A Pilbara Adventure


Day 1: Karratha Town

Visit the Karratha Visitor Centre where you can join a tour of the Rio Tinto ship loading facilities and learn about the huge exports of iron ore that make this region the economic powerhouse of Australia. Explore the lookouts that overlook the town of Karratha and (if you’re up for it!) tackle the Yaburara Heritage Trail, a 3.5km one way grade 4 hiking trail that highlights the district’s natural history and cultural heritage.

Day 2 & 3: Coast and Culture

Visit the towns of Point SamsonRoebourneCossack and Wickham. This area has a rich and colourful history  –  from the Old Gaol in Roebourne to the abandoned port at Cossack, there are plenty of attractions on offer. Drive along the Emma Withnell Heritage Trail and retrace the settlement and development of the Roebourne district, including the towns of Cossack, Point Samson and Wickham.

Day 4: Dampier and Hearson Cove Aboriginal Rock Art

Visit the Red Dog Memorial Statue on the way into Dampier, then head up to the William Dampier Lookout where you can view part of the iron ore loading operations and there’s also a spectacular view of the start of the Dampier Archipelago. If you’re wanting to swim or fish, Palm Beach or anywhere along The Esplanade is ideal. On the way back to Karratha, stop in at Hearson Cove where you can swim and fish, and explore the tidal flats at low tide. The largest collection of Aboriginal Rock Art is located at Deep Gorge, on the road into Hearson Cove.

Day 5: A Day in the Water

Cruise through the Dampier Archipelago and visit some of the beautiful islands to see the abundance of sea life and exceptional natural beauty of the area. Made up of 42 islands, islets and rocks all within a 45 kilometre radius of Dampier, the Archipelago’s scenic landscapes of spinifex covered islands, dramatic piles of jumbled red rock and white sandy beaches contrast against aqua waters and bright blue skies. From March to June and September to November, migratory whales can be seen in large numbers.

Day 6: Magnificent Millstream

Visit the Millstream Chichester National Park including the Millstream Homestead Visitor Centre. A landscape of rolling spinifex hills, spectacular escarpments and winding tree-lined watercourses, in contrast with the lush oasis of the Millstream wetlands. Take the walk trails around Jirndawurrunha Pool which links the homestead with Crossing Pool. Python Pool, a permanent freshwater plunge pool located at the base of a cliff in the Chichester Range escarpment, is also a must see.

Day 7 & 8: Simply Gorge-ous

Set in the Hamersley Range, the Karijini National Park offers spectacular, rugged scenery, ancient geological formations, a variety of arid-land ecosystems, and a range of recreational experiences. The Karijini Visitor Centre offers information and interpretation on the natural and cultural history of the park. Walk the designated trails into the depths of Dales Gorge; swim at Fern Pool, Fortescue Falls and Circular Pool. For the active, take part in a West Oz Active Adventure Tour. Accommodation is available at the Karijini Eco Retreat or camping is permitted at Dales Camping Area.

Day 9: Top Town in WA

Nestled deep in the Hamersley Ranges at the base of the beautiful Mount Nameless is the picturesque town of Tom Price, the highest town in Western Australia. Take part in a tour of the Tom Price Mine and see the other side of the Rio Tinto operations  –  where the iron ore actually comes from! Have a picnic lunch at Kings Lake, a popular recreational area with a man-made lake (no swimming though). Drive to the top of Mount Nameless which offers spectacular views of the surrounding ranges, the Tom Price Mine site and the Tom Price township. Tom Price is also an ideal base for exploring Karijini National Park for those not wanting to stay within the park.

Day 10: Big Boys Toys

Newman is the largest mining town in the East Pilbara and takes its name from Mount Newman, a peak 1055m above sea level. Hike the 3km trek to the top to explore the native flora and fauna in the area, especially during July to September in wildflower season. Take a tour of the Mount Whaleback Mine site, the largest single open cut iron ore mine in the world. Check out the lookout behind the Newman Visitor Centre. Explore Opthalmia Dam and Silent Gorge.

Day 11: Nullagine

Between Newman and Marble Bar is Nullagine, which takes its name from the local Aboriginal name for the river that runs through its centre. The town has plenty of waterholes for the adventurous to discover, including Beatons Creek Gorge, Garden and Daylight Pools.

Day 12 & 13: Hit the Bar

Marble Bar has earned the reputation of Australia’s hottest town due to the consistently high temperatures experienced during the summer months. Approximately 35km south east of Marble Bar are the remains of a World War II Airbase; explore the crumbing foundations and other remnants of this secret air base. Just west of town an extraordinary colourful Jasper Bar crosses the Coongan River and the clear pool below is a popular swimming spot. Collect a sample of Jasper from the Jasper Deposit 4km from town. Visit the Comet Gold Mine, a large gold ore body 7.5kms south of Marble Bar. Other fascinating relics, Pilbara minerals and gem stones can also be viewed at the museum.  Drive to the Water Tank Hill Lookout and the Horizon Power Lookout for spectacular views. Visit the wonderful gorges  –  Coppins Gap, Doolena Gorge, Carrawine Gorge and Glen Herring Gorge.

Day 14 & 15: Explore Port Hedland

Take part in the Port Hedland Local History and Town Tour, the Rio Tinto Dampier Salt’s saltworks Tour and / or BHP Billiton Iron Ore Tour. Explore the Don Rhodes Mining and Transport Museum. Visit the Port Hedland Courthouse Gallery, Dalgety House, Matt Dann Cultural Centre and C3 Gallery; and take a walk through Port Hedland Historic West End. The Koombana Lookout and World War II Rifle Range provide panoramic views. Drive the Port Hedland Cultural and Heritage Trail.

Note: from Newman to Marble Bar (through Nullagine) is an unsealed road suitable for four wheel drives only. If not travelling via four wheel drive, it is recommended that you not take this road and amend the itinerary accordingly. This itinerary is meant as a guide only. We suggest that if you have the time, to enjoy the area at a more leisurely pace!

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