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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!


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