THE WARLU WAY PILBARA COASTAL ROUTE
NASA SAYS IT'S JUST LIKE MARS...
WE SAY YEAH, BUT WITH PADDLE BOARDS.
SUN WHITENED BEACHES.
AQUA BLUE WATERS.
EVERY WAY LEADS TO AN EXPERIENCE.
You won’t find beaches, crystal aqua seas and marine life on Mars that’s for sure. What you’ll experience along the Warlu Way’s Coastal Route and offshore, will simply leave you breathless. We’ve put together 17 ideas to experience during your road trip.
THE WARLU COASTAL WAY COVERS THE STUNNING PRISTINE COASTLINE FROM ONSLOW, KARRATHA, DAMPIER ARCHIPELAGO, PORT HEDLAND AND CAPE KERAUDREN COASTAL RESERVE.
COASTAL THINGS YOU MUST DO.
1. HAVE A BEACH DAY OR FIVE.
Find a spot all to yourself, have a picnic, swim and paddleboard in crystal clear waters where you might even see turtles gliding past.
2. ESCAPE OFFSHORE TO THE MACKEREL ISLANDS.
Get up close and personal with sea turtles, dolphins and snorkel among colourful fish and stingrays. Love fishing? Reel in the catch of your life or simply chill soaking up the serenity of the sea.
3. HAVE ISLAND SLEEP OVER STAYS.
Choose a stay on Mackerel Islands, Thevenard Island and Direction Island. Take your pick of beach front cabins and club accommodation. Or have the ultimate wilderness escape, renting your own island with a sole beach shack. How cool would that be?
4. VISIT CAPE KERAUDREN RESERVE.
Insta yourself at the start of the famous Eighty Mile Beach. You can also enjoy nature-based camping and fishing in an incredible spot.
5. VISIT A WORLD-FAMOUS ANCIENT ART GALLERY.
The highest concentration of petroglyphs rock engravings of any known site in the world is is located within the Murujuga National Park on the Burrup Peninsula. With Aboriginal people living there for more than 50,000 years the engravings (petroglyphs) have been estimated to be as old as 40,000 years. The petroglyphs are diverse, depicting a record of human figures and birds, to marine life and extinct creatures, the art provides an insight into an ancient world.
6.HAVE SOME NATURE MEET-UPS.
The Burrup Peninsula has 30% of all the plants and animals that live in the Pilbara. You’ll see the northern quoll, Rothschild’s rock-wallaby, echidnas, common rock rat and the petitely named delicate mouse. Shady valleys contain temporary pools, and provide interesting wildlife homes such as for the Pilbara olive python who live amongst the rocks.
7. GO FISHING, DIVING AND SNORKELLING OFFSHORE.
Head out to the Montebello Islands Marine Park. It covers an eye-watering more than 58,000 hectares of ocean and has over 250 low-lying limestone islands and islets. Its coral reefs, colourful tropical fish, wildlife and maritime heritage are a paradise for fishers, snorkellers and divers. FYI, trips to the islands depart from Dampier.
8. CAST A LINE ALONG THE COAST.
The fish are always biting along the Warlu Way coastal route. A popular spot is Point Sampson. Take your pick from John’s Creek Harbour, Sam’s Creek inlet and the causeway along the Roebourne/Point Samson Road. Point Samson Reef area is a popular offshore fishing spot – however, just be mindful to take note of the reef-protection zones.
9. BE A DAMPIER ARCHIPELAGO NATURE EXPLORER.
With 42 islands and islets in the Dampier Archipelago to explore, the chances of you running into another person are minimal, giving you the opportunity to unwind and discover the coast’s untamed wilderness.The archipelago is a haven of coral reefs, sponge gardens and more than 650 species of fish. It’s also home to green, hawksbill, and flatback turtles, that nest on its beaches. Dugongs, whales and dolphins can also been spotted too. Island wildlife includes wader birds and wallabies.
