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Going For Gold (and why don’t you come too)

Kalgoorlie-Boulder is 600km east of Perth in Australia’s Golden Outback and I’m here to pan for gold, have a look at the Super Pit, sit in some massive trucks, drink some ale and eat big things.

Settlers arrived in the late 1800s after trekking across the desert to find their fortune from gold in the ground. They obviously knew what they were doing as today the area is dubbed The Golden Mile, the richest square mile on Earth.

I had a brief go at panning for gold and quickly realised those guys back in the early days must’ve had a lot of patience. Nowadays you can buy a license to search for $25, pick up a metal detector and away you go.

Obviously modern mining techniques have made it a lot easier, what with all the new technology and ridiculously enormous monster trucks to shift everything about. This vehicle at the recently re-opened KCGM mining museum is only half the size of an actual working model down at the Super Pit.

And here is the Super Pit, open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year digging for gold. Approximately 3.5km long, 1.5km wide and 0.75km deep. Look closely and you can see the massive trucks are completely dwarfed by the enormity of the hole. It kind of reminded me of that bit in Lord of the Rings when Saruman was creating the Uruk-Hai deep down below the Earth’s crust.

By now my stomach was starting to feel as empty as the Pit so we drove out to The Broad Arrow Tavern, a quirky tin shed pub about half an hour’s drive from anywhere for one of their famous “Broady Burgers”.

It’s a tradition to sign your name somewhere on the walls. Have a look at these photos to see what I mean (you’ll also see why I’m getting considerably heavier).

Finally, the last stop of the day was to meet Nick, the owner of Beaten Track Brewery. He’s been brewing for 17  years, opened his business five years ago and has 40 ales on rotation…..….we tried a quarter of them.

Nick’s aim is to produce ales of unique and unsurpassed quality. When he said we’d be trying seven (which turned into 10) I was prepared for an afternoon write-off, but because he uses all natural ingredients and no chemicals whatsoever, I just tasted 10 great quality beers with no horrible after effects.

His ales have big flavours, high alcohol and he likes to experiment. I was SURE I was gonna feel a bit worse for wear after the 9.1% peanut butter and chocolate stout, washed down with a 6.5% smoked chilli beer chaser (made with real habanero chillies) but I was fine!

I manoeuvred my way round the 4.7% Summer Ale with ease, tried the banana inspired Heffe before looking the 5.2% Pack Horse square in the eye and coming out victorious.

Next up, the 6.5% Cherry Wood Smoked Porter, followed by a Brewed Awakening (another ale, not something that happened) and the light and hoppy Ora Banda.

After the 11.3% Duke of York “roady” I couldn’t have been happier. I’d gained a new buddy in Nick and told everyone in the brewery that I loved them.

I then floated outside, climbed into my spaceship and flew home.

Tips and Tricks

Getting to Kalgoorlie

  • Virgin Australia operate daily flights to Kalgoorlie

Where I stayed

My Insider tips

  • If you have a hungry appetite after all that gold fossicking, make sure to have a meal at The Palace Hotel, a magnificent example of early Goldfields architecture and now home to the famous Herbert Hoover mirror.