Visiting the wondrous Pinnacles Desert in Western Australia’s Nambung National Park feels a bit like being on another planet. Thousands of jagged natural limestone pillars rise from the ground, some as high as 3.5 metres tall, forming one of the most spectacular and unusual landscapes in Australia. An easy daytrip from Perth, the Pinnacles makes for a truly unforgettable west coast experience.
The story behind the Pinnacles is fascinating. The structures, which date back many thousands of years, began to take shape when the sea receded, leaving seashell deposits. Add to that thousands of years of coastal winds and other exposure to the elements, and you have these remarkable landmarks that rise dramatically from the yellow sands of the desert. Make your first stop the excellent multimedia Pinnacles Desert Discovery Centre, where you can familiarise yourself with the geology, cultural heritage and natural history of the Pinnacles and their surrounds. The Discovery Centre is open every day (except Christmas Day) from 9:30am to 4:30pm.
You can certainly get to the Pinnacles desert by car, but nothing beats getting right in the thick of it by walking the Desert View Trail; the easy, 1.5-kilometre trail begins at the Discovery Centre’s car park and takes about 45 minutes, plus whatever time you spend exploring (and taking photos). And though the surrounding Nambung National Park is captivating year-round, the most enchanting – and colourful – time to visit is from August to October, when its wildflowers are in full bloom. If you’re visiting in warm weather, bring your swimming, snorkelling or fishing gear and continue your holiday at the park’s beaches at Kangaroo Point and the curiously named Hangover Bay. Bushwalking is also a popular here throughout the year.
Up the scenic Indian Ocean Drive, Nambung National Park and the Pinnacles are approximately 200 kilometres north of Perth – a little more than two hours’ drive. Hire a car and experience the splendid coast at your own pace or kick back and let someone else do the driving, with a 4WD or coach tour departing from Perth.