The Pilbara

The Pilbara region in Western Australia has some of the world’s most ancient natural landscapes, dating back two billion years and stretching over 500,000 square kilometres. 

Deep rocky canyons lead to peaceful plunge pools in the beautiful Karijini National Park. Hundreds of islands with dazzling white beaches and untouched coral gardens are yours to explore on the Dampier Archipelago and Mackerel Islands. And yet the Pilbara is also known as the engine room of Australia - home to a massive mining industry in crude oil, salt, natural gas and iron ore. 

Karijini National Park and Beyond

Walk the mighty gorges of Karijini National Park and Millstream Chichester National Park to discover hidden waterfalls and swim in clear cool rock pools. Or venture deep into the Eastern Pilbara to one of the most remote places on the planet, Rudall River National Park.

The Pilbara’s Coastal Paradise

The Dampier Archipelago and Mackerel Islands sit just off the coast of the Pilbara region, offering world-class boating, fishing, diving and snorkelling. And should you visit in turtle nesting season, between September and April, watch out for female turtles laying their eggs and newly hatched babies scrambling to the ocean. Pristine beaches, beautiful coral gardens and abundant fish beckon you to Point Samson. There is another event on Mother Nature’s calendar that you can experience year-round - the incredible Staircase to the Moon occurs on full moon dates between March and October along the Pilbara coast.

Amazing Indigenous Art and Culture

With over 700 historic Indigenous archaeological sites and 10,000 rock engravings (Petroglyphs), many dating back some 30,000 years, the Burrup Peninsula is now heritage listed. It’s the perfect place to discover the unique art, history and culture of the Indigenous peoples of the Pilbara.

Pilbara Towns and Colonial Past

Karratha is the gateway to the Pilbara region in Western Australia. The pretty port town of Dampier sits just 20 kilometres to the west and the mining town of Port Hedland to the east.. Proclaimed in 1866, Roebourne is the oldest settlement in the North West.Visit the heritage listed Old Roebourne Gaol, now home to a historical museum. Cossack is a ghost town and has many beautifully restored historical buildings which offer an insight to the hardships and successes of the first settlers. Travel inland and you’ll experience the unique communities of the rugged outback, from Tom Price, the highest town in Western Australia, to Marble Bar, the hottest town in the country.

Pilbara Map

View a detailed Pilbara map and start planning your trip.

Couple in mulla mulla wildflowers near Mount Bruce
Couple standing in a field of mulla mulla wildflowers near Mount Bruce

 
 
 

Tom Price is Top Town!

by Jo Durbridge | Jul 06, 2015

 

I recently visited the inland Pilbara for the Karijini Experience,  a three day event held in the stunning Karijini National Park.

Travelling from Perth I took a 70 minute Qantas flight to Paraburdoo, whereby I collected a four wheel drive from Avis and set off on a 70 km journey to Tom Price.  It was early morning and I felt like I was driving through a painting with the Hamersley Ranges in the distance.

Road to Karijini

Tom Price was constructed in 1965 after a iron ore deposit was made on Mt Tom Price in 1962.  From the original 250 houses the town has grown to 1600 homes and has a population of 5000.

I easily found the Tom Price Visitor Centre and the friendly staff told me that I was all booked in for the Lestock Rio Tinto Iron Ore Mine Tour.  I collected my hard hat and safety glasses and was welcomed on board the bus.  At only $A30 this tour is great value.    

Tom Price Visitor Centre

You can book the Lestock Rio Tinto Mine Tour through the Tom Price Visitor Centre.

The tour guide ensured we were aware of the safety precautions and with that we headed out to one of the largest open cut iron ore mines in the world!  Over the next hour-and-and-a half our guide reeled off a huge amount of facts about Tom Price and the mine, and delivered them all in an entertaining way.

Iron Ore Mine Tom Price Pilbara

The mine is now producing approximately 360 million tonnes of iron ore per annum.
 

You don’t realise until you see a mine worker dwarfed by the massive tyres of a haulpack how enormous the machinery is within the Rio Tinto Mine. These massive dump trucks have a carrying capacity of 240 tonne! It’s like giant Tonka toys have come to life!

Haul pack, Rio Tinto Iron Ore Mine,Tom Price

It might not look it in the photo but this haulpack is huge and has a carrying capacity of 240 tonne!

Back in Tom Price I noticed lots of white corellas which I thought were very pretty, but discovered these birds are very destructive!   I was told by a local that these ‘vandals’  pecked through their clothesline and pulled out and chewed their reticulation to bits!

Corella at Tom Price in the Pilbara

I discovered the white corellas of Tom Price are very naughty birds!

I also discovered altitude wise Tom Price is the highest town in WA and sits at an altitude of 747m.  Locals like to refer to it as the ’top town in WA’ and I have to say they ensured I had a top time during my brief visit!

Next stop Karijini National Park!

 _______________________________________

Also in this section