THE EPIC PILBARA ROAD TRIP
DISCOVER THE REAL PILBARA ON THIS EPIC ROAD TRIP
The legendary road trip, takes you to the best of the region’s national parks, coastal islands and historic areas from 40,000-year-old Aboriginal rock art to a 150-year-old pioneer ghost town.
From Karijini to Karratha in a 4WD vehicle, this 10-day, 3-legged journey is best experienced from April to October. For the ultimate road trip coincide your timing with the incredible Karijini Experience festival which takes place each year.
This road trip is awesome holiday idea if you want to fly in – drive about – then fly out , taking with you a whole stack of legendary holiday memories. What’s more, it’s the ideal route to see the best of the best of the Pilbara in just 10 days.
Here’s our tip: Try to book accommodation and tours at least 6 weeks in advance to avoid any disappointment, as the best experiences will often book out fast!
Karijini National Park.
Cheela Plains Station to Mackerel Islands via Onslow.
Cheela Plains Station to Mackerel Islands via Onslow.
Onslow to Dampier via Karratha.
YOUR START DESTINATION - KARIJINI NATIONAL PARK
At Karijini National Park, you’ll love exploring its ancient landscapes and plunging gorges.
Paddle through crystal-clear waterways and swim under stunning waterfalls. Discover the most amazing scenery in this incognito paradise. To make the most of the experience, join a guided tour which will take you straight to the best of Karijini.
We suggest a minimum stay of 2 nights to make the most of all the park’s experiences.
Already on the road? Contact the Tom Price Visitor Centre for all you need to know, from directions to accommodation, attractions and specific Karijini gorge information too.
Paraburdoo is the closest airport. Qantas flights depart Perth to Paraburdoo every day, with car hire available from the airport.
Integrity Coach Lines offers a Hop-On-Hop-Off pass throughout the West Coast travelling north or south at affordable prices.
LEG ONE. KARIJINI TO CHEELA PLAINS STATION.
2 hour drive – Fuel up at Tom Price!
Enjoy canapes at sunset and a glass of bubbles or two, if you so desire, watching the sun give its golden hour of changing pastel shades at the lookout with a stunning 360-degree view of the surrounding ranges. After, enjoy a hearty home-cooked meal at Cheela Plains Station, where Evan and Robin invite you to be their guest on this working cattle station.
Be sure to discover Beasley River Gorge. You also need to call into into the famous Red Plains Café for coffee and its European inspired cakes or dinner, and spend some time gazing at the magic of the immense clarity galaxy of stars.
Cheela Plains Station Stay – Discover more
LEG TWO. CHEELA PLAINS STATION TO MACKEREL ISLANDS VIA ONSLOW.
3 hour drive – Fuel up at Onslow!
Onslow is a pretty coastal town, full of hidden gems and one of the few places in the country where you can witness both sunrise and sunset over water.
Pull up stumps here for the night and spend the afternoon exploring on the Old Onslow Heritage Trail. Try to time your stay in Onslow to coincide with the Staircase to the Moon which you can view from First Avenue.
Contact the Onslow Visitor Centre for some other tour options where you may just discover some local characters and other secrets too!
HEAD OUT TO MACKEREL ISLANDS.
Leave the car at Onslow and jump aboard the quick scenic flight or ferry transfer for a unique aquatic adventure in the Mackerel Islands.
The accommodation options there range from two and three bed beach cabins to an entire island to yourself!
Explore the Islands on a self-guided tour with a range of activities and equipment hire, or join one of the guided tours including fishing, scuba diving, kayaking or whale watching.
You’ll find it very hard to leave the simple island life there…and the food – wow, a real gastronomic surprise.
LEG THREE. ONSLOW TO DAMPIER VIA KARRATHA.
3 hours 15 mins.
Jump back in the car in Onslow and head north to Karratha, as it’s the perfect base to explore the natural beauty of its surrounds including ancient Aboriginal rock engravings on the Burrup Peninsula, the Dampier Archipelago and Millstream-Chichester National Park.
You’ll discover more waterholes, gorges and rock art than ever imaginable!
We suggest a minimum stay of 3 nights.
HEAD OUT TO THE DAMPIER ARCHIPELAGO.
A coastal wonderland comprising of 42 islands and islets off the coast of Dampier and Point Samson, discover the Dampier Archipelago via air or water.
With all those 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.
See the islands from above with HeliSpirit who’ll offer you a bird’s eye view in a helicopter scenic flight.
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.
SEE A 40,000 YEAR OLD ROCK ART GALLERY.
The Murujuga National Park has 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 the guides from Ngurrangga Tours.
WALK THE COSSACK HERITAGE TRAIL.
The original port of pearls before the luggers moved north to Broome in 1886, Cossack was an early hub for gold prospectors in the region, and a port for pastoralists in the Pilbara.
Following the opening of Point Samson jetty, the town was dissolved in 1910 and abandoned by 1950. The beautifully restored bluestone buildings in the ghost town of Cossack are testament to this small town’s huge importance in 1880’s and 1890’s and offer a fantastic insight to the hardships and successes of the first settlers.
EXPERIENCE MILLSTREAM CHICHESTER NATIONAL PARK.
Feel the stress dissipating in a landscape of rolling hills, escarpments, tree-lined rivers and water pools at Millstream Chichester National Park.
Covering an area of approximately 200,000 hectares around the Fortescue River – the heartland of the Yindjibarndi people – this lush oasis of deep gorges and palm-fringed rock pools provides a stark contrast to the surrounding landscape of rocky escarpments and rolling spinifex-covered hills.
ENJOY THE COASTAL HAVEN OF POINT SAMSON.
Some of Western Australia’s best beaches, coral gardens, fishing sports and restored heritage buildings can be found on the Point Samson Peninsula and its surrounding islands.
Point Samson is accessed via the Roebourne/Point Samson Road, off the North West Coastal Highway in Roebourne. A relaxed and picturesque coastal village famous for its fish and chips and delicious fresh seafood, we recommend you add a cheeky extra leg to your road trip and stay at The Cove Holiday Village and enjoy a day (or two) of fishing.