditions, some parts of the route may only be suited to 4WDs. Usually, the route is accessible for 2WD vehicles, so please ensure to check the weather and road conditions before setting out on your journey. Also note, driving times and distances are intended as a guide only and may vary depending on exact route taken. The following itinerary includes ALL sealed and unsealed roads, so alter this trip to suit your circumstances.

DAY 1

Perth to Paynes Find (400km)

It’s time to head north! Get the car packed with everything you need and set off on your journey to Paynes Find. The trip will take you roughly 4.5 hours, so aim to head off in the morning after a hearty breakfast. You’ll be passing through the Wheatbelt town of Dalwallinu just after lunch time (around 2 hours 50 minutes into your journey), so this is a great spot to stop, stretch and grab something to eat. Head to Dally Café, Jenny’s Bakehouse, or grab some snacks from the local Foodworks grocery store to refuel you for the rest of your journey to Paynes Find. If you’re travelling throughout wildflower season, Dalwallinu is a hotspot, so get the camera ready for the bursts of colourful flowers around town. If you’re a real wildflower enthusiast, you may even want to spend an extra night here.

 

Jump back on the road and finish the 175km journey north to Paynes Find. Explore the township, and the Gold Battery, established in 1911 and is the only working battery in the state! Enjoy the museum and a walk around town before heading to your accommodation. We recommend staying at the Paynes Find Roadhouse and Tavern for the evening, which offer single rooms, double rooms, family units, a camping area, and a caravan park with both powered and unpowered sights. Grab yourself a bite to eat and a cold drink from the Tavern before settling in for a good night’s rest.

Day 2

Paynes Find to Meekatharra (340km)

Today is a big day of exploring, so wake up early, pack the car, grab some quick breakfast, and set off on your next leg of the trip, Paynes Find to Meekatharra. You’ll see Kirkalocka mine site to your left about 70km south of Mount Magnet, which is an active gold mine, however, has sat idle since 2008. Marvel at the red dirt landscapes, as it’s now where you’ll truly notice the landscape change since you’ve left Dalwallinu.

After around 1 hour 40 minutes you’ll be arriving in Mount Magnet, known as the ‘hub of the Murchison’ and the longest surviving gold rush settlement in Western Australia. You’ll have some time to explore here with plenty of options. Follow the 37km Tourist Trail from the town centre, showcasing old and new mine sites, spectacular views from Warrmboo Hill and explore the magnificent granite rock formations including a natural amphitheatre and a cave. Take a visit to the Mining and Pastoral Museum to see the extensive collection of mining and farming relics from around the region. Try your luck gold prospecting and fossicking, explore the remains of abandoned settlements, and wander along the heritage walks. You’ll have a couple of hours here so adventure as you please, but if you’re short for time you can revisit these activities on day 4.

 

Jump back into the car and head 80km up the road to Cue, or the ‘Queen of the Murchison’. As you arrive in town, you’ll notice the stunning colonial architecture with many buildings classified by the National trust that date back to the 1890s, and some of these are still being used for their intended purpose. Depending on your timing for the day, head out to Walga Rock (48km from Cue) and explore the huge 1.5km long monolith with the largest gallery of Aboriginal rock paintings in Western Australia!

Your last leg of the day is getting to Meekatharra, a 115km drive from the town of Cue. Originally a gold prospecting town settled in 1896, the town and surrounding areas feature a host of old mining pits and relics from the era. You have a range of hotels and motels to choose from for your night’s stay in the heart of town, including Auski Inland Motel, Commercial Hotel and Royal Mail Hotel all with onsite restaurant to satisfy your dinner. If you are planning to camp, head to Karalundi Caravan Park, which is a 40 minute drive out of town so make sure you make dinner plans before you head there, or the Meekatharra Accommodation Centre in town with an onsite roadhouse.

Day 3

Meekatharra to Sandstone (193km)

PLEASE NOTE: This is a gravel road, reminder to check road conditions at your time of travel if travelling in a 2WD.

