The discovery of gold in the 1890’s sparked a rush to this region – but the country the settlers came to was hot, harsh and horribly unforgiving. This trail tells many of the stories of what was often a struggle for survival as Europeans set out to make their way in a land that was both foreign and pitiless.
From coach roads and stock routes to wayside hotels and staging posts, and from vast pastoral stations to historic mines and the shooting-star settlements that they spawned – the social history of this struggle for survival is strung out along this Loop for your enjoyment. Drive the 300km in a clockwise direction – it is a comfortable day’s outing, but do check road conditions
first as half the route is on gravel surfaces.
Loop trail has 15 interpretive sites, spaced roughly 15 – 30kms apart. At each of these locations you will find an interpretive panel and, somewhere nearby, a figure, a ‘ghost’ from the past or a creature from the present, waiting to share a story with you… Let these rusty steel story tellers introduce you to the people and the places
and to the pests
and the perfectly natural – but you will need to go out and find them first! At each stopping place along both loops someone (or something!) is waiting to tell you their story – go and explore, see who and what you can discover, and learn about the lives and landscapes of this remarkable region.
How to Use this Trek Note
In this trek note, we provide Place to Place distances (see Directions tab), a downloadable plot file, and POI files to enable you to use this as your driving itinerary, or as a base guide to add other side trips. As with all ExplorOz Trek Notes
, you can reverse the order of the direction notes by clicking the arrow alongside the words Start/Finish at the very top of the information on this page.
To see the route, click on the Map tab. Then use the Moving Map Control to take a virtual tour of the route. You can also click on the "What to See & Do" & "Where to Stay" tabs to see more about each Place that the route follows. Click each listed item to open a separate page (and download) for each Place for further information to enrich your understanding of the area.
If you use the Print button at the top of the page the text from all sections will be reformatted into one easy to read document (except for detailed Place information – do these separately). If you are an ExplorOz Member, you'll also be able to download any individually selected Places
(or all in one batch download) as POI/waypoint files to use in your GPS (all popular formats available).
There is possibly no more widespread tree species in the dry heart of Australia
than mulga. On these two trails, you are well and truly in Mulga country.
There are two broad types of mulga woodland – one has a shrub understory, while the other has grasses and spinifex. Both will be seen along the loop
Of course, the landscape out here is not all mulga – far from it! In particular, the northern and eastern sectors of the Darlot Loop
showcase a delightful variety of landforms and vegetation species. Hard spinifex makes an appearance as you leave the Goldfields Highway, bringing with it another sand-loving species, the magnificent marble gum. Desert oak, white Cyprus pine, prickly wattle and the water bush can all be seen along the trail. Hard stony quartz flats and sharply-defined watercourses bring variety, and breakaways (especially the terraces) are always a visual treat.
Wildlife you can expect to see along the trails include; Kangaroos, Euros, emus, wedge tail eagles, a vast array of birdlife (particularly around the watercourses), and all manner of reptiles, particularly goannas.
The Goldfields region has a strong and proud Aboriginal population
, who inhabited the area for thousands of years before European settlement
The first contact the area had with Europeans dates back to 1869 when explorer John Forrest
and his party, in search of the lost Leichhardt Expedition, made camp near a hill
and named it Mount Leonora
. It was then some twenty five years before more Europeans came to the area – but this time it was prospectors, not explorers
, who came prowling around the area covered by the trails.
In 1894 Paddy Lawler stumbled on a scattering of alluvial gold 125km north-west of Leonora
, sparking a rush to the area from both Cue
. In the same year gold was found near Lake Darlot
, which quickly emptied the fledging camp of Lawlers of most of its men! When the rich Sons of Gwalia
reef was discovered soon afterwards in Leonora
was well on its way to becoming the centre for a major mining area – just as it remains today.
Before you set out, ensure that you are carrying enough fuel, water and food supplies for the journey. In the town of Leonora
, you can get some helpful advice at the Information Centre. The town also has a supermarket and a fuel station, medical facilities, and accommodation. Carry good communication gear such as a HF radio
or UHF radio
. For more information, ExplorOz has some good articles that you can read including: Satellite Phone, Outback Survival
, First Aid
, Prospecting for Gold
, Food & Water
, 4WD Driving Skills & Rules
, Spare Parts and Tools
Below is a list of points to consider before setting out.
- Mobile phone coverage can be quite limited – do not rely on this always being available!
- Let someone know where you’re going and when you expect to be back.
- Be sure to pack water, fuel, spare tyre(s), tools, a tow-rope and a shovel (at least).
- Consider carrying a satellite phone or an EPIRB, in case of emergency.
- Large parts of these trails are on gravel roads (well in excess of 50%)
- Watch out for bog holes (when wet) and bull dust and/or corrugations when dry.
- Creek crossings can be washed out – always slow down as damage can be hard to see.
- While travel in a 2WD vehicle is quite possible, with care, a 4WD is preferable.
Other Important Information
- These trails pass through a number of active pastoral properties – please do not travel off-road without the prior permission of the owner or manager.
- Enjoy trying to ‘strike it rich’ – but do keep off active mining leases.
- Old mine workings can be extremely dangerous. Be very careful, as many shafts are unmarked and unstable. In particular, keep children close to you at all times.
- If you’re travelling with a pet dog, never let it roam free. Baits containing 1080 poison have been scattered throughout the region to control wild dogs and foxes.
There are no permits required for this trek.
Fuel Supplies & Usage
||Diesel||4cyl 42 litres
||ULP||4cyl 48 litres
||LPG||4cyl 60 litres|
|6cyl 46 litres||6cyl 54 litres||6cyl 53 litres|
|8cyl 46 litres||8cyl 50 litres|
, there are also fuel supplies available at Leinster.
Best Time To Visit
The best time to visit is during the cooler months between March and October. The temperature during the summer months of December, January, and February can sometimes be over 40 degrees Celsius.
Closest Climatic Station
Distance from Trek Mid Point 0.17km N
|Mean Max. °C
|Mean Min. °C
|Mean Rain mm
Best time to travel Ok time to travel Travel NOT recommended
Services & Supplies
The following locations have various services and supplies: Leonora