One can easily visit the Pinnacles Desert that centers on the towns of Cervantes, Jurien Bay, and Leeman. Cervantes has decent places to stay and has several excellent restaurants. It can be done as a day trip, a day tour, or it is easy to stay over and explore some of the other things this area has to offer.
In the Pinnacles Desert thousands of limestone pillars rise out of the landscape of yellow sand. They can be as much as five meters tall. Some are jagged columns that may rise to a point, others resemble boulders or tombstones; each is different. Situated along the “Turquoise Coast” the pinnacles were formed from seashells in another period with abundant marine life. Washed ashore this material has formed three ancient systems of sand dunes that parallel the coast. Leaching of lime from the sand and with the wind (Aeolian processes) shaping them, the pinnacles were created by both mineral and organic forces of nature. Rain added enough moisture to cement these bases. After that, plant roots grew into cracks forming an armature for further “growth” of the pinnacles with quartz sand filling the cracks created by the roots.
Things to know about the Pinnacles:
- The Pinnacles Desert is an easy drive from Perth, about two hours. The drive itself is peaceful and scenic.
- 94% of over 500 visitors considered the experience of visiting the Pinnacles in Cervantes as a very good or excellent experience.
- One can drive their car on a marked trail in the Pinnacles that certainly affords a lot of beautiful scenery. This takes at most several hours.
- There is a 4-5 km hike through the small Painted Desert area in Nambung National Park. The park provides many services including disability accessible toilet facilities, barbecuing, picnicking, swimming and snorkeling, fishing, and much tourist information.
- There are many operators that offer various day trips or extended trips to the Pinnacles such as Kandu Holidays in Perth. Sunrise and sunset tours provide a unique view of this wonder of nature.
- There is a relatively new Pinnacles Desert Discovery Center. Here one can view interpretive displays and other multi-media offerings of the Pinnacles and the rest of the Nambung Park area. The Desert View Trail departs from the Center parking lot. It is not a rigorous hike and returns through the Pinnacles Desert. (1.5 km, 45 minutes.)
- Bring your camera. Many photographers have come from abroad simply to photograph the stark beauty of these desert structures. In this circumstance a day tour that gets you there at sunrise is a must. According to the actor Tom Hanks playing Forrest Gump, “The desert, when the sun comes up…I couldn’t tell where heaven stopped and the Earth began.”
There are desert formations throughout the world’s deserts-California, New Mexico, Egypt- to mention a few. This particular park and its Pinnacle tours in Western Australia is described by many visitors as “one of the world’s wonders, should be on everyone’s bucket list, a do not miss experience, fabulous trip,” and so on. If you plan a trip to the Outback of western Australia, this is a must.
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