Top things to do in the City of Karratha

Dampier Archipelago and Karratha Helicopter Flights

You’ll be astonished at the picturesque views of the Dampier Archipelago and the stunning blue water when viewed from our helicopter. The contrast between the bright white beaches and the rugged Pilbara landscape is a breathtaking sight. Keep an eye out for turtles, manta rays, dugongs and a range of other marine life.

All flights depart from the Karratha Visitor Centre, to request a booking or phone (08) 9144 4600.

Staircase to the Moon

Staircase to the Moon is a spectacular natural phenomenon in the Northern region of WA. On the West Pilbara Coast it can be experienced at Cossack Lookout and Hearson’s Cove, near Karratha.

Occurring on full moon dates, from March to November along the coast of Northern WA, the Staircase to the Moon is a beautiful optical illusion. Only created when the full moon reflects on exposed mudflats at extremely low tide, it forms a magical staircase reaching up to the moon. Plan an evening complete with a deck chair, wine and camera to view this spectacular event at beautiful Hearson’s Cove.

For Staircase to the Moon dates visit

For further information on WA’s Staircase to the Moon Email or call +61 8 9144 4600.

Ancient Aboriginal Heritage

Karratha and the West Pilbara Coast of WA have a fascinating Aboriginal history and cultural heritage. Home to the Ngarluma and Yinidbarndi people for many generations, the locals acknowledge them as the region’s traditional landowners. Millstream-Chichester National Park,the Jaburara Heritage Trail, Deep Gorge and the Burrup Peninsula are fascinating places to discover the Aboriginal history of Karratha and WA’s West Pilbara Coast. Over 40,000 rock engravings (petroglyphs) can be viewed in the region, many of which are located on the Burrup Peninsula. Recognised as one of the most prolific Aboriginal rock art sites in the world, the peninsula was listed by the Heritage Council of WA in July 2007.

Despite their tragic past, the Aboriginal people of Karratha and WA’s West Pilbara Coast are re-establishing their cultural and traditional links and building a positive future for their people. Many books have been written by local Aboriginal groups about their history and culture. The Juluwarlu Foundation has produced books and DVDs about the Yindibarndi people such as ‘Exile and the Kingdom’, also available from the Karratha Visitor Centre.

Today, Aboriginal artists from the West Pilbara Coast of WA have become recognised nationally and internationally. Local art works are available for purchase at many outlets, including the Karratha Visitor Centre.

Red Dog

Red Dog the “Pilbara Wanderer”, is one of the best known and loved travellers in the North West, being the subject of numerous books, songs and even a movie. Many Pilbara locals still recall his visits and laugh at the memories of his strange and wonderful ways. Red Dog was a Kelpie / Cattle dog cross that was well known for his travels through Western Australia’s Pilbara region.

Soon after Red’s death, Australian author Nancy Gillespie wrote and compiled anecdotes and poetry written by several people of the Pilbara region for her 1983 book ‘Red Dog’ as did Beverly Duckett in her 1993 book ‘Red Dog: the Pilbara Wanderer’. Red Dog’s story and statue have caught the attention of a number of people passing through Dampier including British author Louis de Bernières, who was inspired to write a book loosely based on Red’s legend also called ‘Red Dog’. The book has now become a critically acclaimed feature film about Red, made in Australia and released in cinemas 4 August 2011.

A range of Red Dog merchandise is available from the Karratha Visitor Centre, including the above mentioned books, official motion picture DVD, official motion picture soundtrack, t-shirts, magnets, hats, key rings and our new Red Dog plush toy!

National Parks and Gorges

The parks of Western Australia’s North West contain some of the world’s most amazing untouched wilderness areas. The Pilbara region hosts ancient landscapes and provides stark contrasts from rugged ranges, stunning gorges, pristine sandy beaches and untouched islands and reefs. The region is also home to wildlife, birdlife and plant species you won’t find anywhere else on this planet.

The Pilbara region comprises of:

  • Millstream – Chichester National Park
  • Karijini National Park
  • Murujuga National Park

For more information on access and fees involved with our national parks contact the Karratha Visitor Centre on +61 8 9144 4600 or the Department of Parks and Wildlife on +61 8 9182 2000.

Island Adventures

The Dampier Archipelago, in the Pilbara region of WA, is a coastal wonderland comprising of 42 islands and islets off the coast of Dampier and Point Samson. These islands offer excellent opportunities for boating, fishing, snorkelling, camping and other recreational activities. The Montebello Islands, with their natural land and seascapes, barrier and fringing coral reefs, wide variety of wildlife and rich maritime heritage, appeal to divers, snorkellers, fishers and sea kayakers.

For further information visit

Native Flora and Fauna

Karratha and the West Pilbara Coast are inhabited by an incredibly diverse array of native animals, plants, marine life and wildflowers. The landscape varies dramatically from rugged rocky, spinifex plains to stunning secluded emerald pools and waterfalls with an abundance of wildlife endemic to the area spread across our vast region.

Aboriginal References

The Juluwarlu Group Aboriginal Corporation has published several books recording the animals and plants of WA’s West Pilbara Coast. The book ‘Wanggalili’ provides descriptions and photographs of the unique Yindjibarndi and Ngarluma plants of the Pilbara. Pictures of each species are accompanied by their names given in Yindjibarndi, Ngarluma and English, as well as the scientific Latin names.

‘Garruragan’ is a publication focusing on Yindjibarndi fauna, describing and telling stories about animals in the Pilbara region in both Yindjibarndi and English, including their zoological names. It provides a fascinating insight into how local Aboriginal groups hunt and prepare animals to eat, as well as the cultural significance of local fauna.

For more information, or to order these books online, contact the Karratha Visitor Centre for more information email or call +61 8 9144 4600.


Hearson’s Cove, located on the Burrup Peninsula between Karratha and Dampier, is one of the many beautiful beaches in this region. Explore the tidal flats and you could encounter turtles, mud crabs, octopus and migrating seasonal bird life.

This lovely sheltered cove is a popular swimming and picnic spot all year round. It is also one of only a few locations where you can view the spectacular Staircase to the Moon event, which occurs from May through to October. The Staircase to the Moon, only occurs in WA and is a phenomenon that occurs when the full moon rises over the exposed mudflats at an extremely low tide, creating the optical illusion of a staircase reaching to the moon.

This picturesque shell beach boasts amenities such as barbeques, shade shelters and toilets and is conveniently accessible by 2WD on a sealed road. The area is also a fishing paradise for both amateurs and professionals alike with a huge variety of fish species inhabiting the area, including the much sought after Coral Trout, Red Emperor, Scarlet Sea Perch, Spangled Emperor and Norwest Snapper.

Ensure you check your local tide times and weather conditions before setting out.

Contact the Karratha Visitor Centre for more information Email or call +61 8 9144 4600.