Follow in Pete, Robin, Marnie and Clinton's footsteps. This is the route we took to capture our Epic Pilbara People on film showcasing the highlights of the region. We flew in to Paraburdoo Airport stayed overnight in Tom Price and hired a car to begin our roadtrip. We did the trip in six days, but recommend you take your time to relax and explore all that the Pilbara has to offer.
At 747 metres, Tom Price is the highest town in Western Australia this township is a great place to stop and the wonders of Karijni National Park are just 60 minutes away. The town offers a caravan park and hotel/motel as accommodation options.
View from Mt Nameless
Take a drive or walk to the top of Mt Nameless, known as Jarndunmunha to local Aboriginal people, for stunning views. The peak stands 1128 metres above sea level. Visit King’s Lake for a barbeque or picnic or check out the massive Rio Tinto Iron Ore Mine on an organised tour.
Karijini National Park
The jewel of the Pilbara, Karijini National Park is located approximately 80 kilometres from Tom Price. Travellers can access the park from Port Hedland, Karratha, Tom Price, or Newman via sealed and unsealed roads. Please note the section of private road between Millstream Chichester Park and Tom Price requires a permit which can be obtained from the Visitor Centres located in Tom Price, Karratha and Roebourne.
Entry into Karijini Eco Retreat via Bunjima Drive (West) is sealed, barring the 3km access road to the Retreat. Entry via the Visitor Centre is an unsealed road, (gravel) and although this road is graded regularly it is recommend AWD/4WD vehicles to be used.
Camping is available in Dales Campground, which is accessible via a sealed road. All sites in Karijini are suitable for caravan, tent, bus and camper trailers, and are unpowered however there are generator sites. It’s not possible to book ahead, so in peak season (June-August) it’s recommended you arrive early to avoid disappointment. During peak season there are camp hosts on site and toilets and gas barbecues provided.
Karijini Eco Retreat has unpowered campsites at the Savannah campground, dorm style eco tents, dorm eco cabins and deluxe eco tents with ensuites and take bookings.
Make sure you drop into the Karijini Visitor Centre. Not only can the staff assist you in providing maps of walk trails, the fascinating interactive display in the centre tells stories of culture, geology and the animals and plant life of Karijini.
You can take one of the many walk trails to explore the gorges further. Karijini is teeming with wildlife including red kangaroos, rock wallabies, echidnas, dingoes, bats and the rare pebble mouse.
Explore the Gorges of Karijini National Park
Karijini highlights include Fortescue Falls, Circular Pool and Fern Pool in Dales Gorge. The junction of four mighty gorges – Red, Weano, Joffre and Hancock Gorges can be viewed from Oxers Lookout. Whether it’s a light walk or a vigorous hike you’re seeking, you won’t be disappointed by your Karijini adventure. Find out more here.
More information on Karijini National Park here.
Keep an eye out for Pete from the Epic Pilbara video. Pete runs The Flying Sandgroper Adventure Tours & Travel which explores the natural beauty of Karijini National Park and the Pilbara.
Cheela Plains Station
Having left Karijini National Park, Cheela Plains is 40kms west of the Tom Price/Paraburdoo T-Junction. The Station Stay turnoff is on the south (left) side of the road before crossing the Beasley River Bridge. Follow the gravel road approximately 2km over the hill to your destination.
Cheela Plains is a family owned cattle station offers single and double rooms as well as powered and unpowered campsites. They can accommodate any vehicle from large caravans to tents and everything in-between. Tired of camp cooking? Book a home cooked meal with the station staff and enjoy in the station’s dining room.
Robin and her family run the cattle station, accommodation and tours.
Once settled in don’t forget to take the short walk trail to the top of the hill to take in 360 degree views of the surrounding landscape. This location is perfect for a few sunset drinks as the sun casts its rosy glow on unhindered vistas of the plains. Up early? Take a gentle stroll up the hill and watch the sunrise and enjoy the morning light with views as far as the eye can see.
Enjoy a sunset at Cheela Plains Station
Chat to the welcoming Cheela Plains staff and if you are staying more than one night they can give you access to Mussel Pool and serene landscapes, perfect for a picnic.
Join a 4x4 full day tour and see Horseshoe Creek, explore the magnificent South Vivash and Beasley Gorges and take a dip at the refreshing Mussel Pool.
Keep a look out and you might run into Robin from the Epic Pilbara video as she goes about daily tasks at the station.
Refreshing waterholes on Cheela Plains Station
Farewell Cheela Plains Station and drive approximately 300km to Onslow along the Nanutarra Mujuma Road. Keep your eyes peeled for hundreds of yellow and green budgerigars, which can be seen flying along this route at certain times of year.
If you need to fuel up, stop at the Nanutarra Roadhouse just past the turn off for the North West Coastal Highway and then double back to the Highway and further down take a left on to Onslow Road.
