Karalee Rocks was developed as a catchment and reservoir for steam trains in the 1890s. It is located in the Yilgarn region of Western Australia between the Wheatbelt and Goldfields on Kaprun Country.
As a stop on the Golden Pipeline Heritage Trail, visitors can enjoy this special place and learn about its fascinating history on two interpreted trails.
Karalee Rocks is an important part of the story of the Eastern Goldfields Railway, the development of the goldfields and the state. It has an association with the Goldfields Water Supply Scheme, one of the most ambitious engineering and infrastructure schemes of the late nineteenth century.
Nestled beneath gimlets and other eucalypts of the Great Western Woodlands are two large granite outcrops adapted in the late nineteenth century to maximise the catchment, delivery and storage of rainwater for steam trains heading to the eastern goldfields. Granite outcrops are ecologically complex biodiversity hot spots with freshwater gnammas, which provide habitat for many species and have sustained human life for thousands of years.
Water falling on the granite outcrops is directed by stone walls into a metal aqueduct from where it flows into an earth tank that can hold nearly 50 million litres of water. The sight of the massive aqueduct, seemingly out of context in the environment, never fails to impress.
See, do, explore
Visitors are welcome to stay for a day or camp overnight. There are plenty of large sites suitable for tents and caravans. Picnic tables and campfire rings are provided, there is one toilet and a blackwater dumping point.
Please note the toilet is not currently operational.
Two easy walk trails that include interpretive signage take you around the site and across the rocks while explaining the various elements of this engineering feat.
Please note there is no water available on site, and swimming in the dam is not recommended. If you wish to have a campfire you need to bring firewood. Using wood in the area is not permitted to avoid damage to the fragile ecology of the site.
Karalee Rocks is 4km north of the Great Eastern Highway and 34km east of Southern Cross. There is a gravel road to enter the site that is suitable for all vehicles. However, the condition of the road is dependent on grading and weather.
Bring your firewood, but please be mindful of the Shire’s burning periods.
With minimal intervention, the site is managed by the National Trust from Perth with assistance from volunteers.