I have lived in Perth for 6 years and never visited this place until just recently.
After the big vt meet in Perth - April 2007, a small group of us decided on the spur of the moment to jump in the car and head up north about 3 and a half hours drive to check out the Pinnacles....and we were not dissapointed.
I totally recommend you do this trip and I'd like to share with you our adventure - link below
Pinnacle Tours have been recommended to me by a few visitors to Perth. I see their buses all the time here in Perth - so I'd like to recommend that you choose this company if you are doing a day trip to the Pinnacles - see the website below.
This was taken at a desert near the Pinnacles. This place is not easy to find at all. Found this place just minutes off the road from the Pinnacles. If you're coming back from the Pinnacles, you will see it on the left-hand side.
But all you can see from the road are ALOT of branches, plants, grass, and you have to cross all of these to see the desert. Crossing that took me almost 20 minutes! But it seemed longer than that! Got cuts on my calf. But it was WORTH all that trouble.
More about it in my Perth > Pinnacles travelogue! :-)
From our accommodation in Cervantes we went with our rental car to the Nambung National Park. After the turn off from the road to the Brand Highway - a couple of km’s outside town - it is 17 km’s over a sealed road to the entrance of the Pinnacles Desert. And after paying an admission of AUD 9,- per car we could enter.
From the beginning we were completely fascinated by the scenery we saw, which was fantastic and on the other side almost surrealistic. Thousands and thousands of limestone pillars are rising from the bright yellow desert sand. Sometimes very tiny and just above the sand, then again very sturdy rocks till a height of five metres, almost like tombstones.
We followed the one way loop road (sandy gravel) with lots of small car parks. We stopped many times and walked around and between these remarkable pillars and climbed the look-out to get a better impression of the area.
Being in the afternoon we saw just a couple of other visitors in the Pinnacles Desert. It is also a much better time to take pictures having some shadow from the rocks.
Being extremely fascinated by this breathtaking scenery we drove the loop road twice with our car. It was without any doubt one of the most intriguing landscapes we ever saw. Realising these Pinnacles are millions of years old and being made by the never ending influence of water and wind.
Directions: From Perth over Brand Highway to the north and turn off to Cervantes. Before this village is another turn off to Nambung National Park/the Pinnacles.
About 250 km's from Perth and 20 km's from Cervantes.
We reached the small village of Cervantes from New Norcia and were almost lost on Australia’s by-roads not using an appropriate road map. Cervantes is still 50 km’s from Brand Highway through more or less boring scenery of heath land. It was named after a ship - Miguel de Cervantes - that was wrecked nearby.
The most important industry is fishing, but the village is well known as starting point for visiting Nambung National Park with the famous Pinnacles Desert.
We decided for a stay in Cervantes, because it is about 250 km’s from Perth/Fremantle, having more time to see the Pinnacles and on a more appropriate time of the day without the tour buses with crowds of tourists.
If you intend to stay also in Cervantes better make a reservation, because there are not too many places to sleep:
Pinnacles Beach Backpackers & Cervantes Lodge (see accommodation tip), Cervantes Pinnacles Motel, Cervantes Holiday Homes and the Pinnacles Caravan Park.
For eating: Don Quixote’s Restaurant (closed during our stay), Europe Anchor Restaurant (motel), See Breeze Café and the local pub Ronsard Bay Tavern.
Cervantes also has a supermarket and a petrol station, but if possible try to avoid filling up your tank, because the petrol was the most expensive we had in Australia.
Directions: From Perth take the Great Northern Highway and then the Brand Highway to the north. Cervantes is signposted and 50km's from the Brand Highway.
On our way back after visiting the Pinnacles to Cervantes we were attracted by a signpost to ‘Lake Thetis’. We took the turn off and through a rather bad gravel road we reached after about 1½ kilometres this shallow lake in a more or less dreadful landscape. Lake Thetis is a very salt lake, which is fed by an underground stream.
On an information board we did read that so called ‘stromatolites’ are living in this lake. These are among the oldest living organism on earth, with samples indicating similarities with fossils from up to 3000 million years ago. The ‘stromatolites’ in Lake Thetis are supposed to be between 2000 and 3000 year old.
Walking along the borders of the lake the ‘stromatolites’ seemed to be rocky molehills. But later we realised, we had seen some rare living organism.
Just outside the village of Cervantes is a turn off to Lake Thetis.
The Pinnacles Desert, Cervantes is 257 kms north of Perth. You can drive or take a half day tour from Perth. The sandy desert is known for its peculiar limestone pillars ranging from a few centimetres in height to some towering 5 metres. They are calcified spires of around 30,000 years old which have been gradually uncovered by erosion. The main group are known as the Tombstones.
Try and visit the Pinnacles either early in the morning, when the sun is rising, or late in the afternoon. A really amazing site. The sand dunes along the coast are spectacular.
The area around Cervantes is popular with off road drivers and there are many tracks along the beach and the surrounding sand hills.
These limestone pillars are called the Pinnacles. They can be found at Nambung National Park, about 250 kms north of Perth. While this area was beautiful, it was a little bit anti-climatic. I'm not sure that I would have made a separate trip to see them, but it was well worth the photo-stop on our roadtrip up the coast.