There’s plenty to see and do there and it’s balmy all year round; yep, Karratha is calling!
If you want to talk about West Australian towns that should be on the radar for your next road trip or, potentially, a permanent sea change, let’s talk about Karratha.
It’s the shining beacon of the Pilbara region and for good reason. Not only is it a ridiculously picturesque place to visit, but there’s so much going on that you and the family will never run out of things to do in and around town.
We could give you plenty of brilliant reasons to make a move to Karratha, but these five reasons seemed like a pretty solid place to start.
Be amongst nature
Red-hued earth, deep gorges, and pretty beaches: Karratha quite literally has it all. Located halfway up the Pilbara coastline, you get the best of all worlds in this semi-tropical town.
A local favourite, and a good way to get your head around just what the landscape is like around here, is to head up to the Water Tank Hill lookout. From the top, you get a clear view out over the scrubland flats, the townsite, and the waters of Mermaid Sound through to Hampton Harbour, where you can also spy the lifeblood of the town and its industry.
For lovers of the seas, the coast is never that far away. Take a 25-minute drive out along the peninsular and to the shores of Hearson’s Cove. It’s arguably one of the region’s most beautiful beaches, and perfect for a day of swimming, fishing, and picnicking with family and friends. If you happen to be around during the full moon, hang about on the shore until nightfall to catch the famed ‘Staircase to the Moon’ reflecting off the tidal mudflats.
The exploring will never end
If it’s gorges and pristine watering holes you want to see, up your adventure game and take the 1-hour drive out to the nearby Millstream Chichester National Park. Characterised by rolling hills, tree-lined rivers, and deep natural pools, Millchester is the very definition of a ‘desert oasis’. There’s plenty for the family to do here, from easy walks or a spot of bird watching, to a day of water-based fun by one of the pools.
A little further away, but equally as magical, are the stunning gorges of Karijini National Park. It will take you around 5 hours to drive there from town, but the secluded swimming holes and deep, red cliff faces are well worth the road trip. Throw a tent and an esky full of food and water in the car as well and make a holiday of it.
Once you and the family have done the inland pools, head for the coast and uncover the beauty of the Dampier Archipelago. This chain of untouched islands boasts pristine white sand beaches, flanked by red rocks, and some of the best snorkelling along the coast.
There’s some incredible history hidden out the back of town
Karratha has a rich Aboriginal history, much of which, you can uncover simply by heading out on a walk through the Karratha hills.
Weaving their way through the ranges you’ll find the five different Yaburara Heritage Trails, all of which lead you through a number of culturally significant heritage sites. Walk the ‘short loop’ (great for anyone who has little legs in tow) or ‘point to point’ trails to marvel at some ancient Aboriginal rock art; or take the ‘rotary’, ‘point to point’, or ‘long loop’ trails to see scattered Aboriginal artifacts. For a better insight into what you’re actually seeing, consider booking in on a tour with Clinton from Ngurrangga Tours.
While on the trail, be sure to keep an eye out for wildflowers (they bloom from July to September) and the cute little perenties and echidnas.
There are over 70 family-friendly festivals and events in the region each year
Though it’s the prime place for it, it’s not all nature-focused activity in Karratha. Take for example, the annual Red Earth Arts Festival. Now in its 11th year, the festival is a 10-night and 10-day celebration of visual and theatrical arts that brings all manner of acts to the region. Grab tickets to something like a Spare Parts Puppet Theatre performance for the kids, and indulge yourself with a boogie to the headline music act.
Even the popular Brew and the Moo festival is a kid-friendly affair, so long as you round up the troops and head in for the Brew Family session. While parents kick back with a local North West Brewing Co beer and a beef slider, the little ones can run amok on the bouncy castles, 3 on 3 basketball court, and the myriad of other rides pulled in for the day.
If you’re up for a bit of a drive, head out to the Karijini Experience. There are around 40 events (many of them free) over the 5-day festival, ranging from a fine dining dinner under the stars with Fervor to kids art, cultural storytime, and yoga in the gorge.
Outdoor activities abound
May to September is prime camping and fishing time in Karratha, but there’s absolutely no reason why you can’t enjoy the great outdoors year-round (bonus: there are no campsite fees during the October to April off season). With plenty of great camping and fishing spots dotted along the Pilbara coastline, you’re really spoilt for choice when you’re based in Karratha.
Book yourself a site at Cleaverville, 20 minutes northwest of the Karratha townsite for a weekend of boating, fishing, snorkelling, and relaxing with the family. The waters around Karratha are home to some beautiful eating fish including coral trout, red emperor, and the norwest snapper. Once you’ve set up camp, head to the beach, pop a bit of bait on your hook, and cast a line to catch your tribe a fresh, wholesome dinner.
There’s a natural boat ramp there too, so if you have a boat, you can launch off the beach for a spot of ocean fishing. Or get all Dora the Explorer on your weekend and head out to the fringing islands. It’s freedom like you’ve never felt before!
If you fancy venturing a little further afield, Gnoorea Point (40 Mile) is a 45-minute drive southwest of the townsite and boasts similar epic coastal activities.
With so much happening in the port town of Karratha, you and the family will never be short on a thing or two to do, whether you’re staying for just the weekend or you’re up there for the long haul.
The town currently boasts some 800 job vacancies across all industries, 200 fabulous community groups, and more than 70 annual events and festivals, so there’s never been a more perfect time to consider making the move.
Go on, Karratha is calling!
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