working harbours, filled with grand, austere ships that
transport hundreds of millions of tonnes of cargo each year to distant places, tracing new and old trading routes through the seas. Operations on this scale
are often on a city’s outskirts, invisible as well as inaccessible. But in Port Hedland, the coming and going of ships from dusk to dawn are part of daily life and that is one of the unique qualities of this remote
town on the northwest coast of Australia. In Port Hedland, anyone coming to the centre of town has a ringside seat for some of the greatest industrial
drama in the Pilbara.
Visit Port Hedland and discover a vibrant community
where living alongside largescale industry is a way of life.
As the gateway to the Pilbara coast and vast ranges, the newly refurbished Port Hedland Visitors Centre should be your first port of call to start your
journey. Stop by the centre for local and regional tourism information; make use of free WI-FI, browse contemporary gifts and keepsakes including locally made products, maps and books and town attraction information.
The best views of industry in motion in the harbour can
be found at Marrapikurinya Park on the waters’ edge in the historic West End. Redbank Bridge is the perfect lookout point for BHP Billiton’s trains, some of the longest in the world, which transport iron
ore from Mount Whaleback in Newman to the port. This spot also offers spectacular views of Dampier Salt’s towering stockpile which is best viewed at sunset.
Fishing is a renowned activity in Port Hedland, whether by boat, off the rocks, public jetty or along the beaches and spoil bank. Tides fluctuate from half
a metre to seven metres, with beaches ranging from sand to rock and flourishing mangrove, the most popular swimming beach is Pretty Pool Beach and the town also offers plenty of public pool and water park amenities. Birdlife is abundant along the beaches and in the
In April 1863, Peter Hedland, master of the 16 ton cutter ‘Mystery’, landed at Mangrove Harbour, now Port Hedland.
The first Port Hedland jetty was commenced in 1896 and completed in 1899.
With subsequent growth of trade in the town, pressure was brought to bear for a new jetty, which was completed in 1908. The port was also used by pearling luggers, especially after the 1880s, when the lugger trade at nearby Cossack declined.
The major change took place in the 1960s with the development of the iron ore deposits.
Major expansion of Port Hedland took place in 1965 with the population exploding from a mere 1,200 people. The port handled 100,000 tonnes of cargo in that year.
Today the port is one of the world’s largest in tonnage terms with over 158 million tonnes of product worth billions shipped each year.
The area of Port Hedland is divided into three; Port Hedland where the port facilities, coastal and cultural
activities are located; South Hedland the main residential area which is equipped with many retail, sporting and family amenities; and Wedgefield which holds most of the town’s light industry.
The port area, where bulk carrier vessels of up to 260,000 tonnes and over 230 metres in length glide through a narrow harbour entrance adjacent to the main street.
The Port Interpretive Walk running along the Esplanade offers information about the port’s history and the resource companies that utilise the facility.
The Port Hedland Courthouse Gallery on Edgar Street is located in the heart of the West End and has become a destination in the region, with a full and diverse yearround exhibition program featuring Indigenous artworks, national and local artists and photographers including the annual Hedland Art Awards (August). The Gallery runs a range of creative workshops is home to a beautiful retail space
where you can find stylish objects, homewares, jewellery, accessories and books.
Dalgety House on Wedge Street is a museum and interpretive centre housed in a historic pastoral era dwelling.
Along Wilson Street sits the Don Rhodes Mining Museum with historic mining and transport equipment and a
monument to the town’s Torres Strait Islander residents.
From December to March Hedland’s beaches become home to hundreds of Flatback Turtles as they nest and their younglings hatch. You can view the turtles or sign up to monitor their movements through the Care for Hedland Environmental Association.
Still on the coast, tides which range from half a metre to eight metres create fine fishing spots and great opportunities for shell collectors, reef walkers and photographers.
Several coastal public parks are linked by pathways so you can walk or ride your bikes while admiring the view.
Other Places of Interest
Stairway to the Moon, best
seen from Cooke Point
Port Hedland Yacht Club,
perfect place for fish and
chips by the sea
Royal Flying Doctor Base
and School of the Air at Port
Hedland International Airport
Koombana Lookout under
the Port Hedland water tower
Wangka Maya Pilbara
Aboriginal Language Centre,
language and resource centre
Street art in the West End,
large-scale urban artworks
created by visiting artists
South Hedland Aquatic
Centre, public pool
featuring a water park with
West End Markets, local
art, craft, food and music
in April, June, August and