Beach water washing up onto the shore
Beach water washing up onto the shore

Our guide to Karratha’s best beaches

Situated on the northwest coast of Australia, Karratha is a tropical town that tends to fly under the radar, particularly when it comes to its beaches.

Known for its hot summers and warmer winters, Karratha is surrounded by some of WA’s most rugged, yet most beautiful, landscapes. It’s the gateway to the glittering turquoise water of the Dampier Archipelago. And yet, despite this, it’s not the first place people think of when they plan a tropical getaway.

But it should be.

So when you’re researching things to see in Karratha, its beaches should be at the top of your list. They’re the best places to cool off after a hot Pilbara day.

Here are our favourite beaches in Karratha, which are a must-visit the next time you’re here.

Back Beach

Imaginatively named, Back Beach lies just out the back of Karratha. The closest beach to town, it’s less than 10 minutes away, and extremely easy to get to—you don’t even need a 4WD.

It’s a wide, open beach, white sand and tiny shells making up the shoreline, and flanked by rocks for the kids to explore. Complete with picnic and barbecue facilities, and a public toilet, it’s a great spot to spend the day.

However, be aware that swimming at Back Beach relies on the tide. This isn’t usually a problem, as high tide typically hits during the middle hours of the day, making it perfect for a midday swim. And at low tide, the water goes way out, which lends itself to some striking sunrise and sunset photography.

Whitnell Bay

Whitnell Bay is an easy 20-minute drive from Karratha. A beautifully sunny beach, fringed by a sandy shoreline and rocky coves, it’s the perfect beach for swimming, snorkelling, and fishing, and for the kids to explore among the rocks and rock pools.

A big plus for Whitnell Bay is that you can swim at any time, and don’t have to check the tides.

King Bay

Located just a bit further out of town at the beginning of the Burrup Peninsula, King Bay is another popular swimming destination. While a shorter beach, it’s easily accessible, and like Whitnell Bay you can swim there any time, without relying on the tides.

Hearson’s Cove

Hearson’s Cove is the quintessential Pilbara beach. Beautiful and serene, with warm blue water, and a wide, white beach, it’s just a 25-minute drive out of Karratha. With toilet facilities, a barbecue pit, and a shaded picnic area, it’s the perfect beach to spend the day at.

It’s dog-friendly, with generally calm waters that make it perfect for stand up paddleboarding and kayaking.

So bring your friends, bring the family, and make a day of it.

While swimming at Hearson’s Cove is only possible at high tide, this typically falls around the middle of the day, making it the ideal spot to refresh in the middle of a hot Pilbara summer.

During low tide, though, the water stays out for hundreds of metres, exposing the tidal mudflats, which in itself is a fantastic experience—and one of the prime spots to see the Staircase to the Moon.

Dampier Foreshore

While technically in Dampier, the Dampier Foreshore is close enough that we consider it one of Karratha’s beaches. Popular swimming spots here are Hampton Beach, and the disconcertingly-named Shark Cage Beach. But don’t worry: it’s a popular spot to stop and have a picnic, with plenty of shady trees, shower facilities, and public toilets.

Miaree Pool

While it’s not an ocean beach, Miaree Pool is a gorgeous spot to visit when you want to cool down after relaxing in the sun.

Located around half an hour south of town, you can find this freshwater swimming hole nestled on the Nullagine River. Known for its beautifully warm water, and surrounded by lush greenery, it’s the perfect spot to jump into the water, or bring the kayak and paddle around.

And to put your mind at ease, given its location inland, crocodiles don’t swim this far upstream.

The beach not your thing?

You don’t have to go far just to take a dip.

If sand and waves aren’t really your thing, you can relax, cool off, and spend the day lazing beside our pool at the Karratha International Hotel. Located right next to Luce Bar e Cibo, pop on over for a sophisticated Italian cocktail, or even dine poolside, pairing your fresh, Pilbara-inspired meals with local and international wines.

It’s the perfect spot to swim and relax without having to leave the hotel at all.

Ask our staff for their favourite things to see in Karratha

But these are just our recommendations. Your best bet? Get out and explore!

The next time you visit Karratha, be sure to ask our staff about their favourite beaches; they’ll be happy to tell you.

So book your room at the Karratha International Hotel. Comfortable and well-appointed, we’re perfectly situated to make the most of your holiday here.