Karratha is located in WA’s famous Pilbara region. Some 1500km north of Perth, Karratha was developed in the 1960s to support Hamersley Iron’s iron ore operations and continued to grow thanks to its proximity to the offshore North West Shelf natural gas project.
With a population of about 12,000 people, it’s a major centre in the region. It’s not just a mining town, it’s also a port – exporting much of the regions primary resources from close to where they are mined or captured. Local mining operations include iron ore, sea salt, natural gas and ammonia. Major industry players include Rio Tinto and Hamersley Iron.
Karratha is also the nearest centre to Chevron’s multi-billion dollar Gorgon Gas Project, which is a massive sub-sea project, including a liquefied natural gas plant which is being built on Barrow Island. It is believed the gas fields contain 35.3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and may be operable for some 60 years.
Karratha has the Pilbara’s largest shopping centre, Centro Karratha, where you will find all your grocery and other retail needs. The town has fast food outlets, five primary schools, two high schools, a TAFE centre with a university attached, pharmacies, dental practices and an airport.
If there is one thing that can be said for Karratha, it’s that it is hot. In summer, you can expect maximum temperatures of about 37C on average. In winter, the average maximum is about 14C. You’ll also need to look out for cyclones at the right time of year. But the pay-off for the heat and the occasional storm – the region is stunningly beautiful. Karijini National Park, with its amazing gorges, is not far.