Gorge in Karijini National Park
Gorge in Karijini National ParkDepositphotos

Did You Know About Pilbara, Among The Oldest Places On Earth?

Are you looking to be dwarfed in front of the oldest formations on earth? Explore the stunning landscapes of Pilbara

Pilbara, located in the western part of Australia, is globally recognised for its breathtaking landscapes, vast iron ore deposits, and geological significance, as it houses some of our planet's oldest rocks and geological formations. Twice the size of the United Kingdom, the Epic Pilbara dates back 3.5-4.3 billion years.

The Burrup Peninsula is home to 700 Indigenous archaeological sites and over a million ancient rock engravings (Petroglyphs), some dating back 30,000 years. These sites offer a unique glimpse into the Aboriginal culture of the Pilbara region. Here's a look at all you need to know for a wholesome visit to Pilbara.

The rock formations at Pilbara
The rock formations at PilbaraDepositphotos

Places To See

Apart from oldest rock formations on Earth, Pilbara includes some of the stunning coastal plains and mountain ranges with cliffs and gorges.

Coastal Getaways

Onslow

Direction Island, Onslow
Direction Island, OnslowWikimedia Commons

Onslow is a small coastal town situated on the northwest coast of the Pilbara region, overlooking the Indian Ocean. With a population of around 829 people, it serves as a gateway to natural attractions, heritage sites, and outdoor activities.

Onslow has plenty of activities to enjoy, such as fishing and snorkelling at Mackerel Island. This island is home to 10 islands, with two open to visitors: Thevenard Island and Direction Island. Additionally, you can visit the Old Good Shed Museum, which features a vast collection of old machinery, rolling stock, and memorabilia. You can also explore the remains of the original townsite at the mouth of the Ashburton River by taking a 1 km walk on the Ian Blair Memorial Walkway.

Dampier

Rock formations in Dampier
Rock formations in DampierUnsplash

Dampier is a town located on the coast of the Pilbara region and is situated about 20 km from the larger town of Karratha, on the northwest coast of Australia. Dampier is famous for its association with the mining and resource industry and its breathtaking natural landscapes.

The Dampier Archipelago is a beautiful place to explore, with its coral reefs, sponge gardens, and over 650 species of fish. You can even spot green, hawksbill, and flatback turtles that nest on its beaches. Another must-see attraction is the Murujuga National Park, where you can witness extensive rock art petroglyphs. Dampier is also known for its association with "Red Dog," a beloved Australian legend. A bronze statue of the wandering dog stands in the town which travellers must not miss.

Karratha

Coastline in Karratha
Coastline in KarrathaDepositphotos

Karratha is a significant town that serves as a central hub for the surrounding mining and resource industry, making it one of the key economic centres in the Northwest part of the state. The town is located in the northwestern region of Western Australia and is known for its significant contribution to the state's economy.

If you want to get an overview of the city, head to the Water Tank Hill Lookout near the Karratha Visitor Centre. Alternatively, you can explore the scenic 3.5 km Yaburara Aboriginal Heritage Walk Trail. Karratha is an excellent starting point for exploring the area's natural beauty, including ancient Aboriginal rock engravings on the Burrup Peninsula, Hearson's Cove beach, and the port town of Dampier, all of which are within a 20-minute drive. If you are interested in fishing and camping, you can visit Cleaverville Creek, just 30 minutes away. For a more serene experience, you can take a two-hour drive to the Millstream-Chichester National Park.

Inland Getaways

Karijini National Park

Karijini National Park
Karijini National ParkDepositphotos

Karijini National Park is a well-known natural wonder situated in the Pilbara and the state's second-largest national park. It is famous for its rugged and ancient landscapes, which include deep gorges, breathtaking waterfalls, and distinctive rock formations.

Karijini National Park offers travellers the opportunity to explore several gorges and canyons formed over millions of years by the erosion of the Hamersley Range. Dales Gorge, Hancock Gorge, Weano Gorge, and Joffre Gorge are some of the popular attractions in the park. Visitors can also enjoy a refreshing swim in the clear rock pools and waterfalls such as Fern Pool, Fortescue Falls, and Circular Pool. The park is home to diverse flora and fauna, including red kangaroos, rock wallabies, and various bird species. Hiking trails are available for those who want to explore the park's natural beauty. Additionally, the park is an excellent spot for stargazing.

Tom Price

Mt Nameless in Tom Price
Mt Nameless in Tom PriceDepositphotos

Named after Thomas Moore Price, the vice-president of the giant United States steel company Kaiser Steel, Tom Price of the Pilbara is a town renowned as the highest town above sea level in Western Australia and serves as a key hub for the mining industry in the region, particularly for iron ore extraction.

Travellers can visit the most prominent feature of Tom Price, the peak known as Mount Nameless, also known as Jurndamurneh to the local Aboriginal people. Jurndamurneh translates to "wallabies live near here." Its summit is accessed along a four-wheel drive track, and it is also possible to hike to the summit for amazing views of the local landscapes. You can also picnic near Kings Lake, a popular recreational area located in natural bush settings with barbeques and gazebos.

Marble Bar

A highway in Marble Bar
A highway in Marble BarDepositphotos

Marble Bar is a town with a rich history located in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. It is known for being one of the hottest towns in the country and holds several temperature records, earning it the nickname "the hottest town in Australia". Despite its extreme climate, Marble Bar boasts of unique attractions that attract visitors from around the world.

Travellers at Marble Bar can visit the Ironclad Hotel, a historic pub known for its thick stone walls that provide insulation against extreme heat. You can also check out the Marble Bar Pool and the Strelley Pool, surrounded by red cliffs and native vegetation. Marble Bar is also home to the Comet Gold Mine and the Corunna Downs Airbase which was one of the best kept secrets of World War 2.

Getting There

To reach the Pilbara, start by flying to Perth, the capital of Western Australia, with its major international airport. From Perth, you can take a domestic flight to Pilbara's airports like Karratha, Port Hedland, or Newman. Alternatively, embark on a scenic road trip from Perth, which can take several hours to a day, providing an opportunity to experience Western Australia's vast landscapes. The Indian Pacific train, running from Sydney to Perth, also passes through the Pilbara.

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