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.

Things to Do

Port Hedland Tours

Fortescue Tour

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Details:

  • Date and time: Wednesdays Thursdays and Fridays, 11.15am
  • Additional tour may run in peak season
  • Minimum 6 persons for the tour to operate
  • Cost: $55/adult; $30/child; $49.50/seniors; $150/family of 4
  • Book through the Port Hedland Seafarers Centre - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Fortescue bus tour takes you into the FMG port site. Get upclose to the stackers, reclaimers and conveyors, before going down onto the wharves and travel alongside the ships as they load.


Port Hedland Local Town Tour

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Details: 

  • Date and time: Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 1.30pm
  • Tour operates between May to October
  • Cost: $30/adult; $20/child; 10% discount for seniors
  • Book through Port Hedland Visitor Centre - 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.


Yarning with the Locals

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Details:

  • Date and time: Fridays, 11.30am
  • Cost: gold coin donation
  • Operates between May to October
  • Held at the Port Hedland Visitor Centre

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). 


Twilight Industry Tour

Port Image

See the world’s largest bulk loading port from the outside looking in with our expert guide. On this 1 ½ hour bus tour learn about the history of the port, as you travel past the Dampier Salt site around to Finucane Island where you’ll learn about our miners, BHP, FMG, Roy Hill and the newer lithium miners. As the sun sets over the port enjoy a complimentary beverage while watching the ships come and go. On your trip home you’ll see the whole port light up as the night shift begins.

Details:
Departs: Monday to Friday 4.45pm (Seasonal)
Cost: $45 Adult, $40 Seniors, $20 Children 7-16
Family $110 (2 adults 2 children)
Book: Port Hedland Visitor Centre - 13 Wedge Street Port Hedland 
Phone: 08 9173 1711
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Salt Eco Tour

Salt Image

This is a 3 hour guided bus tour of Dampier Salt’s operation where production begins with seawater from the Indian Ocean 35kms east of Port Hedland. You’ll visit the wetlands home to a diverse range of birds, reptiles, mammals, frogs and fish. You’ll learn about the birth place of the songs and story lines of the Ngarla traditional owners while enjoying morning or afternoon tea. Head back to the production area where you can touch the salt in its raw form while taking photos of the salt stack.

Details:
Departs: Monday, Wednesday and Friday 1.30pm (Seasonal)
Cost: $65 Adult, $50 Seniors, $40 Child 7-16, 
Family $170 (2 Adults 2 Children)
Book: Port Hedland Visitor Centre - 
13 Wedge Street Port Hedland
Phone: 08 9173 1711
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Port Hedland Experiences

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.

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, WA

Turtle 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 2019 are:

March   21st @ 18.44; 22nd @ 19.28; 23rd @ 20.11
April   20th @ 18.45;  21st @ 19.30;  22nd @ 20.17
May 19th @ 18.07; 20th@ 18.55; 21st @ 19.45
June  18th @ 18.27;19th @ 19.20; 20th @ 20.12
July 17th @ 18.05; 18th @ 18.57; 19th @ 19.48
August    16th @ 18.34; 17th @ 19.23;18th @ 20.12
September 15th @ 18.57;16th @ 19.45;17th @ 20.35
October  14th @ 18.31; 15th@ 19.22; 16th @ 20.14

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