Mining towns urge nomads to ‘forgive and forget’

Published: June 11, 2015

While many grey nomads remain resentful of the less than enthusiastic welcome they were given by some mining towns during the boom times, there is some evidence that many are now prepared to ‘forgive and forget’.

Certainly, the downturn in the iron ore industry has left many communities in Western Australia’s Pilbara region’s more appreciative of the benefits that tourism can bring.

“There wasn’t a spot in the caravan park for the tourists to park their caravans because it was taken up by a construction worker,” Local member for the Pilbara, Brendon Grylls, told the ABC.  “The perception of tourism in the Pilbara has taken a bit of a battering.”

He said that, during the mining boom, grey nomads in their caravans and motorhomes were driving between the Ningaloo Reef and Broome without stopping … but that is now changing.

“We now need to work hard to promote the spectacular coast,” said Mr Grylls. “The Dampier Archipelago, Karijini and Millstream are our well-known sites but increasingly also the events we hold in the Pilbara.”

Despite the challenges ahead both in terms of affordability and perception, Baz Harris from the from the Karratha Visitor Centre says ‘real strides’ are now being made in prioritising tourism.

“For our part of the Pilbara, tourism has been neglected for the last decade,” he told the ABC. “It’s a good five years behind, but it’s heading in the right direction.”

* Have you ‘bypassed’ the Pilbara in the past? Is it back on your ‘to visit’ list now?

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7 years ago

We have visited Karratha many times over the last 10 years. The price of the caravan parks has always and still are outrageous even now when the one closest to town (We went past less than an hour ago) is nearly empty. Someone here at 40 mile camp stayed there last week and said it cost $44 per night. And it aint flash. According to him.
The Karratha council has changed the 3 month max stay to 28 days, some people agree with that, others are most unhappy. The fees went from $7 per night to $10 but will rise to $15 on July first this year, Cleaverville the other side of Karratha is the same, or so we have been told. The big sign looks good but I imagine that’s the work of the Main Roads Dept. We didn’t see that sign when we went past today.
We love it at both 40 mile and Cleaverville and have no doubt we will return. We also stay near Old Onslow at the Ashburton River most years but the shopping centre at Karratha is much better.

jack alexander
7 years ago

Dunno about forgive an forget, had a wonderful time in Wa but the attitude problem I found with rangers etc, & WA’s anti camping laws still leaves a bad taste in my mouth,


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