10. DO A DAMPIER ARCHIPELAGO DAY TRIP.
Take a day trip to enjoy a tour, dive and snorkel or just while away the hours on your boat amongst the islands, of which 25 are nature reserves. Many of the islands are perfect for day trips. While there are no facilities, camping is permitted on some of the islands such as Enderby, Eaglehawk, Dolphin and Gidley Island. Here’s an awesome experience – take Helispirit’s Ultimate Islands Flight + Beach Landing tour. You’ll fly over the archipelago and also enjoy an island picnic!
11. GRAB A LOCAL CRAFT HOLIDAY BREW. OR TWO.
Enjoy some locally brewed craft beer and delicious food at Karratha’s only craft brewery, North West Brewing Co. It’s a local institution. Chill out with a brew like their North West Draught, Sundowner Amber Ale or High Tide Pale. They also have regular live music and special events like bottomless taco nights. And to prove they know their food, the team have again won regional WA’s best steak sandwich (sambo, sanga), second year in a row! That’s the winning beauty in the photo in the left corner below – yummo!
12. MAKE KARRATHA YOUR HOLIDAY HOME BASE.
Karratha is the perfect holiday base for day trips. From there, the ancient Aboriginal rock engravings on the Burrup Peninsula, the picturesque Hearson’s Cove beach and Dampier are all within a 30-40 minute drive. Just a 30 minutes drive is Cleaverville Creek, a fab fishing and camping spot. And the oasis of Millstream-Chichester National Park is a comfortable two hour drive from the town. You can also explore the historic town of Roebourne. Karratha has a cool food and drink scene to unwind once you’re back in town.
13. DIG UP OLD STORIES IN ONSLOW.
Did you know Onslow is one of the few places where the sun rises and sets over water on mainland Australia? It’s also the gateway to the Mackerel Islands. Unearth its fascinating history wandering through the remains of ‘Old Onslow’ such as the police station, cemetery and old jetty. It’s a great place to see the mighty Ashburton River. As you drive into town, take a look at the salt evaporation ponds which cover 87 square kilometres!
14. SEE DAMPIER'S RED DOG MEMORIAL AND MORE.
Here’s a true Pilbara icon that you must experience. Dampier is home to the ‘Red Dog’ memorial. He became a Pilbara legend for his series of owners and travelling on his own throughout the region, making mates along his many journeys. His memorial is on the way into town, and you can follow the Red Dog Trail to discover more about the North West’s favourite canine and his remarkable story. Fun fact – Dampier is the largest tonnage shipping port in Australia and houses the massive export facilities of Hamersley Iron, Dampier Salt and the North West Gas Shelf Project. Dampier is also the departure point for day cruises to the spectacular Dampier Archipelago. Take a day to explore Murujuga National Park, home to fascinating rock art.
15. SEE PORT HEDLAND'S BIG AND COOL SIGHTS.
If you love big things, then switch to panoramic camera settings. Port Hedland is famous for its massive resource industry, long trains, big ships and giant salt piles. The mountains of bright white crystal salt make stunning sunset insta pics. And you can even join the Salt Eco Tour. Port Hedland is also rich in Indigenous culture, pioneering history and wildlife. It’s a great spot for fishing and crabbing, whale watching and turtle nesting too.
16. WALK PORT HEDLAND'S WEST END HISTORY AND STREE ART TRAILS.
If you prefer to discover Port Hedland at your own pace, you can pick up a copy of the Cultural and Heritage Trail self-guided tour. It takes you around the West End’s historic sites and buildings, telling you the story of the early Port Hedland days and the characters which helped build the town into what it is today. You’ll also discover a cool and contemporary street art scene too.
17. BE AWED WITH SUNSETS OF COLOUR CONTRASTS.
The sunsets in Port Hedland are really something else. For the best views, and also the most iconic sunset photos, head to Redbank Bridge. From one side, you can see the sun set behind the salt piles, with trains snaking past. The oranges, pinks and purples will reflect off the salt pools. On the flip side, you’ll have a frame of the sun setting behind the red ore trains, giving you a unique memorable contrast between nature and industry that will take your breath away. What’s more, you can also catch the famous ‘Staircase to the Moon’ from May to October.