Karratha

Millstream-Chichester National Park, Australian Geographic

Population 11727

Karratha is the Aboriginal word for 'good country'. Founded in 1968 as a result of expansion of the iron-ore industry, Karratha was originally established for workers on the huge industrial projects nearby. For visitors, Karratha is an ideal centre from which to explore the fascinating Pilbara region.

Visitor Information

4548 Karratha Rd; (08) 9144 4600.

Nearby national parks

  • Millstream Chichester National Park

    Millstream–Chichester National Park in the western Pilbara protects two very different landscapes: in the north lies the rocky,...more

  • Karijini National Park

    Set in the Hamersley Range in the heart of the Pilbara, the vast Karijini National Park is an ancient landscape of massive mountains and...more

Nearby towns

  • Roebourne

    Named after John Septimus Roe, Western Australia's first surveyor-general, Roebourne was established in 1866 and is the oldest town on the...more

  • Port Hedland

    Port Hedland was named after Captain Peter Hedland, who reached this deep-water harbour in 1863. An iron-ore boom that began in the early...more

  • Onslow

    Onslow, on the north-west coast between Exmouth and Karratha, is the supply base for offshore gas and oil fields. This part of the coast is...more

In Town

TV Hill Lookout: excellent views over town centre and beyond; off Millstream Rd.

Jaburara Heritage Trail: 3 hr walk features Aboriginal rock carvings; pamphlet available at visitor centre.

Nearby

Millstream–Chichester National Park Rolling hills, spectacular escarpments and tree-lined watercourses with hidden rockpools characterise this park. The spring-fed Chinderwarriner Pool has an almost mirage-like quality. The remarkable oasis of Millstream is an area of tropical palm-fringed freshwater springs, well known to the Afghan cameleers of Pilbara's past. Other notably scenic spots are Python, Deepreach and Circular pools, and Cliff Lookout. The Millstream Homestead Visitor Centre, housed in the Gordon family homestead (1919), has displays dedicated to the local Aboriginal people, early settlers and the natural environment. Popular activities include bushwalking, picnicking, camping, fishing, swimming and boating. Tours are available; contact visitor centre for details. 124 km S.

Salt Harvest Ponds: Australia's largest evaporative salt fields. Tours are available; details at visitor centre; 15 km N.

Dampier: port facility servicing the iron-ore operations at Tom Price and Paraburdoo, home of the famous Red Dog; 22 km N.

Hamersley Iron Port Facilities: 3 hr tour and audiovisual presentation daily; bookings essential through visitor centre; 22 km N.

Cleaverville Beach: scenic spot ideal for camping, boating, fishing and swimming; 26 km NE.

North-West Shelf Gas Project Visitor Centre: displays on the history and technology of Australia's largest natural resource development, with panoramic views over the massive onshore gas plant; open 10am–4pm Mon–Fri Apr–Oct, 10am–1pm Mon–Fri Nov–Mar; Burrup Peninsula; 30 km N.

Aboriginal rock carvings: there are more than 10 000 engravings on the Burrup Peninsula alone, including some of the earliest examples of art in Australia. A debate is currently raging over the damage being done to this magnificent outdoor gallery by the adjacent gas project; check with visitor centre for locations.

Dampier Archipelago: 42 islands and islets ideal for swimming, snorkelling, boating, whale-watching and fishing; take a boat tour from Dampier. 

Montebello Islands: site of Australia's first shipwreck, the Tryal, which ran aground and sank in 1622. It is now a good spot for snorkelling, beachcombing, fishing and diving; beyond Dampier Archipelago.

Scenic flights: over the Pilbara outback; details at visitor centre.

Fishing spots near town

Dampier 21 km

More than 1500 km north of Perth (and still 850 km south of Broome), the Dampier Archipelago is a maze of 42 islands off the coast of Dampier, within reach of small boats. Marlin, sailfish, Spanish mackerel, yellowfin,... Find out more


Cafes & restaurants around town

Etcetera Brasserie

Rumoured to offer the finest dining in the Pilbara, Etcetera Brasserie is set within a pavilion-style restaurant overlooking the hotel’s pool and tropical gardens. The menu of delicious brasserie fare impresses,... Find out more


Hearson’s Bistro

Hearson’s Bistro at the All Seasons Karratha serves a seasonal menu alfresco style by the pool. Located within walking distance to the town’s facilities, the hotel and bistro are well placed for visitors to... Find out more


