After an overnight stop in Esperance, we drove up to the town of Kalgoorlie. When gold was discovered in the area in 1893, Kalgoorlie became the hive of the bee with a skyrocketing population of fortune hunters. Goldmining still is the big thing up there, with most of the activity taking place in the Super Pit.
The Super Pit is just what the name reflects, an enormous man-made mining hole in the ground. Before the opening of the Super Pit in 1989, the gold mining in Kalgoorlie was on several different corporate hands. However, as the cost of mining separately eventually became too expensive, the Super Pit came into being as a joint effort and the establishment of one big company, Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines Pty Ltd. There’s still heaps of activity in the mine, as the Super Pit produces about 28 tonnes of gold per year. Regardless, the estimated year for closing the mine is 2021, which is obviously coming up pretty fast. So there’s a debate up in Kalgoorlie as to what to do with this massive hole in the ground. One of the hottest tips would be to turn it into a lake, but water is scarce in the desert. There’s even talk about establishing casinos up there and make it Australia’s equivalient to Las Vegas. Guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens.
After visiting Kalgoorlie, we set off on the long drive across to Melbourne. The plan was to make it over in four days, but as we got started we changed our minds and decided to power through in three days, which we did. The roads are good and there’s very little traffic, so after driving in places like Bali and the Philippines, this was pure joy. And our Mazda Tribute does its part, it offers fairly good driving comfort. It still was a lot of hours in the car though, about ten hours per day. We only drove in daylight, as the kangaroos, emus, and camels (yes, Australia has wild camels, introduced by settlers of course) are most active from dusk until dawn, thereby reducing the risk of hitting any. Besides, you get to see more when you drive during the day. The landscape was the most remote I’ve ever encountered, especially when driving across the Nullarbor Plain. You can drive for hours and see for miles and miles in all directions, and there’s nothing there except nature. Totally mindblowing.
Overnight we camped on the side of the road in a tent we bought for $30. We made sure to zip it up pretty good to keep snakes and spiders out 😉
So after nearly 3.000 km from Kalgoorlie we finally arrived in Melbourne in good time before Christmas. Quite a journey in three days 🙂