The Pilbara, Western Australia’s land of vibrant red earth, abundant minerals, and vast timelessness, speaks unlike any place I’ve known. From its profusion of yellow flowers in the cooler months to its stark iron ore cliffs that radiate in summer, the land’s many moods could stir the most staid of hearts.
I’ve been fortunate enough to venture to the Pilbara several times, and it remains my favourite part of Australia. Driving up Western Australia’s expansive coastline, I ran over a two-metre monitor lizard before heading into Karijini National Park.
In Karijini, I discovered a labyrinth of striking red gorges which gave way to clear pools of emerald green. I kept thinking a dinosaur would appear around the corner at any moment. Ideal for a hike, swim and some reflection on the wondrousness of things, it’s a remarkable place that feels far-removed from anywhere.
A good friend of mine, Luke from Wyldeclan, advised me to continue through Tom Price along the Shay Gap Road towards Marble Bar. This advice found me confronting signs saying “no fuel for the next 250 kilometres”. With a smile and a heart for adventure, I headed north-east towards Marble Bar through some of the most captivating country I’ve ever seen.
A wild fire burnt that night, as lightning and fierce rain pelted the rust-coloured soil known as pindan. Rarely have I felt so free, pulling over and hiking up spinifex hills (the next day), seeing no one, while feeling the silence and unrelenting vastness of the Pilbara, Western Australia’s immense primordial world.
After cooking some pasta at the back of a service station in Marble Bar, I got some sleep, only to awaken next morning to 45ºC heat. I then headed towards the Sandfire Roadhouse on the Great Northern Highway, driving past wild camels on the way. After entering the roadhouse soiled in pindan, with a beard and no shoes, I was offered a job.
How could you not love the Pilbara?