Karratha is an isolated city in the Pilbara region of Western Australia’s rugged Northwest Coast. Located 1,535 kilometres north of Perth and 240 kilometres south of Port Hedland, Karratha is on the traditional custodial land of the Ngarluma and Yindjibarndi people. It was named after a cattle station of the same name and in Ngarluma language, Karratha means ‘good country’ or ‘soft earth.’
Karratha evolved out of the enormous growth of the iron ore industry. In 1968, due to a shortage of land in nearby Dampier, Karratha became the new regional centre. Although Karratha has blossomed into a modern city, it remains surrounded by iconic natural attractions including stunning National Parks, Aboriginal rock engraving sites and the Dampier Archipelago with its abundant marine life.
Take an epic road trip like no other along Western Australia’s stunning and diverse coastline. From Broome’s iconic Cable Beach, through the mining hubs of Port Hedland and Karratha to eco cruises on pristine Ningaloo Reef and Monkey Mia. From Kalbarri National Park to the mysterious Pinnacles and onto Perth and intriguing Rottnest Island. WA is filled with adventure, come and see...
Karratha is the ideal base for exploring the spectacular natural wonders nearby. The city is separated from the ocean by tidal salt flats and mangroves and sits at the end of Nickol Bay. A hike up Water Tank Hill Lookout is rewarded with panoramic views of the Karratha and gives you a feel for its diverse geography.
Another intriguing place near Karratha is Hearson’s Cove and its famous ‘Staircase to the Moon.’ This visual phenomenon occurs on the full moon between April and October. At low tide, when the full moon reflects on the exposed mudflats, it creates the optical illusion of a golden staircase climbing up to the moon. It attracts locals, visitors, photographers, and those who just want to enjoy the magical view.
The 3.5 km Yaburara Aboriginal Heritage Walk Trail through the hills of Karratha highlights the area’s natural history and cultural heritage with scenic views and many Aboriginal sites. The trail was designed in consultation with Traditional Owners the Ngarluma people in honour of the Yaburara people and their legacy - the largest collection of Aboriginal rock engravings in the world.
The Yaburara people created more than 10,000 artworks throughout Murujuga, formerly known as Dampier Island, and now more commonly called the Burrup Peninsula in the Dampier Archipelago. Across the West Pilbara Coast region, more than 40,000 rock engravings (petroglyphs) can be found in Karratha, Millstream-Chichester National Park, and Deep Gorge as well as the Burrup Peninsula.
Discover all Karratha has to offer on one of our Western Australia holidays.
Karratha is a fascinating city that was established in 1968 to support the growing iron ore mining industry and in the 1980s, petroleum and liquefied natural gas operations.
Karratha has many beaches nearby, including Henderson Cove which is only a 15-minute drive from town. Depending on the tide, you can swim at most beaches. Otherwise, there are plenty of watering holes around the town to visit.
Off the coast of Karratha lies the Dampier Archipelago comprising forty-two islands and islets, home to an incredible diversity of marine life. It’s a beautiful area to explore by boat, plane, or helicopter. You can take a closer look at the fascinating underwater world on a snorkelling or diving day tour from Karratha.
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