Marble Bar; an unexpected favourite
We’ve visited a lot of places in WA, and some have been great, and others have exceeded our expectations considerably. In our latest 6 week trip, we spent about a week around the Marble Bar area, and completely fell in love.
I don’t know why, but I’d always thought of Marble bar as a remote, bland and boring town with nothing around it, and I couldn’t have been more wrong. The town is small, clean, well looked after and has some of the most stunning scenery and attractions around it. It just proves to old saying; ‘You don’t know what you don’t know!’
Marble Bar stood head and shoulders above some of the other places we visited, to the point that we’ve arranged another Pilbara trip next month, purely to explore some of the other Pilbara and Marble Bar attractions.
It really is well and truly worth putting on your list of places to travel to, especially if you already enjoy the Pilbara area (and you should; its beautiful), and you like getting off grid and bush camping in spectacular places.
Where is Marble Bar?
You’ll find Marble Bar about 290 km north of Newman, and 410 km from Tom Price. Its also 210 km from Port Hedland, and 310 km from the well known Karijini National Park.
If you are coming from the south you might go through Nullagine, which is 90km away. Auski Roadhouse is 260km south east, Pardoo Roadhouse is 170 – 250km north (depending on which way you go), Port Hedland is 200km north west and Newman is 310km south.
About Marble Bar
Marble Bar has been coined the hottest town in Australia. Its also part of the largest shire in the world, and is busy with various mining activities, and tourism.
It was called Marble Bar after early visitors mistook the rocks as Marble. Today, we know they are Jasper Rocks, and you can go to Marble Bar itself (just out of town) to see the big Jasper rocks, or head to the Jasper deposit where you are able to take a few chunks home (but don’t take it from anywhere else or you risk a 10k fine!)
What’s at Marble Bar?
Marble Bar has a caravan park, a small general store, a pub, dump point, toilets, museum, rubbish bins and fresh drinking water available. Its well set up for caravans to pull in and re-stock, and you can get fuel 24 hours a day at their fuel station.
When we visited it was $1.75 a litre, and its probably more with what’s going on today. This is a remote town, and you should expect to pay considerably more for everything that you need. The attractions around Marble Bar make it completely worth it though, and there’s plenty of places to go.
We filled up with fuel twice, after hanging around for about a week, and grabbed some basic essentials (milk, bread etc) and continued on through.
What attractions around Marble Bar are worth a visit?
A short drive out of Marble Bar lies Chinamans Pool, a stunning spot with plenty of grass to pull up on and have lunch.
It’s popular for everyone, including those travelling through to pull in with their vans to have lunch. Fishing is common, with some decent Barramundi pulled out each year if you know where to look!
Marble Bar Pool
Just south of Chinaman’s Pool is Marble Bar Pool, a smaller, and shallower pool that backs onto a big chunk of Jasper Rock, which is stunning with a bit of water thrown onto it. Don’t take Jasper from here, or you’ll cop a big fine.
Our kids loved playing in the Marble Bar Pool, and we floated around for a couple of hours soaking it all up.
Marble Bar Jasper Deposit
If you’d like to take some Jasper, you can head to the deposit and do so. We didn’t visit, but its only just down the road a bit further, and a lot of people recommend it as an attractions
A hugely popular camp site about 150km East of Marble Bar is Carawine Gorge. This is nothing short of spectacular, and its completely free.
There are no amenities, and you’ll have to put up with big Brahman cows walking around near your camp (they are big, beautiful animals that will leave you alone) but its a spectacular spot.
You can fish here, stand up paddle board, kayak, or just sit by the banks and enjoy the spectacular scenery. It is private property, so leave it pristine for everyone else to enjoy, and most importantly the land owners, who allow everyone to camp there.
On the blog post I wrote about Running Waters, I said it might just be the most amazing place that I’ve ever been to in Australia, and that’s a huge call.
Ever since hearing about it, I’ve been wanting to visit and the location did not disappoint. Running Waters is a pristine water hole that is spring fed by cold water from little streams and hot water which bubbles out of the ground.
The result is a big, natural pool with a couple of camp sites right next to the water that is nice and warm up one end, and changes to a more normal water temperature the further you swim down.
Skull Springs Road
To get to Running Waters, you’ll have to drive along some of Skull Spring Road. We’ve only done the Carawine Gorge side, and look forward to heading back to do the rest of the road.
It’s got a number of water holes and water crossings along the track, and its pristine Pilbara remoteness. The red dirt gets into your blood, and you just hang to get back there!
On our way from Barn Hill to Marble Bar, we stayed a couple of nights at Coppins Gap. It’s accessible by gravel in either direction, and takes you to a huge break in the middle of a big rock formation, which has a couple of lovely (but freezing) pools. Camping is completely free, and we had a lovely time here.
Just 35 minutes north of Marble Bar lies Doolena Gorge, another brilliant free camp with stunning scenery. This would look absolutely incredible after a big dump of rain, but it’s still a great, easy to access location only a couple of minutes off the main road.
We heard a lot of people rave about Coongan Pool, and given its just across the road from Dooleena Gorge, we called in to take a look. You have to open and close a gate, and expect it to be busy.
As it turns out, even if we’d wanted to camp there was probably no room left. Given how easy this is to get to, and the fact that it also costs nothing, a lot of people end up here.
We preferred the peace and quiet at Coppins Gap, but you are a fair way away, so it makes sense.
Glen Herring Gorge
On our way from Marble Bar to Karijini, we were going to spend a night at Glen Herring Gorge. It’s just off the well maintained Hillside Marble Bar road, which is gravel, and takes you to the Great Northern Highway.
We pulled into Glen Herring Gorge and had a walk around, and despite being a stunning place the water level was already quite low, and the pools were going stagnant.
Earlier in the season though, it’d be a fantastic free camp in the Pilbara, with a couple of spots that you can stay at.
We actually ended up further along at Tambina Creek, which has a number of camp sites next to a nice, big pool of water. It was big enough and deep enough to have a swim in, and we loved the bird life.
Put Marble Bar on your bucket list
If you haven’t been to Marble Bar, do it. Put it on the list, and spend a couple of days exploring the area. We will be back in a few months because we completely fell in love with it, and I reckon you might too.
Have you been to Marble Bar? What did you think of it?