Local destinations offer a treasure trove of wonders
With the summer heat starting to ease off there are few better places to explore than our own backyard, so the Pilbara News has asked around and compiled some of your favourite Easter getaways within easy reach.
It may stretch the "just down the road" saying a bit, but if you like fishing you like Exmouth - that is a given.
The sleepy coastal town is always a popular getaway for Pilbara residents, and perhaps no more so than over the Easter period.
Exmouth Visitor Centre communications co-ordinator Ben Knaggs said as well as the fishing, it was the vast array of natural attractions, tours and the marine environment that drew a steady flow of Pilbara locals.
"Our fishing is world class for game and fly, especially at this time of year where there is such a range of fishing options both offshore and inshore for everyone," he said.
"Another one most people wouldn't think about are microlight scenic flights … and there are normal scenic flights as well for those who aren't too confident with a microlight.
"The views of the Ningaloo Reef and Cape Range National Park from the air are amazing."
For those who just want to spend their long weekend at a slower pace, there are plenty of isolated beaches along the coast as well.
"Turquoise Bay is always the most popular - for the second year in a row it was rated the second-best beach on TripAdvisor," Mr Knapps said.
"It is a beautiful spot with stunning aqua clear water and amazing snorkelling just footsteps off the beach."
Accommodation in Exmouth over Easter is going fast, but there are still a few options available through the visitor centre, or you can try your luck with claiming a spot at one of the camping grounds.
Pardoo Station can get pretty busy around Easter as the weather cools off and with good reason. It is a favourite among locals for fishing, and no matter how many people are present it always retains its outback charm.
Park manager Clare Ryan said the station was like a little oasis in the middle of nowhere with lush green grass, shady palm trees and a pool for guests to enjoy.
"Everyone who comes here is really friendly. Half the time we see the same people coming back time and time again, but it is really nice to see new faces too," she said.
"We have a communal campfire every evening, which is the sort of place people have a chat and get to know other people, and new families can get to meet all the locals."
With three tidal creeks and an extensive coastline, anglers can always find their own private spot to set up the esky, crack a beer and drop a line for a few hours. Mrs Ryan said good numbers of Spanish mackerel and dhufish were turning up, late season barra were still on the run and mud crabs were always plentiful.
Pardoo Station is ideal for caravanners and campers, and is dog friendly, so your best mate can have some fun as well.
Accommodation enquiries can be made by contacting 9176 4916.
Karijini National Park
The wonders of Karijini are well known to the nation these days, having appeared in countless bucket list-style articles in the past few years.
Distance, however, means many Sandgropers never end up getting out to the Pilbara's own natural wonder.
But with a long weekend looming there are few better times to make the trip.
Karijini Eco Retreat spokeswoman Di Bellow said bookings were starting to pick up, but accommodation was still available, including their new eco-cabins, which can comfortably sleep a family of four for $280 a night.
"With the restaurant, the amphitheatre … the retreat is the perfect spot to camp in the wilderness, but also not miss out on any of those home comforts," she said.
"Our location right on the edge of Joffre Gorge and close to some of the really popular gorges on the western side of the park is spectacular.
Ms Bellow said Karijini was one of the oldest pristine landscapes left in the world.
"Every gorge is different, but each one in its own right is really spectacular, and there are a variety of trails to suit all types of fitness levels so anyone can go in the gorges," she said.
"There is amazing country for geologists, (and) there's abseiling adventure tours run from the retreat where you can really discover the origins of the Earth."
Ms Bellow said the park also featured strong links to its indigenous history, with an exhibition set up at the visitors' centre and the park itself in the care of its traditional owners.
For all things Karijini, contact the visitor centre on 9189 8121. For accommodation at the Karijini Eco Retreat, contact 9425 5591 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
Cheela Plains Station
Traditionally an overnight retreat for travellers between Karijini National Park and the Ningaloo Reef, Cheela Plains owners Robin and Evan Pensini have started four-wheel-drive tours for visitors to gain a better glimpse of the wonders that lie within the boundaries of their home.
Mrs Pensini said the full-day tag-a-long or passenger tours would be great for those wanting to stay a bit longer and visit some spectacular sights yet to become common knowledge on the internet.
The tour includes meanders through tree-covered creeks, spectacular natural lookouts, paperbark-lined gorges, interesting rock formations, the chance to swim in a freshwater mussel pool and commentary from the Pensinis themselves.
"Apart from the tours, the accommodation area offers plenty of space for walking, photography, bird watching, a chance to say hello to our pet steer Co-Co, magnificent sunsets over the Cheela Plain, a crackling evening fire and a beautiful southern hemisphere night sky," Mrs Pensini said.
"Recent rains will make for spectacular sightings of native flora and fauna, including the brilliant Pilbara wildflowers."
Cheela Plains station is two-wheel-drive accessible and has single and double rooms, as well as unpowered camping facilities with ablution blocks, grass, a fire pit, wi-fi and, of course, nice views.
Mrs Pensini said there was a discount available for those who booked accommodation and a 4WD tour. Bookings are recommended and can be made by email at email@example.com or phone 9189 8084.
If you are one of those unfortunate souls who does not have the luxury of a long weekend, you can still make use of an overnight breather at one of many popular local destinations.
Roebourne Visitor Centre manager Ruth Ellis said whether you wanted to spend your weekend on the coast or inland, there were plenty of good spots within a couple of hours' drive.
"Cleaverville is a lovely spot if you're into fishing - it is right on the coast, there are beautiful sunrises and sunsets out there and it is quiet at this time of year," she said.
"Millstream is a beautiful option if you want something inland. It's so green out there, there's good swimming, it's very peaceful and if you wanted to you could take a day trip to Python Pool and the Chichester Range lookout.
"Cossack is another lovely and tranquil spot with plenty of fish and crabbing spots along the coastline."
Information for short-stay vacations in the City of Karratha is available from the Karratha and Roebourne Visitor Centres.
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