We acknowledge the traditional owners and custodians of the land Pannawonica is situated on, the Kurrama People.

Pannawonica is a 'closed town', meaning it’s largely a mining town with facilities limited for visitors and accommodation often reserved for mining staff. Tourists are welcome to visit the town but cannot stay on a long term or permanent basis.

The town’s many facilities include a post office, library, supermarket, tavern and hotel, bank and a service station. The public swimming pool is always a popular spot during summer. Likewise, the open-air cinema: when they’re showing a movie, pop in, it’s free of charge.

The origin of the name ‘Pannawonica’ comes from the local Kurrama people meaning ‘the hill that comes from the sea.’ Pannawonica is also just a short drive from Robe River which has plenty of space and shade to enjoy a dip and some impressive picnic spots.

When you’re passing, you can’t miss stopping at The Boot Tree. The Boot Tree has become a local tradition amongst passing travellers and locals to leave a boot behind on the tree.



The town as we know it today was built in 1970 to house employees of an iron ore mine.

However, there is also a folktale behind the history of Pannawonica. The traditional story is that Pannawonica Hill was once an island over which two local groups were in dispute, until a sea spirit decided to resolve the dispute by moving the hill inland. As the hill was dragged over the land it left a deep indentation or scar which became the Robe River. That is how Pannawonica got its local landmark, Pannawonica Hill.


Pannawonica Rodeo

For a small town like Pannawonica, the Robe River Rodeo is the highlight of the year. In fact, the population more than doubles for this heart-pumping weekend. It’s an authentic outback blockbuster with all the spontaneity, action and mayhem that only a hooves and horns event can muster.

A thoroughly entertaining show, quickly gaining Australia-wide notoriety, it’s now considered an unmissable showcase on the Northwest calendar. With big-hats, boots and a fearless attitude, rodeo riders from far and wide arrive to take on the tough and talented locals. A good old-fashioned riding competition, there’s nothing in the Northwest that compares with this event. Championed by the local community, the surrounding pastoral properties, cattle stations, mining companies and support businesses across WA, it attracts a bustling crowd.

The rodeo grounds are located on the outskirts of Pannawonica with free camping for visitors. For more information please visit:

Millstream Chichester National Park

Pannawonica is a good place to refuel and obtain supplies before heading east into Millstream Chichester National Park [link to this destination page], which is only 1.5 hours from Pannawonica along the Millstream - Yarraloola Road. Please note the Millstream - Yarraloola Road is unsuitable for buses, caravans, trailers or two wheel drive vehicles. It is recommended that the road only be travelled by well prepared 4WD vehicles and that travellers notify the Pannawonica Police or the Millstream Ranger of their intention to travel.

How to get to Pannawonica

Pannawonica is located 1423km north of Perth via Geraldton and Carnarvon. It is situated 47km on a sealed road off the North West Coastal Highway, between the Onslow turn off and Fortescue Roadhouse.