I’ll admit, I wasn’t too enthusiastic about visiting Port Hedland, a small city in Western Australia known for iron ore mining. However, it turned out to be fascinating. Here, we opted to take an excursion offered by Royal Caribbean, and we went on an iron ore tour.
All tours at BHP Billiton are via bus, and there are strict safety gear requirements for employees. So rigid, in fact, that if an employee gets injured while not wearing gloves, they are not insured. Here are some of the highlights in photos (shot through the bus window, sorry about the reflections):
BHP Billiton isn’t the only mining company in Port Hedland. Rio Tinto is there also, offering a contrasting photo opportunity even through the bus window:
While not a popular tourist destination, there is more to the town. We were welcomed with a craft market open on the six days this year that cruise ships are in port. There is a visitor’s centre offering both information and souvenirs, plus the Dalgety House Museum.
More about Port Hedland:
- Located in tropical Western Australia, Port Hedland gets only 13 days of rain per year. It is usually hot with average temperatures ranging from 27.1 °C (80.8 °F) in winter to 36.4 (95.5 °F) in the summer.
- The Karriyarra people are the aboriginal tribe from the area.
- Flatback turtles breed and nest here from October to January. We were given bad advice when told we could only see them at night. Another cruise passenger saw turtles.
- A Royal Flying Doctor Service has been based in Port Hedland since 1935. Aviation is a way of life for medical, postal, and mine workers who frequently fly in and fly out for their respective jobs.
- BHP Billiton Iron Ore does not offer public tours on days cruise ships are in port. The ship’s excursion was excellent and narrated by a knowledgeable, personable, and friendly local guide. Other tours offered on by the cruise line included a historical tour, a beach tour, and FIFO mining experience.
Port Hedland is the fifth port as we sail from Sydney to Perth around the top of Australia on the Radiance of the Seas. She is a midsized ship in the Royal Caribbean fleet, and the favourite of many people we met onboard. We visited Bali (Indonesia) just prior to Port Hedlands, and from here we went to Geraldton, Australia. We love cruising and share our best cruising tips here.
Have you been to Port Hedland? Have you seen iron ore before?
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Disclaimer: In addition to VIP treatment onboard the Radiance of the Seas we were provided with many complimentary extras including this excursion. The opinions expressed here are strictly my own.