Weipa is one of the most well known locations in Far North Queensland, and is the biggest ‘towns’ that are anywhere near Cape York.
On the way up, we decided to call in and stay a couple of nights, to see what it was like, and to stock up again before continuing on our way to the top of Australia. Whilst there, we booked onto the Weipa Mine and Town Tour, and learnt a lot.
We got on the second tour for 2023, and today, I want to share our thoughts about what it was like, whether it was worth it and if we’d recommend it. As usual, you should know that we paid full price for this tour, and this is not a sponsored plug; take our comments as our honest opinion, and that’s it.
Where does the Weipa Mine Tour Start?
The Weipa Mine and Town tour starts at the Weipa Camping grounds, just next to the pool. This seems to be where most of the customers come from, and its nice and central.
When are the tours run?
The tours are run at 8:30AM and 2PM, from May through to around October, with the exact dates dependent on a lot of different factors. Sometimes there are two a day run, and other days its just one tour.
How do you book?
These tours are booked my emailing in, or ringing/messaging a number. There’s no online booking, and the person taking the bookings works a different job too, and isn’t always able to respond quickly. We wanted to get onto an afternoon tour but couldn’t make contact, and ended up getting on the next mornings tour.
How long does it go for?
The tour goes for roughly 3 hours, and is split into two parts; the flora, fauna and history of the region, and then the mine side.
What do you do on it?
Before we left, I wasn’t too sure about what to expect. You spend 90% of your time in the bus part of a 4WD truck, and are toured around the town and mine site.
After a quick chat about the town built on bauxite outside of the Weipa Caravan Park, you head into town, and out around the single mining quarters and Kerr Point gravel road, stopping in at some nice beaches, and different sights.
A huge amount of information is passed on regarding the flora and fauna, with several samples passed around, and a number of conversations around local landmarks, trees or animals.
From there, you head along the beach in front of the camping ground, and up the 4WD track back onto the main road, into town.
A number of the different trees, and regeneration processes are spoken about, before touring the town, and stopping at the town authority for a toilet break, and chat about how the town is run (with it being on a mining lease).
From there, you head out over the longest single lane bridge in the southern hemisphere, check out the railway tracks, and then head into the mine itself, starting with the beneficiation plant, truck and train unloading and then ending at the stockpile and ship.
You don’t actually set foot on any of the mining area except for being in the truck, and with todays safety rules in mine sites I’m not even slightly surprised.
After this, you head back to the camping ground, full of a heap of knowledge.
Is it kid friendly?
Kids under 12 years old are not able to do the tour, and they’d likely not enjoy it anyway. Kids older than that might, but they quite likely wouldn’t either! It’s a lot of information, and not much ‘doing’.
You are told to wear enclosed shoes, which realistically is unnecessary as you barely leave the bus anyway, but I still dug my shoes out after not wearing them for about 8 months.
What does it cost?
Adults are $60, and kids are $50. I thought it was reasonably priced.
Is it worth it?
I did this tour with my Dad, and we both really enjoyed it. We saw some pretty nice parts of Weipa, and putting it all together was fascinating, and well worth doing.
Apparently the tour used to be feet on the floor through the mine site, and we spoke to someone who was less happy about the tour today, but we thought it was reasonable value, the tour guide was exceptional and if you are coming to Weipa, its worth doing.
If you are interested in the mining process, and ultimately the foundation of the town of Weipa, we reckon this is worth doing.
Have you done it? What did you think about it?