 

Spend your morning exploring more of Meekatharra, with a range of exciting attractions and places to explore. Take the Meeka Town Heritage Walk or the Creek Trail to discover the history and heritage of the town and its people from the past. Follow the 3km Meeka Rangelands Discovery Trail for a fascinating insight into the Indigenous history, nature, and cultural heritage of the town. Head to the Meekatharra Museum to view over 100 photographs and interesting memorabilia of this outback town. Or just take a leisurely stroll through town and Main Street, looking at the State Battery and other interesting prospecting items.

After a morning of exploring, pack up a picnic and head out to Peace Gorge at The Granites and explore these spectacular rock formations, just 5km from town. You could easily spend an hour or two enjoying the sights and climbing to the top.

When you’re ready to tackle the next leg, fuel up the car and it’s time to head out on the gravel road to Sandstone. Along the way watching out for wildlife like kangaroos and emus who frequent along this path. Notice how the rock formations contrast with the rust-stained sandstone, which is what gives the town its name. Arrive in Sandstone in the mid-afternoon and notice the towns wide streets, which were filled with people in 1894 after a major gold discovery was found nearby. See the grand old buildings and heritage at the Sandstone Heritage Museum to learn all things Sandstone, including the fascinating brewery story from 1907!

When it’s time to head to your accommodation, the Alice Atkinson Caravan Park is a centrally location option with no booking required on a first in basis, or book a room at The National Hotel with great meal options for dinner. A must-see while in Sandstone is London Bridge, believed to be 350 million years old and shaped like a bridge, and this is a fantastic sight after night fall with a sky full of stars above you. Alternatively, take a drive to London Bridge before heading to your accommodation.

DAY 4

Sandstone to Yalgoo (280km)

Today we are back on the sealed road to Yalgoo. Set out mid-morning after a breakfast in town and admire the vast open landscape of the Gascoyne Murchison. 150km into your journey you’ll arrive back into Mount Magnet, so this is a great opportunity to tick off any adventures or you didn’t get to experience on day 2 of your journey.

From Mount Magnet to Yalgoo keep your eyes peeled for wedge-tailed eagles flying overheard, and plenty of emus and kangaroos hopping around. Take a 10-minute detour just before reaching the Yalgoo townsite to explore Joker’s Tunnel, a tunnel that was carved through solid rock by early gold prospectors in the gold rush era.

TOP TIP – If you’re interested in the Geology of the region, check out the Murchison GeoRegion trail which takes in 21 sites across the region.

Arrive in Yalgoo in the afternoon and explore the outback town that’s full of character, with well preserved turn-of-the-century buildings and a rich gold mining heritage. There are plenty of reminders around town of these wild gold rush days, including the railway station, cemetery, Monsignor Hawes, the convent chapel, and the Yalgoo Courthouse Museum. After exploring the townsite, check in to your accommodation at the Yalgoo Caravan Park, offering units to suit singles, couples or families, as well as large powered and unpowered caravan sites and drive through sites big enough to suit the largest RV.

DAY 5

Yalgoo to Perth (530km)

PLEASE NOTE: This is a gravel road, reminder to check road conditions at your time of travel if travelling in a 2WD.

 

It’s the last day of your journey, but the trip isn’t over yet! You’ve got a long journey in the car ahead, so make sure your stomachs and petrol tanks are full before you hit the road. Set off before mid-morning and jump on the road back to Perth. Set your sat nave for Wongan Hills as this is a great place to stop for a picnic lunch.

 

Around 3 hours 45 minutes into your journey you’ll be in the Wheatbelt region of Road Trip Country, and you’ll arrive into Wongan Hills for lunch. The scenic town is renowned for its wildflower display during season, its panoramic views of the whole shire from Mount O’Brien, and the nearby Mount Matilda with a great scenic walk through the bushlands. For lunch, head into the Wongan Hills Bakery & Café or the Wongan Hills Hotel for a delicious meal and drink, before jumping back on the road for the 186km journey back to Perth.

STATION STAYS

The Gascoyne Murchison is peppered with incredible Station Stays, so if you fancy diverting slightly from this itinerary to experience some true outback hospitality, check out the range of Stations in the Golden Outback!