Karratha’s unsung surroundings offers a chance to discover the sprawling Pilbara region with all the modern conveniences close by. A town developed on the back of a strong resources industry, some 1,550kms north of Perth, might not be the regular tourism destination, however the town does present an opportunity to venture to less journeyed places where you might find yourself with a slice of the Pilbara all to yourself. I’m sharing with you all, in this post a few outdoor activities and sites in and around Karratha. Hope you enjoy and let me know, what have we missed!
Winter is an optimal time to visit the area, not a traditional winter season, the most miserable day you could experience during winter is the disappearance of the sun for a few hours and a fresh cool morning of 10 degrees in temperature. That’s it! The majority of rainfall in Karratha occurs during summer, leaving the winter months of May to October wide open for exploring.
Experiences in Karratha – check these out!
Hit the cafes in town for a good cup of coffee and breakfast.
Check out the layout of Karratha without hiking, by driving up to TV antenna look out or the visitor centre look out.
Of course, hiking is fun. Walk rocky, steep trails through the spinifex dotted hills along Dampier Road. The Yaburara Heritage Trail is a walking specific trail with a number of entry points and 180 degrees of scenic views.
Drive remotely and experience red dirt roads found inland from Karratha to Millstream Chichester National Park. Head the Warlu Way to Millstream and either turn off towards Python Pool or continue towards the day area of the park.
Discover a different landscape of expansive open plains of spinifex and absolute quietness.
Go hiking on red rock trails in Millstream Chichester National Park.
Hike to the top of Mount Herbert for the sensational Pilbara wild west view. There is 238,497 hectares of stunning landscape in this national park, made up of hills, gorges, watercourses and wetlands.
Have a picnic in the outback at Python Pool.
Slip into the fresh water at Python Pool for a swim surrounded by ancient rocks and Australian bush.
Spot a bird of prey like this Brahminy Kite, in town you might see one circling high above the road.
Visit the seaside town of Dampier set amongst rocks and quite different in appearance to Karratha. Take a photo at Red Dog Memorial. Drive to William Dampier Look out for views across the harbour towards the Dampier Archipelago.
Find the Red Dog statute and learn about the story of Dampier’s most popular local, the people’s dog! Watch the Red Dog Movie. Have a drink at Dampier Mermaid Hotel.
Picnic on the green lawn at Dampier foreshore or try stand up paddle boarding in the nearby waters.
Find harsh beauty in the curious landscape at Murujuga National Park on the Burrup Peninsula.
Find many unusual looking birds, flying around, in the neighbourhood or in the Karratha Hills. Find shore birds along the coastline at Back Beach or Hearson’s Cove.
On the Burrup Peninsula, see the natural rock pile hills that soar to the sky.
Join the local mountain bike club on a social race and work up an appetite for sausage buns and beer afterwards. Ladies, there is an active ladies group in the area who are very welcoming and supportive – a great chance to learn to ride a mountain bike.
Chill by the water in Dampier
Watch the red or Euro kangaroo bounce from one rock to the next. If you are lucky to spot one!
Visit the historical settlement of Cossack and wander through the heritage buildings, see the mangrove waterfront, hike the 6km heritage trail or go for a swim at Settlers beach. Check out the Cossack Art Awards.
Find good old fashioned carnival fun at the yearly FeNaCLING Festival in Karratha. More importantly head to the food lane!
Walk Hearson’s Cove at low tide, exploring the tidal flats.
Tread different ground during low tide and spot travelling shore birds. Watch the feet!
Swim at Hearson’s Cove during high tide
Nature based camping at Cleverville Beach, walk the shoreline finding washed up coral gardens and sea creatures.
With a good pair of bike lights, embark on an evening mountain bike ride on the Karratha mtb trails. Cycle back into town for a meal and drink. Try the Dr Baynton 6 hour bike race that runs into the evening.
See the stunning local wildflowers, especially Pilbara’s famed, Sturt Desert Pea pictured below.
Head to Hearson’s Cove, Karratha hills or any of the look outs in town for the magical daily 360 degree sunset show.
Cycle into town or to the Leisureplex for a swim.
Chill out at one of the local parks, try the pump tracks and finish off with a BBQ. All parks cater for bike/scooter riding kids!
Take a drive around the Burrup passing some of the state’s biggest industry. It’s epic to see the contribution of Pilbara’s resource industry. The North West Shelf project produces the state’s domestic gas.
Just outside of Karratha or on the way to Dampier, watch the iron ore train track along, 24 hours a day, carting iron ore from the mines to the port for export. Over 1,000 kilometres of rail track built by Rio Tinto.
Walk through Deep Gorge in Murujuga National Park, a culturally significant area for petroglyphs (rock art) by the local aboriginal people.
Find textures and details in the Pilbara terrain that you might not encounter back at home.
Drive to Wickham and stand next to the gigantic mining truck.
Hit the road on two wheels for a remote bike ride, following Warlu way, close to the train line to the border of Millstream Chichester National Park. Build up some Pilbara resilience!
Glow in the dark Mini Golf at the Leisureplex
Dampier beachside markets
Cracka Tinny Boat hire and visit Sam’s Island
Stand up paddle board in Dampier or Hearson’s Cove
Swim and snorkel at Point Samson with lunch and drinks at the tavern
Miaree Pool, 30km south of Karratha
Dampier Salt Lookout
Food and Drinks
New Wave Catering, a lunch bar in the Karratha light industrial area bake their own bread, sausage rolls and jam donuts. Open early mornings with takeaway coffee available
Coffee can be found at Bushlolly Cafe, Vita Cafe, Empire 6714, Outback Travel Centre, Soul Cafe, Fiorita Deli, The Ranges, Cherrattta Lodge, New Wave Catering.
The ribs at the Blanche Bar and watch their Facebook page for special nights
Vita Cafe do a good breakfast, fantastic long black coffee, delicious Thai lunch and dinner – oh and ribs!
Karratha International do Friday nights by the pool
Ibis Styles have themed dinner nights
Empire 6714 for gluten free treats
Healthier options at Sumo Salad in front of Woolworths in the shopping centre
Not so healthy, KFC Karratha could be the best one in the state and MacDonalds do delivery
The mining camp kitchen at Cherratta lodge do good value takeaway pizzas
The Northwest mobile Butcher visits once a month and the Italian sausages are tasty
Fresco Produce Northwest deliver seasonal fruit and vegetable boxes, direct from growers in the south of Western Australia
Keep an eye out at Dreamers hill for travelling food trucks
For a spot to drink head to Blanche Bar or The Brey
Alfresco dining at Point Samson Tavern
Further a field
With more time, why not check out Exmouth, Mackerel Islands, Karijini National Park or Broome!