One of Western Australia’s iconic landscapes, found roughly 200km north of Perth, are the limestone formations of the Pinnacles. Located along Australia’s Coral Coast, within the Nambung National Park, these formations stand up to four metres in height, portraying an array of faces, shapes and sizes.
Standing tall in the shifting sand dunes lies thousands of large limestone pillars that were originally believed to be a lost city. The first records of identification date back to the 1650s where the North and South Hummocks were explored by the Dutch. Following this, there are no known records of the Pinnacles until 1820 by Philip Parker King. With very little discovery, the Department of Lands and Surveys included the Pinnacles Desert in the Nambung National Park (created in 1956) in the 1960s, and it was through this inclusion that the desert became a popular destination. Since then, the park now sees up to 150,000 visitors per year.
The Pinnacles Desert has been home to Aboriginal tribes for many years – with artifacts found dating back 6,000 years – and has appeared in Aboriginal Dreamtime for many generations. It was believed that the Yuart tribe only knew a life of peaceful happiness living in this desert, teaching the children of the tribe to have great respect for the animals that shared the ‘land of crooked river’ (Nambung). Their neighbouring tribe Mulbarrn was seen hunting on their land and as a result the Lords of the Dreaming would punish them. Consequently, each year tribes who traveled to the Yuart‘s land were vanquished. It is believed that each tall limestone replaced each enemy who lay dead on their land. Throughout the years, winds have impacted the shapes of these sculptures, but remains as a testimony to the tribe’s peace-loving culture today.
Starting at the Pinnacles Desert Discovery Centre, you can discover the natural and cultural heritage values this area holds before setting off through the desert to explore this spiritual landscape. Taking your car through the desert, you will come face to face with these giant stones of shapes and sizes resembling every day objects and organisms – such as The Turtle, Casper the Ghost, and a Sea Lion balancing a ball on its nose.
Not only is the Nambung National Park home to the Pinnacles, but just outside this desert are many more natural beauties to explore. The wide sandy beach of Hangover Bay is the perfect point for windsurfing and surfing, snorkeling and swimming within the Jurien Bay Marine Park, whilst Kangaroo Point is ideal for those wanting to fish from the shore. If, however, you’re looking at exploring something more historical, a trip to Lake Thetis is highly recommended. Formed by organisms too small for the human eye to see, the Stromatolites at the lake are recognised as ‘ancient living fossils’, and a remarkable sight at that.
Spending time in the town of Cervantes is also a must, but ensure you journey to the Thirsty Point Lookout that offers panoramic views of the ocean and sand dunes below. From here, if you have time to travel slightly north, head to Jurien Bay where you can get up close to wild sea lions.
The family owned Lobster Shack, is a beachfront experience in the Cervantes. Specialising in the Western Rock Lobster, their seafood-based meals attract both locals and visitors alike.
Cervantes Bar & Bistro
Whether you’re stopping by for lunch or a feast at the end of the day, Cervantes Bar & Bistro is a stop you must make. This small restaurant boasts delicious food to enjoy before playing a game of pool in the connecting bar.
Very popular amongst locals and visitors is the relaxed Seashells Café, offering breakfast and lunch, as well as coffee and cake. With fabulous views of surrounding seaside environment, be sure to save room for their fresh homemade cakes and muffins.
Pinnacles Holiday Park
Offering both powered and unpowered sites suitable for caravans, RVs, campervans and tents, the Pinnacles Holiday Park is perfect for anyone traveling on a budget. Its great location allows easy access to beach sites, and the well-loved Seashells Café is located on site.
Cervantes Pinnacles Motel
Located four minutes from the Cervantes Golf Course, this relaxed motel caters to the needs of all travellers. The Cervantes Pinnacles Motel offers comfortable rooms to accommodate for a relaxing holiday away from the big city.
Pinnacles Edge Resort
If you’re looking for a spacious luxury apartment-style resort, the Cervantes’ Pinnacles Edge Resort is for you. Situated an easy eight minute walk from the beach, these self-contained units allow you to relax on your individual deck, soaking up the sunshine after a day of exploration.