Visit the Pilbara

With over 700 historic Aboriginal archaeological sites and more than 1,000,000 rock engravings (Petroglyphs), some  dating back more than 30,000 years, the northern Burrup Peninsula, Murujuga National Park (on the UNESCO World Heritage tentative list), is the perfect place to discover deep-time and recent history,  ancient but still living culture and the unique art of the Aboriginal people of the Pilbara.

Off the coast many of the 42 islands of the Dampier Archipelago contain more of the Aboriginal and early European history along with  dazzling white beaches and untouched coral gardens to explore from the archipelago to the Mackerel Islands off Onslow.

Karratha is the central service town for this area, a modern well-serviced city. Dampier, on the doorstep of Murujuga, offers coastal vibes and fishing, as does Point Samson. More of the Pilbara's colonial past together with Aboriginal art studios are available to you in Roebourne, the oldest settlement in the North West and Cossack, now a ghost town that offers eco camping and once a year the fabulous Cossack Art Awards but always something to see and do. There are many beautifully restored historical buildings that offer insight into the hardships and successes of the first settlers and the endurance of Aboriginal people. There is a perfectly positioned lookout to Jarman Island’s lighthouse built in 1888 and the long white sand and sparkling blue ocean that is Settlers Beach one of two truly great ‘Stairway to the Moon’ viewing locations (the other is Hearson Cove).

Heading inland, the second national park, the Millstream-Chichester is a stunning site in the dry landscape as the mighty Fortescue River aquifer emerges briefly in a series of stunning, sacred waterways. From early Aboriginal use to colonial times this has been and remains an iconic and special place.

Further into the heart of the Pilbara, the deep rocky canyons of the beautiful Karijini National Park lead to peaceful plunge pools. A hardy adventurer’s playground of trails and climbs here and on the state’s tallest mountains, ‘The Big Four’, for the seasoned climber's exploration. Unique communities of the rugged outback, Tom Price, the highest town above sea level in Western Australia, is nearby and further on the road inland is Newman, with Marble Bar, the hottest town in the country, and Nullagine both in gold country, a prospector's haven.

Continue inland to Western Australia’s largest national park, Karlamilyi (Rudall River) for true Australian outback, desert tracks lead north south and east, only to be undertaken by the experienced and well-prepared traveller.

The southern Pilbara hosts other mine-related towns and Onslow, an early pastoral settlement and fishing village, now a delight to tourists for its many largely secret wonders awaiting exploration including ‘Old Onslow’, the Ashburton river, the Disney Cartoon Tank and of course the fishing and water playground of Mackerel Islands.

To the north of the Pilbara is the largest tonnage bulk export port, part of the Town of Port Hedland, an awe-inspiring place to get up close and personal with the industry which has been powering the state and nation with ever-increasing importance since the 1960s, iron ore. The Pilbara is known as the engine room of Australia - home to other massive mining industry players including crude oil, salt, natural gas and emerging industries in lithium mining and green energy production. Wherever you are in the Pilbara, industry will be near, from record-breaking long trains carting ore from mine to port on privately owned railways, large bulk trucks on the roads (please take care) and the large ports of Hedland and Dampier.

An incredible juxtaposition of two very different worlds, the science and technology of the modern alongside nature and world’s oldest practicing culture.

No matter where you roam in the Pilbara, you will be surprised and delighted with the treasures it holds.

The Warlu Way

The Warlu Way is the region’s drive trail which follows the path of the Warlu, or Dreamtime sea serpent. It traverses North West Australia from Murujuga, home of many of the most important cultural stories of Aboriginal culture, throughout the Pilbara and on to both the Kimberley and Gascoyne regions of Western Australia – ancient and sacred landscapes rich in natural beauty and enchanting Aboriginal stories. Your journey takes you back in time to the mystical Dreaming era when the Warlu travelled through the pulsing red heart of the outback, forming magnificent waterways as he moved.

In 2021 the Pilbara Tourism Association developed the Warlu Way App, providing self-drive tourists with four routes between Exmouth and Broome, taking in the Pilbara's major tourism attractions on sealed and unsealed roads.

The project to develop the app received $90,182 from the McGowan Government via a Regional Economic Development Grant, with additional support provided by Rio Tinto, the Shires of East Pilbara and Ashburton and the Town of Port Hedland.

The app can be accessed through the website and downloaded from the Apple App store for iPhone or Google store for Android phones.

There are many travel deals on offer by various providers throughout the Pilbara. The Visitor Centres below can assist you with what's on offer within their regions.

Karratha Tourism & Visitor Centre

Address: De Witt Road (formerly Karratha Road), Karratha
Phone: (08) 9186 8055

Onslow Tourist Centre

Address: Onslow Tourist Ctr,  Second Ave, Onslow WA 6710
Phone: +61 8 9184 6644

Newman Visitor Centre

Address: Fortescue Ave &, Newman Dr, Newman WA 6753
Phone: (08) 9175 2888

Port Hedland Visitor Centre

Address: 13 Wedge St, Port Hedland WA 6721
Phone: (08) 9173 1711

Tom Price Visitor Centre

Address: 1 Central Rd, Tom Price WA 6751
Ph:(08) 9188 5488

Marble Bar Museum and Visitor Centre

Lot 190 McLeod Cl
Marble Bar WA 6760
Ph: (08) 9176 1008