Port Hedland is a town of 15,000 people where life is relaxed and being situated along the ocean provides a variety of aquatic leisure activities and a home for whales and nesting flatback turtles. Port Hedland is an anglers’ paradise with a variety of fish such as whiting, mullet, bream and kingfish. Port Hedland lies on an inlet fringed with mangroves and a number of hand shaped tidal creeks which come off its shallow natural harbor.
Port Hedland was originally known by the indigenous Kariyarra and Nyamal people as Marrapikurrinya which means “place of good water”. The BHP Iron Oreat Nelson Point is the industrial centre which focuses on the extraction, processing and export of iron ore. The port handles the largest tonnage of any port around Australia. Here the iron ore is unloaded, screened, crushed, stockpiled and exported. There are daily tours of the mill where you can view dusty, giant machinery around the harbor.
On the way into town is a 426 kilometre railway that was built to carry iron-ore from Newman. The trains can be up to three kilometres long. Throughout Port Hedland are many attractions including the Port Hedland Cultural and Heritage Trail, Two Mile Ridge Aboriginal Carvings and Redbank bridge look-out. Additionally another amazing attraction is the possibility to view the Flatback Turtles and Humpback whales. The turtles can be seen on Cemetery Beach, Cooke Beach, Munda Beach and Pretty Pool from October to March. There are also trips which can be arranged to see the whales during their migration along the coast.
STAIRWAY TO THE MOON
Between the months of April and October you can view the Stairway to the Moon, which is where a full moon rises over a low tide giving an impression of steps leading to the moon. The rays of light are reflected off pools of water left by the receding tide creating this magnificent illusion.
A suburb of nearby Port Hedland, South Hedland was established in the 1970s when Port Hedland ran out of suitable space for housing.
As a residential centre, the town has facilities for families such as shopping, schools, day care, cinemas, aquatic centre, and some motel style accommodation. The town centre is currently undergoing a major $23 million revamp with the assistance of the WA Government's Royalties for Regions scheme. The improvements will include a new main street around a new town square, better roads and footpaths, and a release of large development blocks by Landcorp to allow for further growth in the South Hedland population along with new commercial and retail space.