East Pilbara Diversion

StartClick to Reverse the Dynamic Map and Driving NotesEighty Mile Beach Caravan Park
DifficultyDifficulty 3/5
Suitable For4WD 
Distance793.87 km
Minimum Days3
Average Speed70.31 km/hr
Travel Time11 hrs 17 mins
Page Updated: 2 Jul 2022


The Pilbara region is one of the oldest landscapes on earth. It covers a vast area of magnificent ranges, gorges and deserts. The Pilbara is generally accessed by two major road arteries - the North West Coastal Highway, which is best for accessing the west of the region and the fringing coastline of the Gascoyne or the Great Northern Highway, which passes through Newman in the east of the region.

This Trek Note however, explores the east side of the Pilbara via the Shay Gap offroad track departing the North West Coastal Highway near Eighty Mile Beach (east of Port Hedland). The route then traverses through abandoned mining settlements, remote gorges, and remote tracks to the east of Marble Bar, Nullagine and Newman. This has long been an area with idyllic campsites, however major cyclones in the past have made devastating effects on Eel Pool (Running Waters) and the campsites at Carrawine Gorge however these do regenerate. Please update current photos and descriptions when you visit in Places.

(Note - further east of the Telfer Road you can access Australia's most remote National Park - Rudall River and even further east along the Wapet Track pick up the Canning Stock Route trek note near Well 33 and the Kunawarritji Aboriginal Community (fuel, supplies).

How to Use this Trek Note

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The Pilbara region can be divided into 3 distinct areas: a large coastal plain, inland ranges and an arid desert region extending into Australia’s dry centre (which on ExplorOz we categorise as the Western Deserts).

The Pilbara is predominantly arid, with high temperatures, low and variable rainfall and high evaporation. The temperate averages 25°C in winter to 32°C in summer. The north-west of the region is influenced by the summer monsoon, bringing cyclones. The town of Marble Bar in the eastern Pilbara actually holds the record for the longest hot spell in the world with 160 days over 30°C. It is commonly referred to as "Australia's hottest town".

The Pilbara is one of a handful of locations in the world where rocks older than 3.2 billion years are preserved at the surface of the Earth. Geologists call the period they were formed the "Early Archaean". No-one knows for sure when life first began on Earth, but looking at the rocks of the Pilbara, scientists have found signs that life may have been present when the rocks were deposited - 3.2 billion years ago. The best signs currently available include structures known as stromatolites or "layered rocks" of which there are numerous sites in the Pilbara.


Based on archaeological evidence, it is believed that thirty distinct socio-linguistic Aboriginal groups lived in the Pilbara region prior to European settlement.

Although Dutch explorers visited the Pilbara coastline in the early 1600s, settlement of the Pilbara region did not occur until the 1860s, some 30 years after the colonisation of Perth. Pastoralism and prospecting dominated the region’s economy for about 100 years. The Pilbara was declared a "Goldfield" in 1888 with prospectors flocking to Bamboo Creek, Marble Bar and the Nullagine fields.

In 1968 the introduction of a pastoral award meant farmers could not afford to pay full wages to the station workers. This resulted in a massive movement of Aboriginal people away from the inland stations to the coastal towns.

Almost every imaginable mineral has been found and mined in the Pilbara region, peaking with the nickel and iron boom times of the 1960s and 70s which resulted in the establishment of nine new towns - Dampier, Tom Price, Paraburdoo, South Hedland, Newman, Wickham, Pannawonica, Goldsworthy (now closed) and Shay Gap (now closed).

In the 1960s and 1970s, discoveries of oil and natural gas off the north west shelf were also made, and in the 70’s and 80’s the development of these resources expanded the region’s economy and population enormously.

Today, tourism is playing an ever-increasing role in the regions economy.

TrekID: 76


MUST READ: You are strongly encouraged to read the following articles prepared by the knowledge experts at ExplorOz for your safety and preparation before undertaking any published ExplorOz Trek - Outback Safety, Outback Driving Tips, Outback Communications, and Vehicle Setup for the Outback.


Please refer to Road Reports published by the local shire and/or main roads for the area you intend to visit. Road/Track conditions can change significantly after weather events. Travellers must be responsible for their own research on current conditions and track suitability.


None - unless you wish to fossick around the Nullagine area.

Fuel Usage

There is also fuel available at 80 Mile Beach Caravan Park.
4cyl 111 litres4cyl 128 litres4cyl 159 litres
6cyl 122 litres6cyl 181 litres *6cyl 140 litres
8cyl 122 litres8cyl 132 litres
Usage is averaged from recorded data (* specific to this trek) and calculated based on trek distance.

Best Time To Visit

Closest Climatic Station

Marble Bar
Distance from Trek Mid Point 63.46km NW
Mean Max. °C41.439.437.
Mean Min. °C26.726.224.922.116.913.
Mean Rain mm70.686.980.918.613.427.919.
    Best time to travel      Ok time to travel      Travel NOT recommended


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Eighty Mile Beach Caravan Park to Great Northern Hwy & Eighty Mile Beach Rd
Driving: 9.12 km
Heading: 174°
Avg Speed: 68.5 km/hr
EST Time: 07:59
Great Northern Hwy & Eighty Mile Beach Rd to Great Northern Hwy & Boreline Rd
Driving: 50.89 km
Heading: 253°
Avg Speed: 90.16 km/hr
EST Time: 33:51
Great Northern Hwy & Boreline Rd to Marble Bar
Driving: 170.22 km
Heading: 200°
Avg Speed: 81 km/hr
EST Time: 02:06:05
Marble Bar to Chinamans Pool
Driving: 3.69 km
Heading: 260°
Avg Speed: 56.6 km/hr
EST Time: 03:54
Chinamans Pool to Marble Bar
Driving: 3.69 km
Heading: 80°
Avg Speed: 56.6 km/hr
EST Time: 03:54
Marble Bar to Tumbinna Pool
Driving: 83.14 km
Heading: 95°
Avg Speed: 78.58 km/hr
EST Time: 01:03:28
Tumbinna Pool to Nullagine River Bush Camp
Driving: 0.52 km
Heading: 62°
Avg Speed: 66.42 km/hr
EST Time: 00:28
Nullagine River Bush Camp to Carawine Gorge
Driving: 89.39 km
Heading: 117°
Avg Speed: 78.08 km/hr
EST Time: 01:08:41
Carawine Gorge to Two Sisters
Driving: 25.46 km
Heading: 96°
Avg Speed: 58.04 km/hr
EST Time: 26:19
Two Sisters to Parking Area
Driving: 28.84 km
Heading: 180°
Avg Speed: 59.72 km/hr
EST Time: 28:58
Parking Area to Nullagine
Driving: 138.21 km
Heading: 257°
Avg Speed: 51.61 km/hr
EST Time: 02:40:40
Nullagine to Jimblebar Junction
Driving: 173.44 km
Heading: 189°
Avg Speed: 89.59 km/hr
EST Time: 01:56:09
Jimblebar Junction to Newman
Driving: 17.26 km
Heading: 247°
Avg Speed: 79.11 km/hr
EST Time: 13:05
Distance is based on the travel mode shown (Driving, Straight, Cycling, Walking etc), Direction is straight line from start to end, Avg Speed & EST Time is calculated from GPS data.

What to See

Easily accessible gorges, great camping, good views, mining ruins, fossicking.


Where to Stay

Services & Supplies

80 Mile Beach Caravan Park sell a good range of food supplies, Marble Bar has a small store (not open Sundays) and Nullagine has a small supermarket.


Related Travel Journals

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