If time is no barrier this Ultimate Pilbara Road Trip will take you to see everything the region has to offer!
The Ultimate Pilbara Road Trip weaves its way through the entire Pilbara starting coastal in Onslow and finishing inland in Newman. Weave between the awe-inspiring national parks and world-class marine parks, and experience some of the world's most significant cultural landmarks along the way.
Some roads may need a permit before commencing your drive – check with the local visitor centre before embarking on your journey. This itinerary is intended as a guide only. If you are planning to travel by car please purchase a detailed map.
Your starting destination: Onslow
Begin your journey at Onslow which has the aptly-named Sunset Beach and Sunrise Beach. Stay overnight at the contemporary Onslow Beach Resort. Love fishing and diving? A day trip to the nearby Mackerel Islands will keep you amused or why not book island accommodation and stay for a few days.
1. Onslow to Tom Price
(approx. 5 hrs - fuel up at Tom Price!)
Travelling to Tom Price on the Nanutarra Road? Look out for Cheela Plains Station, a welcome stop with camping accommodation and tours of the surrounding landscape. Stop by Paraburdoo and admire the Resilience sculpture. Once in Tom Price tour the massive operations at Rio Tinto’s open-cut iron ore mine with Lestok Tours. Drive to the top of Mt Nameless Jarndunmunha for views of the Hamersley Ranges. Overnight it at the Tom Price Tourist Park.
2. Tom Price to Karijini National Park
(approx. 1.5 hrs - Fuel up at Tom Price if needed!)
Continue to Karijini National Park. Visit the Karijini Visitor Centre and its interpretative display to fully comprehend its geology, culture and wildlife. Walk the Dales Gorge trail, take a dip in the pools of Fern Pool, Fortescue Falls and Circular Pool. Prefer someone else to lead the way? Take a tour of the gorges with Lestok Tours from the Karijini Eco Retreat. Enjoy an overnight stay in the park at Karijini Eco Retreat, or camp at Dales Gorge campground.
Check out the stunning Kalamina Gorge to explore the waterfall upstream. Don’t miss the Joffre Falls lookout and Oxers Lookout the junction of Weano, Red, Hancock and Joffre Gorges. For the fit; descend to the bottom of Hancock Gorge or Weano Gorge and swim in freshwater pools.
3. Karijini to Millstream Chichester National Park
(approx. 8 hrs)
From Karijini to Millstream Chichester, journey along the unsealed road adjacent to the longest privately owned railway in the world. Obtain a permit to drive on this road from the Tom Price Visitor Centre. Alternatively, travel the Roebourne Wittenoom Road. Visit Millstream Homestead, which is now the park’s visitor centre. Enjoy a walk around Jirndawurrunha Pool and take in a sunset at Cliff Lookout. Before exiting the park, take a drive to the peak of Mount Herbert for views of the plain. Upon descent enjoy a swim at Python Pool. Camp in one of several designated areas within the park.
4. Millstream Chichester to Dampier Archipelago via Karratha
(approx. 3 hrs - Fuel up at Karratha!)
Travel to Dampier. If fishing is your passion then consider an extended fishing charter to the Montebello Islands by Apache Charters. Visiting from July to September? Keep your eyes peeled for migrating whales. You can also hire a boat and head out amongst the 42 islands to fish. Head to Karratha and dine in the city centre. Spoilt for choice accommodation wise, select from The Ranges, Econo Lodge Karratha, Ibis Styles, Discovery Parks Balmoral or Discovery Parks Pilbara Karratha.
Karratha is your gateway to Murujuga National Park, home to the highest concentration of rock art in the world with petroglyphs (rock art) created by the Yaburrara (Northern Ngarluma) people dating back to 40,000 years. Be mesmerised by the stories of the Dreamtime with Ngurrangga Tours led by Clinton Walker, a descendant of the Ngarluma and Yindjibarndi people, or join the traditional owners on a brief 1.5 hour Murujuga Rock Art Cultural Experience.
Head to Hearson's Cove for a beach sunset.
5. Karratha to Point Samson via Roebourne & Cossack
(approx. 1 hr)
Journey to Point Samson, stopping in at Roebourne. Discover the stories of Roebourne on the Heritage Trail. In Cossack wander around the beautifully restored buildings and enjoy the view from Reader Head Lookout. Arrive in Point Samson, where you can cast a line and enjoy a sunset drink overlooking the coast. The Cove Holiday Village offers campsites and accommodation.
6. Point Samson to Port Hedland
(approx. 2.25 hrs - Fuel up at Port Hedland!)
Travel to Port Hedland via the historic copper mining town of Whim Creek. Marvel at the massive salt piles that act as a gateway to the town. Tour BHP Billiton port facilities, follow the cultural and heritage trail and check out the museum and Court House Gallery. Visit the harbour, the closest vantage point in Australia to observe the massive ore-carriers and salt ships passing through. At certain times of the year turtles can be seen nesting on Cemetery Beach. The Esplanade Hotel, Discovery Parks Port Hedland and Ibis Styles Port Hedland offer accommodation.
7. Port Hedland to Eighty Mile Beach via Cape Keraudren
(approx. 1.75 hrs)
Driving north from Port Hedland there are a number of places to turn off to the coast and enjoy a few days of relaxed camping including Pardoo Station. Visit the Cape Keraudren Coastal Reserve. Eighty Mile Beach is a little further along the highway and has a caravan park with cabins, powered and unpowered sites.
8. Eighty Mile Beach to Marble Bar
(approx. 3 hrs - Fuel up at Marble Bar!)
Backtrack from Eighty Mile Beach and turn inland towards Marble Bar. Doolena Gorge offers a great spot to see the sunset cast a glow across the rock. See the ‘marble bar’ and seek out one of several waterholes in the area. Chinaman’s Pool and Marble Bar Pool are popular picnicking and swimming areas. There is a holiday park to park up the van or camp, and rooms at the local pub.
9. Marble Bar to Newman
(approx. 5 hrs)
Head back to the highway and make your way to Newman.If travelling in a four-wheel-drive, check road conditions and take the unsealed road from Marble Bar to Newman. Stop by the Newman Haul Pack for a photo opportunity and marvel at its epic scale. Visit the worlds largest open cut iron ore mine on an organised tour at BHP Billiton Mt Whaleback. Visit the Ophthalmia Dam, take a hike up Mt Newman for great views of the Opthalmia Ranges. Stay overnight at the Newman Visitor Centre Chalets or the Newman Hotel.
Approximate driving distances
These distances are intended as a guide only. If you are planning to travel by car please purchase a detailed map.
Onslow to Paraburdoo 393km
Paraburdoo to Tom Price 79km
Tom Price to Karijini Eco Retreat 81 km
Karijini Eco Retreat to Millstream Chichester National Park (via unsealed Roebourne Wittenoom Road) 300km
Millstream Chichester National Park to Karratha 142 km
Karratha to Roebourne 40km
Roebourne to Point Samson 21 km
Point Samson to Cossack 16km
Cossack to Port Hedland 213km
Port Hedland to Cape Keraudren 158km
Cape Keraudren to Marble Bar 263km
Marble Bar to Newman 308km
ADVENTURE IN THE PILBARA
Places to Stay