The staircase to the moon effect, where moonlight shines over exposed mudflats at low tide
The staircase to the moon effect, where moonlight shines over exposed mudflats at low tide

Where to see the Staircase to the Moon in Port Hedland

Port Hedland is primarily known for its pivotal role as Australia’s largest and most important bulk export port, acting as a crucial hub for the country’s iron ore exports. 

But for adventurers, it’s also the perfect place to set up base and explore the northwest of Western Australia – and one of the best places in WA to watch the Staircase to the Moon.

A unique natural phenomenon, the Staircase to the Moon is an event that occurs along the northern coast of Western Australia. At the right time of the year, tidal conditions cause the waters along the coast to subside, leaving the tidal flats exposed. 

As the moon rises, it casts reflections over the exposed sandbars, creating the illusion of a glittering staircase, from the shore to the horizon.

Here’s a quick guide on where and when to watch the Staircase to the Moon while you’re staying in Port Hedland.


Can you see the Staircase to the Moon from Port Hedland?

Yes! While the Staircase to the Moon is mostly known for its visibility in Broome, you can also see this stunning natural phenomenon in Port Hedland without needing to go further afield.

In fact, viewing the Staircase to the Moon in Port Hedland can potentially work out better. It’s somewhat of a lesser-known spot, which in general means there are fewer crowds, so it’s quieter and more relaxing. 

It allows you to see it without the hustle and bustle of Broome, elevating the experience to something that’s truly special.


Where is the best place to see the Staircase to the Moon in Port Hedland?

There’s an excitement in the air as you wait for the moon to rise, standing in the late afternoon air, gazing out over the tidal flats.

Port Hedland is perfectly situated to get fantastic views of the Staircase to the Moon, and Cooke Point is known for providing the best views in town. 

In fact, you’ll find a special viewing platform that’s been constructed there, with a boardwalk that directs you out to the beach, with a sweeping view over the sand and water.

So get there early: it’s a popular spot to spend the afternoon relaxing in the water. Then as the sun goes down, dry off, shake off the sand, and watch as the staircase starts to appear.

It’s become quite the event in town. So why not make an evening of it yourself? There are no restaurants or cafes in the nearby area, unfortunately, but it’s not far from town. 

Pack some nibbles and drinks, bring a picnic, or grab some takeaway pizza and gelato from our restaurant and get ready to settle in on the sand.


What dates and times will the Staircase to the Moon appear in Port Hedland?

The Staircase to the Moon appears between March and October each year. And yet, despite occurring for half the year, it’s a phenomenon that’s only visible for three nights each month at full moon. 

It’s a fleeting experience which makes it all the more special – viewing times can vary between 6:00pm all the way to 9:00pm later in the year. 


Dates and times for the Staircase to the Moon 2023

For the most up-to-date information on viewing times, The Port Hedland Visitors Centre has a calendar that you can check out to find the best dates and times to view it. 

Otherwise, speak with our staff at reception, and we can tell you which times will fit in with your Port Hedland trip.

Below is the latest information on when to watch out for this beautiful phenomenon:


Saturday 30 September – 7:02pm

Sunday 1 October – 8:03pm

Monday 2 October – 9:05pm



Saturday 29 October – 6:45pm

Sunday 30 October – 7:48pm

Monday 31 October – 8:50pm


Looking for accommodation with a view? Stay with us at The Hedland Hotel

Our Port Hedland accommodation is the perfect place to stay when you’re in town to see the Staircase to the Moon, just a five-minute drive from the town’s best viewing spot. 

With a range of excellent facilities, you can soak in the ocean views from your room, or spend the day lounging by the pool before you head out to Cooke Point. 

After viewing, stop on by to grab dinner at Rays, our hotel’s own bar and restaurant.

Our friendly staff can even give you their tips on the best things to do during your time in Port Hedland.

So when you’re chasing the Staircase to the Moon, make sure to book your stay with us at the right time of the year to catch this stunning natural phenomenon.