Marble Bar, WA: Destination Guide

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It might be the hottest town in Australia, but the equally warm reception with which Marble Bar greets travellers means you shouldn't overlook it on your next desert voyage.

Read on to discover the best things to do and see in Marble Bar, or find and book accommodation in Marble Bar today.

About Marble Bar

The gold rushes of the late 1880s saw hopeful prospectors flock to the Pilbara, and it was in 1891, after gold was found near Marble Bar, that the town itself was established. The swift boom of local goldfields saw the population of Marble Bar swell out to over 5000 at its peak, and the construction of the Comet Gold Mine in the 1930s kept the numbers healthy, but since then the population has slowly declined.

That’s not to say that any of the original sparkle has left Marble Bar. Named for what was mistakenly thought to be a slab of marble (later discovered to be red jasper), the undeniable charm of Marble Bar is obvious in its welcoming inhabitants, gilt-laden history and magnificent desert beauty. So don’t be put off by the heat, Marble Bar is a thriving community just waiting for you to visit.

Things to Do

No visit to Marble Bar is complete without visiting the Bar itself. Originally thought to be marble (hence the name), the huge rock formation of red jasper that is located on the outskirts of town is believed to have been formed over 3400 million years ago. No matter what time of day you visit, the way the light dances on the Bar - picking up the dazzling colours of the quartz mineral that are ingrained in the rock face, it’s a spectacular sight. Walking and exploring along the Bar is highly recommended, however if you have a 4WD, venturing further to discover the many gorges of Marble Bar, including Kitty’s Gap and Doolena Gorge, are also worth getting off the beaten track for.

The long-standing effects of the 1880s gold rush are still evident in the township, with many of the now heritage buildings and government offices that popped up to support the sudden population growth still visible and worth paying attention to. Even the pub, the Iron Clad, is on the register of heritage places, so it would be rude not to stop in and enjoy an icy cold beer.


Corunna Downs Airbase

One of the best-kept secrets of WWI, and a surprising feature of Marble Bar, is the Corunna Downs Airbase. The longest bombing raid flown anywhere set off from the base in 1943, and it is thanks to some superior camouflage work – involving spinifex and netting - that the Japanese never discovered its location. Nowadays it’s more of an abandoned airfield, but the runways, remnants of buildings and aircraft revetments that have been left behind still make it an intriguing location.

Chinaman’s Pool

For the best place to cool down in Marble Bar, head to Chinaman’s Pool, only a few minutes’ drive from the centre of town. The crystal-clear waterhole - also a great picnic spot - provides welcome relief from the heat, while still allowing you to take in the ruggedly striking landscape surrounding the pool. The abundance of bird and wildlife that flock to the area are also worth keeping an eye out for too, but it’s when the sun starts to go down over the gleaming rocks that this oasis really comes alive.

Marble Bar Museum

In March 2015, after years of planning and much preparation, federal Labor politician and former resources minister Gary Gray opened the new Marble Bar Museum (and The Residence Bistro, with real coffee, next door) in the government buildings on McLeod Close. With support from Fortescue Metals Group and Atlas Iron, the new museum includes displays covering the Indigenous inhabitants, transport and communication, and the local pastoral and mining industries.

Getting to Marble Bar

Marble Bar is located in the East Pilbara region of Western Australia.

By car

The closest major town to Marble Bar is Port Hedland, which is approximately 202km away. The trip from Port Hedland to Marble Bar takes around two and a half hours, along the sealed Port Hedland Road.

When to visit Marble Bar

Marble Bar doesn’t mess around when it comes to extreme weather conditions, and the moniker of ‘Hottest Town in Australia’ has not been bestowed lightly. With the highest recorded temperature being 49.2°C in 1922, and the mercury regularly topping 45°C as recently as the summer of 2014-15, be prepared for this arid climate to produce scorching temperatures if you visit in summer.

That being said, if you stopover between May and September, you should experience mild to warm conditions making it an ideal time to explore Marble Bar and its surrounding attractions.

Where to stay in Marble Bar

 For more accommodation options in and around Marble Bar, click here.