Port Hedland is the second-largest town in the Pilbara region, just over 600 kilometres north of Broome. Established in 1896 on rugged Kariyarra country, this relaxed town is home to people of diverse cultural backgrounds and has a rich Aboriginal history and culture. The local Kariyarra people call it Marapikurrinya referring to the hand-shaped formation of the tidal creeks coming off the harbour.
Port Hedland tours take you through this dynamic town, past massive salt hills, its long iron-ore train and the largest bulk export port in the Southern Hemisphere. A Cultural and Heritage Trail in town maps out the history of European settlement, or you can visit numerous museums and galleries, or meet local Aboriginal artists as they share their ancient culture through art.
The 16,000 residents of Port Hedland are condensed in the town’s residential areas and scattered throughout surrounding pastoral stations and Aboriginal communities. It’s a friendly melting pot of cultures, backgrounds and diversity which is evident in its vibrancy and community spirit.
It was in the mid-twentieth century that rich iron ore deposits were discovered in the Pilbara highlands and in the years that followed Port Hedland underwent major infrastructure expansion to enable the port to the point where it now handles over 100 million tonnes of product a year – mostly iron ore, salt, manganese, other minerals as well as livestock - with a value of over $3 billion.
Port Hedland is a great little family town and being close to the water, is the perfect place for seaside recreation such as fishing, crabbing and whale watching (in season).
Another spectacular sight at Port Hedland is the famous ‘Staircase to the Moon.’ This natural visual phenomenon only happens on the full moon between March and October. At low tide, the moon shines on the exposed mudflats, creating the optical illusion of a golden staircase climbing up to the moon. The best place to see the staircase to the moon is next to Cooke Point Caravan Park.
Enjoy a fascinating Port Hedland tour on a fabulously fun Western Australian holiday.
In the Pilbara region, there are over 31 Aboriginal language groups. Kariyarra country of Port Hedland is located close to many culturally and historically significant areas such as Dampier Archipelago, the Hamersley Ranges and Burrup Peninsula where over 40,000 Aboriginal petroglyphs (rock engravings) have been discovered. The local Kariyarra and surrounding culture and language groups maintain a strong connection with their land, cultural beliefs and practices.
If you happen to be in Port Hedland during the winter months, particularly from June to September, there is a chance of seeing humpback whales as they migrate along the coast. They typically pass through the region as they travel to the warmer waters of the Kimberley and beyond.
If you visit Port Hedland between October and January, you might be fortunate to watch the nesting of the endangered flatback turtles as the females lay their eggs. In December and March, watch the hatchlings as they crack through their shells and head down the beach to their new ocean home.
Our team is always happy to help if you have any questions about us or our tours. Fill out our form and we will get back to you soon.