things to do

Port Hedland

Things to Do

Port Hedland is one of the world’s largest and busiest 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.

The community is bustling and friendly and there are plenty of things to do. You can check out all of the current and upcoming events in town on our Calendar. And for more details on specific locations and attractions visit our interactive map.

Port Hedland Sights

Port Hedland Tours

BHP Tour

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Details: 

  • Dates and time: Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12pm departing from the Port Hedland Visitor Centre, 13 Wedge Street, Port Hedland
  • Tour operates between May to October
  • Cost: $45/adult; $30/child; free for under 10; 10% discount for pensioners
  • Book through the Visitor Centre at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Hop onto a 45 minute guided tour of BHP's Nelson Point facility to watch the bucket wheel reclaimers and ship loaders that dominate Port Hedland’s horizon and gain an understanding of how the mining industry works. BHP's operations cover a complex integrated system of seven inland mining operations, more than 1,000km of rail, stockyards and two separate port facilities through which iron ore churns like lifeblood 24/7. 

BHP is one of the world’s leading iron ore producers with operations in Australia and Brazil. Their principal iron ore operations are based in the Pilbara region of northern Western Australia. Iron ore is a major component in many modern office towers, including iconic structures around the world. It is also used extensively in motor vehicles, washing machines, refrigerators, ovens and other whitegoods. The tour provides an insight into the workings of this incredible industry, which is buoying our national economy: from the trains that transport the ore from Newman to Port Hedland to enormous bucket wheel reclaimers to the impressive workings of the conveyors and ship loaders as they load their multi-million dollar cargo onto ships bound for developing countries around the world. This is tour not to be missed.

Port Hedland Local Town Tour

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Details: 

  • Date and time: Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 1.30pm and Fridays
  • Tour operates between May to October
  • Cost: $30/adult; $20/child; 10% discount for seniors
  • Book through Port Hedland Visitor Centre at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - must book by 11am of that day

Tracing the local cultural heritage of this most unusual town, the bus tour will follow the footsteps of the first European settlers by visiting the town’s heritage sites. Led by local historian and life-long resident Julie Arif, this tour offers the opportunity to learn the human face to a town far-more diverse than it may first appear; from the commemorative lookout honouring the sinking of the SS Koombana more than one hundred years ago to the multi-cultural heritage and Indigenous links to the community both historic and today.

West End Walking Tour

Details:

  • Dates and times: Tuesday and Thursday, 8am
  • Cost: $20/adults and seniors; $10/children 11-17 years; free for children under 10 years
  • Bookings: call (08) 9173 1711 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Explore Port Hedland's important heritage sites in the West End during this morning walking tour led by our local guide. This is a NEW tour commencing in May 2018, and it is the perfect way to start your day. Beginning at the Port Hedland Visitor Centre in the heart of historic Wedge Street, you'll wander through the precinct, stopping at places like The Pier Hotel, Old Methodist Church and the old Courthouse. Finishing up at Dome, another heritage site, you can grab some morning tea and watch the giant ore ships roll in and out of the harbour. 

Tales of Hedland

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Details:

  • Date and time: Fridays, 11.30am
  • Cost: gold coin donation
  • Operates between May to October

Join local residents for a cuppa and learn about a different side of Hedland - the community, camaraderie and funny stories that make Hedland home. This is the perfect activity for locals and visitors, and is an opportunity to meet new people and build friendships which the Pilbara is famous for.  

PUBLIC Art in the Pilbara - self-guided street art map 

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Port Hedland's West End is home to some of the best street art in the region, completed by artists such as Yok and Sheryo, Saner and Hayley Welsh. Street art enthusiasts can pick up a copy of the street art map from the Visitors Centre or Courthouse Gallery and spend an afternoon exploring the alleyways and streets of the West End. Some are obvious, and some require a little bit of adventure!

Cultural and Heritage Trail - self-guided tour of the historic West End

If you prefer to explore at your own pace, pick up a copy of the Visitor Centre's Cultural and Heritage Trail guide which will take you around the West End and the historic sites such as Banger's Bungalow and the Old Nurses Medical Quarters (both now utilised as an office and a Dome Cafe, respectively). 