Campsites around town

Dampier Transit Caravan Park 16 km

Dampier is one of those pivotal places where visitors begin to get a handle on the ancient ark that is Australia. Large, shell middens and magnificent rock art are found throughout the area; the significant, prehistoric... Find out more


Cleaverville Beach camping area 20 km

Cleaverville camping area is an ideal spot for self-sufficient campers who enjoy the beach. Visitors will find dispersed sites in a large area behind the dunes on the foreshore of a pristine beach, which offers good... Find out more


Dampier Archipelago camping areas (boat-based camping) 28 km

This string of 42 islands off the Dampier coast is home to a large and diverse range of marine species, making it one of WA’s best diving and snorkelling spots. With 25 of the islands protected as part of the... Find out more


Forty Mile Beach camping area 53 km

Forty Mile camping area is 83 km south-west of Roebourne via the North West Coastal Hwy, followed by a further 13 km north. The large open camping area is in the dunes on the foreshore. There are no facilities here, but... Find out more


Fortescue River Mouth camping area 78 km

Self-sufficient campers who enjoy boating and fishing should pack their firewood, portable toilet and drinking water, and set up camp here for a spell. Leave the North West Coastal Hwy 105 km south-west of Roebourne, 80... Find out more


Crossing Pool camping area 96 km

Crossing Pool camping area has a good range of facilities around large, shady gum trees on the banks of the Fortescue River; a great spot for fishing, swimming and canoeing. Bring drinking water with you. It’s on... Find out more


Miliyanah camping area 98 km

Bring your own drinking water to Miliyanah camping area. It is opposite the park visitor centre, and offers a good range of facilities in a bush setting.... Find out more


Balla Balla (Bulla Bulla) camping area 98 km

This small camping area is 20 km north of North West Coastal Hwy, set among trees on the river. It suits self-sufficient campers who enjoy fishing. You need to bring firewood, drinking water and, preferably, a portable... Find out more


Stargazers camping area 100 km

This area is an overflow campsite with only basic facilities; come equipped with drinking water. The camping area is on Snappy Gum Dr, north of the Millstream–Yarraloola Rd. It is on the western side of the... Find out more


Caravan parks around town

Dampier Transit Caravan Park 16 km

A small park with about 20 sites, this place is operated by the Dampier community and there is a three-night maximum stay. The park is across the road from the water and within sight of Hamersley Iron’s Parker... Find out more


The Cove Caravan Park 39 km

A sparkling newer park by the coast, this place is proving very popular as a tourist destination in the quiet seaside community of Point Samson. There are good amenities and these are still expanding. Bookings are... Find out more


Hotels, motels & B&Bs around town

Balmoral Holiday Park

Balmoral Holiday Park is ideal for those seeking long-term accommodation, but accommodates tourists on an overflow basis only. The caravan sites are paved, the ablution blocks are clean, and there are laundry facilities... Find out more


Best Western Karratha Central Apartments

The Best Western Karratha Central Apartments provide modern and comfortable accommodation. There’s a choice of self-contained studios and one- and two-bedroom apartments in a convenient central location. Within... Find out more


Pilbara Holiday Park

Cabins, chalets, powered caravan sites and camping facilities are all available at the Pilbara Holiday Park. On-site is a camp kitchen, barbecue facilities, laundry, an internet kiosk, a swimming pool and a recreation... Find out more


Dampier Archipelago

If a luxurious adventure at sea appeals, then come aboard the 12-metre sailing ketch, Spinifex Spray. Only a few minutes from Karratha, Skipper Brad will reveal the many secrets of the Dampier Archipelago that most... Find out more


Rest areas around town

Cleaverville Beach camping area 18 km

T/O 13km W of Roebourne (R) or 28km E of Karratha Roadhouse (L)

On the foreshore 13km (unsealed) north of the highway. Camping is permitted May to Sept only.


Miaree Pool rest area 27 km

20km SW of Karratha Roadhouse (L) or 77km N of Fortescue (R)

Well off the highway on the banks of the Maitland River.


Forty Mile Beach camping area 53 km

T/O 41km S of Karratha Roadhouse (R) or 56km N of Fortescue (L)

Among dunes 9km (unsealed) west of the highway. Camping permitted Apr to Oct only.


Fortescue River park area 95 km

At Fortescue

Overlooking the river and opposite the roadhouse.


What's on around town

FeNaClNG Festival: this celebration takes its name from the town's mining roots (Fe is the chemical symbol for iron ore, NaCl is the symbol for salt, and NG is an abbreviation for natural gas); Aug.

Gamefishing Classic: Aug.

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