Karijini National Park

The Pilbara region covers more than 505,000 square kilometres (195,000 square miles) of Western Australia. It is surrounded by the Indian Ocean to the Northwest, the Kimberley to the North, the Northern Territory to the East and the Goldfields, Mid West and Gascoyne regions to the South.


The Pilbara is a very ancient land, with iron mining being the main industry. Like all other areas of Northern Western Australia, the Pilbara is very sparsely populated. It is a very hot area, the Marble Bar area is often quoted as the hottest place in Australia.

The Pilbara is an arid land of Old, a landscape of ancient rocks and stones, some estimated to be over 3 billion years old (!). The area is not fully barren (like the inner deserts), but is still very inhospitable, dry, and most of all extremely hot. Just like the rest of Western Australia, the Pilbara is very sparsely populated, furthermore here a good majority of the small population works for/is related to the mining industry. The scenery, however, has not been disfigured, and some beautiful natural attractions are found throughout the vast expanses of the Pilbara.

The current industry that is removing vast amounts of iron ore from the region has a very extensive affect on the landscape and the experiences of the region. Port Hedland is the main export port, and huge tonnages of iron ore are shifted out. The railways, the mine sites, and the communities are geared to the iron ore export, and very little is open for the tourist to access.



Other destinations


In the few areas where there are actually people to talk to, English should do just fine, just like in the rest of the country...

Get in

A Qantaslink aircraft at Port Hedland International Airport


Getting in the Pilbara requires flying to Port Hedland, Newman or Karratha via Perth (daily flights by Qantas),

Flights from Perth are expensive, but the cost varies greatly depending on the type of ticket purchased. The less flexible "Red E-Deals" are the lowest cost, but sell out quickly. Book well ahead to ensure you get a seat at a reasonable price.

By road

Do not be discouraged by the distances if you are adequately prepared.

Port Hedland to Perth is 1650 km via the Great Northern Highway, or 1770 via the North West Coastal Highway, and Port Hedland to Darwin is 2400 km....

Get around

There are two main sealed roads, the Great Northern Highway and the North West Coastal Highway. The Great Northern Highway passes through old gold mining towns like Cue and Meekatharra. North West Coastal Highway passes through Geraldton and Carnarvon.

The recently constructed Karratha Tom Price Road (Stage 2) is a sealed link from Karratha to just short of the Millstream oasis (about 90km). There are some spectacular views long the way. Note that the road is not sealed all the way to Tom Price.


Coming to the Pilbara without paying a visit to Karijini would be missing a lot.




Eat and Drink

Eating fine delicacies should probably not be the main objective of a trip to the Pilbara. Port Hedland and Karratha are reasonable options to gather sufficient supplies to go into the outback, and are probably the only options to have a drink anyway. Temperatures can be extreme, so the recommended choice for a drink in the area is actually water.

Point Samson


Accommodation anywhere in the Pilbara (but especially Port Hedland and Karratha) is likely to be in short supply at most times, and very expensive. Book well ahead to secure a room.

Karijini National Park

Point Samson

Stay safe

Go next

If you are extremely well prepared for some very serious remote 4WD driving, you can reach the vast Karlamilyi National Park on the Eastern side of the Pilbara. This park is actually one of the largest National Parks in the world, but also one of the most remote and least visited. There are absolutely no facilities, stores or supply, and you will have to drive 260 km on 4WD tracks from Newman.

There are no possibilities to leave the Pilbara to the East on the ground (no tracks, even unsealed). The only way to get out the region is to the North on the Great Northern Highway or to the South.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, September 19, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.