It will cost you much less to drive yourself there. The paths around the Pinnacles are hard-packed. You don't even need a 4WD. Also, after Pinnacles, drive back to Lancelin, rent a sand board and sand board down the sand dunes. Make sure you park in the designated car park or your car will be bogged down. It will cost $500 to tow your car out of soft sand. There's also a lovely short boarding beach just outside Lancelin - Back Beach. Waves are consistent, shallow, and rolling...
You can do a day coach trip from Perth to the Nambung national park to see the Pinnacles desert or its a 4 hour drive.
We did a coach trip, which was just as well as it was a very long day and with the heat made it very tiring. Also, some of the roads we went along were not paved so would have been fun in a bog standard hire car.
On the way we visited a Koala sanctuary, ok, but not as good as the Lone Pine sanctuary in Brisbane. You can also see wild Kangeroos and Emus on the way if you look hard enough!
We also went to some huge sand dunes at Lancelin (see separate tip) and a quick stop on a gorgeous beach at Hangover bay.
The Pinnacles were really interesting. Early explorers saw them from the sea and thought they were a city. I thought they looked more like people that had been turned to stone and who moved when you were not looking (ok, maybe the heat and the drugs were kicking in here!)
They were very photogenic and I was in my element although I think they would be better to photograph at dusk rather than mid afternoon.
The only thing that spoilt it were the flies It was very hot and the flies were everywhere. Some people had nets over their hats to keep them off their faces since they have a tendancy to go for your mouth and nose. I swallowed one - gross!
Came here via Redback Safaris Tours (now seems to be called Western Xposure Tours) on a day-tour from Perth. The rate then (circa 2001) was A$98 with lunch.
The Pinnacles are to be found in Namburg National Park, a 3-hours drive from Perth.
Poking out of the yellow sand like cenotaphs from a bygone age, the spread of stabs of limestone rock give the entire place a sombre and mildly eerie feeling. In places, some of these pillars can reach up to three and a half metres tall. Some are jagged, sharp-edged columns, rising to a point; while others resemble tombstones. The sense of awe and amazement hit you as you begin to wonder through the maze, marvelling at Mother Earth's handy work.
The origin of the limestone can be traced to sea shells deposits from epochs ago when lime-rich sand began depositing across the coastline, creating sand dunes. Alternative and opposing powers of erosion (through water and wind) and calcification slowly created the foundation for the creation of the Pinnacles, a process taking thousands of years until it was believed at about 6000 years ago, when the harder calcified limestone pillars were finally revealed by the strong winds gushing the sand dunes around.
Well worth a visit but watch out for the marauding houseflies during summer. They LOVE moisture-rich us!!
What are the Pinnacles?
Millions of years ago, when the ocean level dropped nearly 300 feet, in its place were left countless shells and and a vast desert. Over time these shells and sand turned into a layer of Limestone deep beneath the sand dunes.
Soon plants and trees began to grow on the sand dunes, and their roots began to reach deep within the earth. When the roots came to the limestone, they found their way between any crack or whole they could find, and forced their way through the layer of limestone, allowing sand to fill the cracks.
Brush fires later killed off all plants and trees from the sand dunes, which left the dunes exposed and unprotected from harsh desert winds. Over time the dunes were blown away, exposing the limestone beneath. The winds then blew the sand from between the cracks, and then after millions of years broke the weaker limestone away, leaving only the strongest pilars of limestone remaining.
Now we are left with thousands of limestone pillars, scattered arcoss the yellow sand desert of Nambung National Park. Their heights ranging from just a few inches, to 4 meters tall (about 13 feet).
Nambung National Park is home to the Pinnacles Desert one of Western Australia's most unique natural attractions. A three hour drive north of Perth, and you will find thousands of limestone pillars which rise from the yellow sands and look like something from a science fiction movie.
It is possible to get up close to the Pinnacles on a scenic drive through the park whilst a walk trail includes an lookout over the park with great views.
If you have your own transport then the park is easily accessible by car or four wheel drive, otherwise you can take a coach or four wheel drive tour from Perth.
A must go place in Perth! We drove there before the sunset and took a walk around there. The Pinnacles is amazing. The formations are of different heights, but we couldnt find the tallest 5m one. The view just before the sunset was wonderful and he couldnt stop taking photos of the short and tall pinnacles. But it got cooler after the sun went down and the road became very dark. So we decided to come again the next day. We woke up at 5 am and arrived the Pinnacles at 6 early in the morning. The sun was rising and the desert was misty. We took "enough" photos and returned to the Motel for a warm breakfast.
One of the most peculiar landscapes on the planet (or so I'd imagine), the Pinnacles are slightly North of Perth and occupy a considerable area of land.
Basically what happened was erosion of rocks and soil, with the softer rocks disappearing, and the harder rocks staying behind, in the form of , you guessed it, pinnacles!
Really interesting to wander around these rock formations that are millions of years old, and something else to look out for are the miles and miles and miles of termite mounds on the way out of the area.
The best part is not to see the Pinnacles desert, while doing 4 wheel drive and sand boardng, my personal opinion. We were seated in a giant vehicle, with very loud music, and experiencing a crazy driving journey.
Tour or, no tour? That is the question today...
I am a tour loving kind of guy. Sure i can find out most of the info i gain on the tour from guide books, and through the internet. But it is the useless info that i love. The small little humors that a good tour guide throws in, in between all the bits of knowledge he or she is throwing at you.
For example. If i didnt take the Pinnacles tour, i wouldnt have taken notice to the small round rocks surrounding the pinnacles. I would have just passed them off as simple stones. But because of our guide, i learned that they werent stones, but petrified kangaroo droppings. Hardened after countless days in the blazing desert sun. Great souvenirs to send home to family and friends.
Seriously, if i didnt take the tour, i probably wouldnt have taken the time to look at the detail of the pinnacles, and noticed the marks still visable from the roots of the trees, millions of years ago, that once grew thru them. I also wouldnt have known the best places to stop in the park, to see some of the more unique pinnacles, unlike others in the park. These are the things that make a good tour worth while.
The tour i did, and recommend is Turquoise Coast, Enviro Tours. The tours are operated out of Cervantes and are guided by Mike Newton. I former National Park Ranger, with over 20 years experience with the Pinnacles. They have mornig tours, noon tours, and sunset tours. Lasting 2 1/2 hours, and costing 35 dollars per person. I recommend the sunset tour, becuase of the beauty of the pinnacles in the changing light of the falling sun.
When visiting the Pinnacles, we learned from people in the area, that the best time to see them was at sunrise, or sunset. Anyone we asked, or anything we read about it, recommended these times.
Once we finally visited them, we realized what they were saying. We arrived around 330pm. As the sun began to fall closer to the horizon, its casted shadows, and allowed you to see colors of the desert that are ussaully dulled by a high blazing sun on the horizon.
As the sun fell lower. You could see beautiful oranges, purples, blues, yellows, and reds throughout the desert and the rocks. The shadows added a different look of dimensions to the pilars of limestone.
Also, dont let anyone tell you they are just rocks. It is a breath taking landscape, unlike any i have seen in the world, and a fascinating look into the earth early geology. A must see while in Western Australia, and a must see at sunset or sunrise.
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