Kalgoorlie Cup entrants who are too late to secure accommodation may find themselves sleeping in the stables as hotels and caravan parks in Kalgoorlie-Boulder are once again booked out.
The Kalgoorlie-Boulder circuit has long attracted thousands of visitors to the Goldfields which has created wider economic benefits for local businesses such as hairdressers, pubs and restaurants.
But as the city prepares for the influx of players taking part in activities taking place next Saturday before and including the Kalgoorlie Cup, the ongoing housing crisis continues to impact people’s ability to find rooms to stay.
A booming resource economy, many vacancies in the Goldfields industries and a shortage of housing and workers’ housing – the latter exacerbated by Kalgoorlie-Boulder City Council’s reluctance to approve some new developments – have led to what has now been 18 months of desperate searching for roofs over the heads of the workers.
A temporary solution was the establishment of long-term lodging contracts between lodging establishments and not only mining companies, but also pharmacies and healthcare providers – hence there is no place for tourists.
York hotel manager John Romanelli said the hotel was fully booked until the end of October.
“I can’t tell you how many people we’ve had to turn away looking for accommodation for the Kal Cup weekend,” he said.
“The mining companies book our rooms well in advance for their workers, which makes it really difficult for tourists who want to book short-stay accommodation during such events.”
A Discovery Parks spokesman said the Kalgoorlie Cup has always been a busy time for their Kalgoorlie Boulder sites.
“We’re often fully booked this weekend and this year is no different,” said the spokesman.
“The cabins in our two parks in Kalgoorlie-Boulder are fully booked, as guests from the Kalgoorlie Cup are also coming to us in addition to our current corporate contracts.”
Kalgoorlie-Boulder Visitor Center manager Fadzai Mudau said the center continued to receive many calls from tourists trying to find accommodation during this year’s round of racing.
“Unfortunately there is nothing to buy in the city. If you don’t have a trailer or camper, you can take advantage of the city’s free camping offer,” she said.
The city offers free camping at the 72-hour RV lots at Lake Douglas and Centennial Park as long as travelers’ vehicles are fully self-contained, pets are kept on a leash at all times, and no clothes are hung outside to dry.
“Race Round is undoubtedly the busiest time of year in Kalgoorlie-Boulder and each year has grown into a highly anticipated event, drawing visitors from across WA,” said Ms Mudau.
“Typically all accommodation is fully booked during the week of activities leading up to the Kalgoorlie Cup, so visitors are encouraged to book in advance each year to avoid disappointment.
“In 2021, we found that the participants were 65 percent local residents and 35 percent tourists.”