Goldfields-Esperance is a region of Western Australia.
Goldfields-Esperance is one of the largest regions in Western Australia and though the majority of it is sparsely populated, Kalgoorlie and Esperance are major towns supporting significant populations. Despite the regions seeming harshness and remoteness from Perth, many Goldfieds-Esperance towns were some of the earliest to be settled in the fledgling colony. Esperance was settled in 1863 for agriculture and Coolgardie spring up almost overnight when gold was discovered and was the third largest town in the colony by 1892. The gold rush of the late 1800s gave birth to many towns that flourished and faded when the gold ran out. Some such as Kanowna, Dundas and Niagara disappeared back into the dirt leaving little more broken bottles and rusting wire to signify their existence, while others manage to hang on in a greatly diminished form.
For residents and travellers alike, the Goldfields-Esperance region is generally thought of as having two halves; northern and southern, demarcated with an imaginary line at Kalgoorlie. The northern is typified by desert landscapes dominated by mining, the southern sees trees and green farmland right up to granite bound coast.
Being both inland and southern, the temperatures daytime vary widely. Summer months can see scorching temperatures exceeding 40°C while its not uncommon for the night to dip below 0°C. The coastal areas have particularly temperamental weather patterns with cold cloudy and warm sunny skies alternating throughout the day.
The Great Eastern Hwy is the most direct way to get to or from Kalgoorlie. The South Coast Hwy comes from the South West
Skywest airlines fly from Perth to both Kalgoorlie and Esperance, but not between them. Smaller independent airlines and bus services go to some other destinations.
The Prospector train has daily services between Perth and Kalgoorlie.
Those making the long drive east across the Nullabor on the Eyre Highway will arrive in Norseman.
The Indian Pacific comes from Sydney and passes through Kalgoorlie. Most passengers stay on till Perth but you can get off if you want.
Distances between towns are usually counted in many hundreds or kilometres with little in between. Nonetheless, a network of highways cross the region with a speed limit of 110km/h for most of their length providing a quick way to get from one place to the next.
Starting in the north, the aptly named Goldfieds Hwy begins in Wiluna, passing through Leonora, Menzies and Kalgoorlie, and joins up with the Coolgardie-Esperance Hwy outside of Kambalda. The Coolgardie-Esperance Hwy starts in Coolgardie and makes a near straight line to Esperance on the coast.
Most people will drive. Some may ride a bike, but given the distances between towns this is not a method of travel to be taken lightly. Public transport options within the region are fairly limited. TransWA buses only ply between Esperance and Kalgoorlie 3 times a week.
The pubs at Broadarrow, Ora Banda and Koolkynie would make one of the longest pub crawls you could imagine.
Falling into an abandoned mineshaft is a real danger in the northern parts of the region as the country around Kalgoorlie, Coolgardie, Menzies, Leonora and Laverton is riddled with more than 100 years of mining activity. Most of these holes are not signposted or marked on maps but are readily identified by the white pile of quartz or greenish waste soil nearby. Perfectly normal looking ground may be honeycombed with old tunnels mere meters underground that could subside without warning. It would be prudent to tell someone where you are going if you plan to go out exploring and be careful about where you step.
King waves, as the name implies, are large freak waves common along this part of the Western Australian coast. They are dificult to predict and calm waves are not guarantee that one is not on its way. Many people have swept off the rocks with some ending in death. Some popular spots have float rings placed to assist in rescue. Take they sailors adage; Never turn your back on the sea.
Rips at some beaches can pose a danger even if you are a strong swimmer. Some beaches are signposted but with many hundreds of kilometers of coastline, more are not. If the beach has a reef offshore a rip might be there.
Water, or a lack of it has been the demise of many in this region. Make sure you take some with you if you are going away from towns for any length of time.