When you arrive enjoy a meal at the hip Onslow Beach Club overlooking the water. The beach side township of Onslow is the perfect holiday stop-over and one of the few places where the sun rises and sets over water. You can stay overnight at the modern Onslow Beach Resort or camp or book a room at the Discovery Park Onslow.
The view from Onslow looking towards the Mackerel Islands
Discover the ruins of Old Onslow at the mouth of the river where historic buildings, including the gaol and courthouse, can still be seen. Take a dip in the town’s beaches. Or enjoy fishing and mud crabbing at Five Mile or Three Mile Pool. Gain an insight into Onslow’s history by visiting the Goods Shed Museum with its vast collection of old machinery, bottles and memorabilia. Stroll the Ian Blair Memorial Walkway starting at Bleadon Point or cast a line and try you luck at fishing at the Groyne or Four Mile Creek.
Of the 10 islands that make up the Mackerels group, two provide accommodation - Thevenard Island and Direction Island. Join a Mackerel Islands tour and explore this watery wonderland, or even rent an island all to yourself! The Mackerel Islands are a 45 minute boat ride of the Onslow coast and their casual ambiance provides an ideal escape for all holiday seekers. Enjoy incredible fishing, snorkelling and diving or relax on white sandy beaches, beachcomb for shells and enjoy picturesque sunsets.
Sunrise at Thevenard Island
Thevenard Island offers accommodation from beach front cabins to private rooms. Or if you want to place castaway you can hire Direction Island all to yourself and seven friends. Don’t have the time to stay? Enjoy a day trip to Thevenard Island and relax by the water’s edge.
Take a day trip to Thevenard Island
Take a return boat ride back to Onslow and drive 310km to Karratha.
More information on Mackerel Islands here.
You might see Marnie from the Epic Pilbara videos beachcombing on one of her regular trips back to the islands.
Karratha is a modern, bustling town and surrounded by many natural attractions. Off the coast you will find the 42 islands of the Dampier Archipelago,one of Western Australia’s best diving and snorkelling spots. The islands’ white sandy beaches and blue waters also make them an ideal location for swimming or just lazing the day away.
Sunset at Hearson Cove
Visit the sheltered bay of Hearson Cove for a relaxing barbecue or swim and walk at low tide on the sand flats. Karratha is also the gateway to Millstream Chichester and Murujuga National Parks.
There is a range of accommodation from campsites to self-contained apartments and hotels in Karratha.
More information on Karratha here.
Burrup Peninsula in Murujuga National Park.
Murujuga National Park covers more than 4900 hectares of the Burrup Peninsula. Internationally renowned, the Burrup Peninsula’s rugged ‘outdoor gallery’ showcases what is thought to be the highest concentration of rock engravings of any known site in the world.
From human figures and birds, to marine life and extinct creatures the engravings provides
an insight into an ancient world.
The heritage listed rock art has special meaning for Aboriginal people and its traditional custodians the Ngarluma-Yindjibarndi, the Yaburara-Mardudhunera and the Woon-goo-tt-oo. This national park lies north and east of Withnell Bay and is home to pristine beaches and unique rock formations.
Deep Gorge has many accessible examples of rock engravings and is around 27km from Karratha.
More information on Burrup Penisula here.
You can meet Clinton from the Epic Pilbara videos by booking a Ngurrangga Tour from Karratha. Experience rock art and the beauty of Millstream Chichester National Park.
Millstream Chichester National Park
Rolling hills, spectacular escarpments and winding tree-lined watercourses make up the 200,000 hectare Millstream Chichester National Park. The park boasts tranquil gorges and hidden rock pools, like Python Pool which holds fresh water year round. Further into the park, the Fortescue River creates deep pools like Deep Reach, whilst fresh water springs create tropical areas like Jirndawurrunha Pool.
The scenery is diverse as it is beautiful in Millstream Chichester National Park
The Millstream Visitor Centre is approximately 140km southeast of Karratha. Access into the park is via the Millstream Link - a sealed then unsealed road or via unsealed road from Roebourne. The Old Millstream Homestead now serves as the park’s visitor centre. The centre provides self-guided insight into the pastoral history of the area.
Python Pool, a popular swimming hole in Millstream Chichester National Park
There are no services in the park apart from basic camping facilities, so if you are planning to spend extended time within the park make sure you have adequate supplies.
More information on Millstream Chichester National Park here.
Do I need a park pass?
Visitor fees apply to some national parks and many are managed by Park Rangers. If you intend visiting a number of parks or travelling for an extended period you may consider purchasing a Holiday Park Pass or an Annual All Parks Pass from www.dpaw.wa.gov.au
Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPaW)
Karratha Office (08) 9182 2000
Karijini National Park (08) 9189 8147
Karijini Visitor Centre (08) 9189 8121
Millstream Chichester National Park (08) 9184 5144
This is where our Epic Pilbara journey ended and was just a small slice of what this region has to offer. For more drive adventures click here. See below for information on tours and accommodation throughout the Pilbara.