Pinnacles, Nambung National Park, Cervantes: The Pinnacles Desert

The Pinnacles in the Nambung National Park near Cervantes are one of the highlights of the Coral Coast in Western Australia . Between Lancelin in the south and Jurien Bayin the north, on the beautiful Indian Ocean Drive, you pass the white sandy beaches, the bays and the dune landscape of the Nambung National Park overgrown with heather and small eucalyptus tree species. However, just under 30 kilometers south of Cervantes is the main attraction of the nature reserve: The Pinnacles Desert. Cervantes, on the other hand, is a small, sleepy fishing village with good fishing spots and great viewpoints. Furthermore, lots of colorful wildflowers bloom in the entire region from July to October.

Nambung National Park

The 170km² Nambung National Park is home to kangaroos and emusand almost 100 species of birds also the 4 square kilometer Pinnacles Desert with the world-famous yellow limestone pillars. The pinnacles have a total height of up to 3.5m and a base width of a maximum of 2m. When Danish navigators first explored the area around the 1650s, it was believed that the limestone formations were ruins of a bygone civilization. Today there are various assumptions about their origin. Shell remains, quartz sand, plants, plant roots and water are held responsible for the formation of the limestone columns in the various theses. It is clear, however, that around 500,000 to 50,000 years ago a fairly stable cement formed in the deeper layers of the quartz sand of a shifting dune. For about 20,000 years, the less solid materials, which surround the cemented pillars, removed by various natural processes. The remnants of this hardened layer can be seen today in the form of the pinnacles.

The roads to the Nambung National Park and the Pinnacles Desert Discovery Center are paved. The Pinnacles Desert Discovery Center is responsible for educating visitors about local flora and fauna as well as other nature reserves. A large car park has been set up in front of the center where you can park your car and explore the desert with its distinctive limestone pillars on foot. Otherwise, there is the 5km long circular route, which is suitable for conventional vehicles. In the north of the park you should see the desert from the spacious viewing platform look at. The sunrise and sunset are particularly suitable for photos, as The Pinnacles Desert offers a great play of colors in the prevailing light conditions. Unfortunately, however, it is not permitted to stay overnight in the Nambung National Park.

The surroundings of the park are also characterized by good fishing spots, such as Hangover Bay or Kangaroo Point, where you can also have a picnic and start the free BBQ. At the Hangover Bay is seen in certain weather conditions, occasional surfers and the Kangaroo Point is in the spring, a good place to admire the wildflowers. Other attractions include the White Desert , Red Desert and Painted Desert , which can be explored cross-country from the Pinnacles Desert Discovery Center on foot.

Cervantes & surroundings

The small fishing village of Cervantes (approx. 550 inhabitants) is only a few kilometers away from the famous Pinnacles. Cervantes itself is a good place for picnicking and fishing. During the lobster season between November and June, boats with their precious catch are regularly moored at the pier. There are also restaurants, a café and a factory selling fresh seafood, lobster, shrimp and octopus, among other things. Those who prefer to catch their own dinner can do so at the pier, which is illuminated at night, or in the Nambung National Park. The Lake Thetis with its ancient, rare stromatolites and the 1.5 km long circular walk is another attraction of Cervantes. There are many great viewpoints in the area , such as at Hansen Bay, Hangover Bay and Thirsty Point. On the way to Jurien Bay you also pass Molah Hill Lookout, from which you can see Mt Lesueur, the 48 wind turbines of the Emu Downs Wind Farm and, depending on the time of day, the sunset over the Indian Ocean.

Helpful information

Arrival & onward travel

Both the Nambung National Park and Cervantes can be reached from the north and south via the paved Indian Ocean Drive. In the middle of the nature reserve, a well-signposted, paved road then leads about 6km to the Pinnacles Desert in the park. The private company Integrity Coach Lines serves Cervantes. There is also a small airfield in town.

Tourist Information

Both the Pinnacles Desert Discovery Center in Nambung National Park and the Cervantes Visitor Center at 14-16 Cadiz Street in Cervantes provide travelers with information and help with various matters.

Further information

At the petrol station in Cervantes you can buy a little something or two. Otherwise, the next stops for refueling or shopping are Lancelin in the south and Jurien Bay in the north.