8 August 2013

Port Hedland- no place like it

The Port Hedland harbour
When we first started planning our trip we got advice from friends where to go and where to avoid. We were told that Port Hedland was a shit hole and that we should avoid it if possible. Of course when somebody told us where to not go, we just had to go there.

On the way from Karijini National Park to Broome there is very little to see, only vast red country kilometer after kilometer, on a road that seems never ending. And then comes Port Hedland. A mining town like most others in Australia, made out of nothing in the middle of nowhere. Port Hedland houses thousands of miners that work on the iron ore just inland of the town. It is the harbour for the Pilbarra region and Australia's largest iron ore loading ports.
The Esplanade hotel

Stopping by a place as remarkably different and profoundly Australian as any place I've visited is absolutely necessary to really understand the 'down under' mentality. Before I went to Australia for the first time, I thought most of the country was like Port Hedland. The town is proudly carried by its traditions and culture. It has a rich, ancient history originating from aboriginal settlement incorporated with the industrialization of the area making it an interesting blend of old and new. Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised. Port Hedland has a nice view over the harbour where the ships are patiently waiting for the next load of cargo. It also has pretty colonial houses, a cute little main street with shops and green park-like areas.

I do understand why our friend thinks of it as a shit hole as well. It has just as much ugly as it has beauty about it, and some parts(and inhabitants)of town are worse than others. No matter what you think about Port Hedland, there is no question whether or not to go. You'll miss out on a place and ambience like no other if you don't.


1 comment:

  1. So this is where they make their money. An iron ore harbour never was a pretty place, but your comments are very sympathetic and understanding. I have only been in one other mining town on Svalbard, and there the snow hid most of the action. The colonial buildings seem nice!