Road Conditions & Road Safety

Depending on the time of year, road conditions can change in an instant leading to drivers becoming more conscious of road safety and hazards.

This can affect the volume of traffic, weather conditions and the general level of road maintenance. Some of the unsealed roads on the Golden Quest Discovery Trail may become corrugated or develop sections of ‘bull dust’ (deep patches of powdery dirt that accumulates in potholes and other depressions in the road). Corrugations are hundreds of closely parallel ridges just a few centimetres high that develop across gravel roads, sometimes making it difficult to maintain your vehicles position on the road. If you don’t slow down, particularly when rounding a corner, you can slide left or right, running the risk of losing control of your vehicle.

On all gravel or dirt roads, regardless of their condition, it is essential to travel at a speed that allows you to safely respond to any situation. Never exceed 80 kilometres per hour, regardless of how good or straight the road may appear to be. The sudden use of brakes on a gravel road can have you in a dangerous skid and heading for the scrub.

Whilst travelling on these unsealed roads, you are urged to observe the following recommendations.

  • Look well ahead on the road for possible trouble spots.
  • Watch out for wildlife and livestock on or near the road, especially at dusk.
  • Watch for dust in the distance to indicate oncoming traffic. Always slow down and move to the side of the road, most particularly when the approaching vehicle is a road train (these articulated trucks can be over 50 metres in length).
  • Always drive to the conditions at the time, slowing down on bends and rough sections of the road and do not speed under any circumstance.
  • Avoid driving at night unless absolutely necessary.

A checklist for you and your vehicle

As some sections of the Trail route are remote from towns and essential services, it is strongly recommended that you ensure that your vehicle has had a comprehensive mechanical service before you depart on your journey. Ensure the vehicle owner’s manual is in the glove box and that you have the following:

  • A good supply of water, some food, a hat and sunscreen lotion, a first aid kit, an emergency blanket, and warm clothing, regardless of the season.
  • A detailed map of the region (apart from the maps provided in the guide).
  • Enough fuel to cover 500 kilometres.
  • A basic tool kit with appropriate spanners, sockets spanners and wrenches, etc.
  • A jack, jack handle, jack plate and wheel brace.
  • Spare wheel, puncture repair kit, tyre pump and tyre pressure gauge.
  • Spare drive belts (fan, alternator, power steering, etc) radiator hoses and other hoses (as appropriate for your vehicle).
  • Spare distributor cap and fuel and oil filters.
  • Spare spark plugs and set of points (if appropriate).
  • Engine oil, other lubricants, dewatering fluid and radiator sealant.
  • Jumper leads, tow rope and/or chain and shackles.
  • Fire extinguisher, small shovel or spade.
  • Spare ignition key.

While this may seem a lot to be carrying, this list is by no means comprehensive. When travelling in outback regions, it always pays to be prepared.

Breakdowns or accidents

In the event of a breakdown that you cannot repair, or an accident, always stay with your vehicle and wait for someone to come along who may be able to assist. If you have a mobile phone and providing that there is coverage in the area through which you are travelling, the following telephone numbers for the regions’ police:

Coolgardie Police 08 9093 8400
Laverton Police 08 9088 2777
Leonora Police 08 9037 6100
Kalgoorlie-Boulder Police 08 9021 9777

The 965 kilometre Golden Quest Discovery Trail traverses sealed (bitumen) and unsealed (gravel or dirt) roads, with approximately 525 kilometres being unsealed. Following heavy rain, some roads are closed to all traffic. In such instances, the relevant authorities post signs announcing closure. On no account proceed if a Road Closed sign is up. If you do, you can be heavily fined and also be liable for the cost of any road repairs required as a result of your use. Fortunately, road closures are relatively rare.

Always remember that rain creates instant changes to road conditions in the Goldfields. Following heavy rain, up-to-date information on road conditions along sealed highways can be obtained by calling Main Roads WA on 138 138. For the latest information on condition on the unsealed roads, you are advised to contact the appropriate local government authority:

City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder 08 9021 9600
Shire of Coolgardie 08 9080 2111
Shire of Leonora 08 9037 6044
Shire of Laverton 08 9031 1202
Shire of Menzies 08 9024 2041


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