Port Industry

ships in port

Port Hedland is home to the world's largest export tonnage port, shipping over 600 million tonnes per annum in the 15/16 financial year. The best views of industry in motion in the harbour can be found at Marapikurrinya Park (Richardson Street, Port Hedland) on the waters edge in the historic West End. You can also see the ships in action while enjoying a coffee at Dome Cafe at the corner of McKay Street, Port Hedland. The Port Interpretive Walk running along the Esplanade offers information about the port's history and the resource companies that utilise the facility.

Seafarers Centre Harbour Tour

Details:

  • Dates and times: Mondays to Saturdays, 9.30am; Sundays, 1.30pm (Monday, Wednesday and Friday only during low season) - departs from the Port Hedland Seafarers Centre, Wilson Street, Port Hedland

Seafarers Centre Fortescue Port Facility Tour - minimum four people

Details:

  • Dates and times; Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays - 11.15am (enquire at the Visitor Centre during low season), departs from the Port Hedland Seafarers Centre, Wilson Street, Port Hedland

Cost: $55/adult; $30/child (4 to 12 years old); $150/family (2 adults, 2 children) + $15/additional children; 10% discount for seniors and students; 10% discount if booking both tours

Book through the Seafarers Centre website: http://www.phseafarers.org/tours.html

Wildlife

Port Hedland's uniquely beautiful beaches and mangroves are home to an abundance of fish and other wildlife. Off the coast of Port Hedland you can see whales, bottlenose dolphins and sharks.

Flatback turtles in Port Hedland, WATurtle Monitoring 

Flatback sea turtles nest only on Australian beaches and they have the shortest migratory range of all sea turtles.

From October to March Hedland's beaches become home to hundreds of flatback turtles (natator depressus) as they nest and their younglings hatch. For turtle viewing and monitoring, it is advisable to contact the local Care for Hedland Environmental Association who manage the turtle monitoring program. 

Care for Hedland's turtle program provides much needed monitoring, awareness and conservation for these local threatened species. This program is a part of a wider turtle monitoring project encompassing nesting rookeries from Shark Bay in the south, up to the Kimberly. Guided evening tours operate for anyone to watch the turtles nesting whilst following the turtle watchers code of conduct. Nesting season is from October to January. Hatchling season is in December to March.

Contact Care for Hedland on 0447 907 661 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to find out more.

Pilbara Wildflowers

During the winter months in Port Hedland you will be able to find a multitude of native wildflowers. You could make an adventure of wildflower viewing by following the Pilbara Wildflowers Trail by road through the region. July to September is the time to experience this beautiful natural occurrence unique to the Pilbara. Look in the right places and you will find the unmistakable Sturt's desert pea, Mulla mulla and the tall majestic Ashburton pea as well as up to 65 species of the Acacia (wattle).

Staircase to the Moon

The Staircase to the Moon is a natural phenomenon that occurs only in the North West of Australia between March and October. During the full moon this region experiences such dramatic tidal changes throughout the day that enable the pockets of water caught in the sand ripples to reflect the natural rising colour of the moon. Viewed at full moon on a still evening this light creates what looks like a golden staircase leading to the moon.

The times for the rising moon are in the local telephone book, they are also displayed monthly at the Port Hedland Visitors Centre. The best vantage spot is next to the Cooke Point Caravan Park (Goode Street) in Port Hedland. There is a viewing deck set up especially for this natural occurrence.

The approximate Full Moon rising times for 2018 are:

April 1st 18.54; 2nd 19.35; 3rd 20.16;  30th 18.10
May 1st 18.52; 2nd 19.36; 30th 18.16
June 1st 19.51; 29th 18.35; 30th 19.25
July 1st 20.15; 28th 18.11; 29th 19.02; 30th 19.52
August  27th 18.39; 28th 19.29; 29th 20.20
September 25th 18.15; 26th 19.08; 27th 20.01
October 25th 18.48; 26th 19.46

Note: A super full moon occurs when the moon's closest to the Earth, during this time the moon may seem bigger and brighter.

 

 

Header image and Coastal Experiences image by Simon Phelps