Stretching out along the southern fringes of the Little Desert National Park, Goroke is a relaxed and rural town made of true Aussie outback grit. One of rugged good looks, its wide main street is home to a small and friendly community of farmers, workers and even a prized literary author. As well as a gateway to Little Desert and Mt Arapiles, Goroke has more recently found fame as a stop along the popular Silo Art Trail.
In the local Wotjobaluk dialect, Goroke means ‘magpie’, so it’s appropriate the town’s grain silo art bears the image of this iconic bird. Sharing space alongside a kookaburra and a galah, it’s a beautiful triptych that makes for an essential stop.
Popular as a base for trips into the Little Desert, those with a 4WD (or a good pair of hiking boots) can tackle its sandy tracks to witness spring-time wildflowers, and, if lucky, spot its most famous resident – the Mallee Fowl.
Nearby Lake Charlegrark is very well known by campers for canoeing, swimming and fishing for Murray Cod. Birdwatchers flock here to tick off endangered species such as brolga and freckled duck. The annual Country Music Marathon also has folk boot-scooting in for a weekend of fun.
Just east of Goroke, don’t miss the Duff monument commemorating one of the nation’s most famous bush stories. It was here where three young children went missing on the fringes of the Little Desert, only to be miraculously found 11 days later by Aboriginal trackers; a search led by none other than Jumgumjenanuke (better known as Dick-a-Dick) and Brimbunyah (Red Cap) two of Australia’s first international cricketers.