The Pinnacles Desert, often simply referred to as The Pinnacles, are an unusual collection of limestone formations located inside the Nambung National Park. The national park is situated near Cervantes some 200km north of Perth. Relatively unknown until the 1960s, the Pinnacles Desert, and the associated Numbung National Park, now host more than 250,000 visitors a year.
What can you see and do in the Pinnacles Desert?
- The Pinnacles – What remains so interesting about the Pinnacles Desert site is that, despite many scientific studies, there is no concrete reason as to how the Pinnacles came to be formed. There are thousands of limestone formations, bursting out of dune sands at heights of up to four metres tall. Around the sandy area, the land is still green and blooming, making the contrast even starker. A number of theories have been put forward about how the Pinnacles were formed, from a combination of wind-blown sand and rain, to the Pinnacles as calcrete preserved tree casts.
- Pinnacles Desert Discovery Centre – Completed in 2008, the Pinnacles Desert Discovery Centre is a perfect starting place to better understand the unusual attraction. The centre sits at the edge of the Pinnacles Desert, and has been designed with solar panels to fit into the surrounding area. The centre contains displays, soundscapes, videos and objects explaining the natural formation of the pinnacles, and the cultural heritage values of the area. There is also a retail gallery with souvenirs for visitors so they can remember their trip to the Pinnacles.
- Beaches and Lakes – The area might be most famous for the Pinnacles Desert, but the Nambung National Park is also home to two beautiful beaches, Kangaroo Point and Hangover Bay. The beaches offer isolated beauty, with options for fishing, swimming, snorkelling and surfing. Both beaches are near the Jurien Bay Marine Park, a protected area that covers around 100km of coast. Lake Thetis is the area’s other water-based attractions. The lake has attracted attention due to the large number of thrombolites at the lake’s edge. These rock-like structures are built by micro-organisms too small for people to see. They are a rare living example of the once dominant organisms of the planet, giving a chance for people to view the earliest form of life on Earth.
- Walking Trails – There are a number of small walking tracks and trails in the area that visitors to the Pinnacles Desert and Nambung National Park can use to explore the area in an environmentally friendly way. A favourite track is the Desert View Trail, a 1.5 kilometre track that starts at the Pinnacles Desert Discovery Centre and makes its way through the Pinnacles area in a 45 minute return walk. The other popular walk is the Lake Thetis Loop Trail, another 1.5 kilometres track that follows the shoreline and provides opportunities for visitors to learn about the unique organisms in the lake environment.
|Standard Fee||Concession Fee|
|Vehicle – less than 12 occupants||$12||$6|
|Vehicle – 13 or more occupants||$5.50 per occupant, 6 years and older||$1.70 per occupant|
- Best Time To Visit – In terms of day-to-day visiting, the best time to go to the Pinnacles Desert is early in the morning or very late in the afternoon. Visiting at this time means you can fully enjoy the changing light from sunrise or sunset on the Pinnacles, making the experience even more interesting. During the year, the best time is between September and October when the wildflowers are blooming, adding bursts of colour to the entire park.
- Eating and Drinking – The Nambung National Park area has facilities including toilets and BBQs located at various locations. There are no shops or eateries inside the park area so you will need to bring your own food and water with you.
- Nearby Attractions – If you’re planning on taking a day trip to the Pinnacles Desert and Nambung National Park, consider seeing some of the other attractions in the area. The town of Cervantes is famed for its enormous lobster industry and certainly the best place to enjoy the seafood fresh. Another small town, Lancelin, is known for having the largest sand dunes in Western Australia, which lend themselves to sand boarding and a range of other activities.
- Car – The Pinnacles Desert and Nambung National Park are located about 2.5 hours outside of Perth. It is possible to undertake the trip in a 2WD car. Go on State Route 60, follow it down to Hansen Road in Nambung and take the Pinnacles Drive turnoff.
- Tour – The other popular method of visiting the Pinnacles Desert and surrounding national park area is to take a day trip from Perth. This is often preferred as it offers visitors a chance to see more than just the Pinnacles. There are a number of tours on offer, including a 4WD Day Tour, a Wildflowers Day Tour and a Three Day Highlights Tour.
- The Pinnacles have found their way into a number of modern popular culture pieces including Billy Connolly’s World Tour of Australia video, the music video for Standing On The Shore by Australian duo Empire of the Sun, and a 2009 Korean thriller movie called A Million.