The Pilbara region of Western Australia, previously only known for its stark landscape and relative emptiness, is proving an unlikely hit with tourists.
Pilbara in the north of WA isn't known for much, its previous claim to fame was being home to 'the world's toughest pub' for a brief period in the 70s (according to the Sunday Telegraph).
While the population remains low today, the region is experiencing an unprecedented boom of industry due to its abundance of natural resources.
The Australian economy is currently going from strength to strength off the back of the resource industry but as mines expand and the region is further explored, tourists are also being attracted to the region to see the reality of the work that is keeping Australia's economy out of the dire conditions in Europe and the US.
The towering piles of deep red earth and the burgeoning infrastructure such as docks, railways and ports have already attracted the attention of five cruise liners who have booked visits there next year.
"I would say that it is such a different port of call and there's a bit of popularity around industrial tourism at the moment, said Steed Farrell, spokesperson for Port Hedland Port Authority (PHPA).
"It's just something that's totally different. The mining boom is still in full swing and I think people are very keen to see where it's all happening and Port Hedland is pretty much the main gateway to the Pilbara."
Mr Farrell's comments were echoed by PHPA Chief Director Roger Johnson who said people were curious to see an operation unlike anywhere else in the world:
"Not only is this a great opportunity for the port and the town of Port Hedland, but also for the hundreds of tourists who will get the chance to witness operations at the world's largest bulk export port first hand."
If you'd like to see the mines of Pilbara, you'll need an Australian Travel Visa
. The most popular of these is the ETA Visa
, because it can be easily and quickly applied for online.