Visiting The Pinnacles, Western Australia

We have visited Perth a few times as our good friends live there. This time, we thought of adding something new to our itinerary. Since the girls are older now, we thought they might be able to take long car rides better. So we planned a day road-trip from Perth City to The Pinnacles.

We read up quite a bit about it, but nothing prepared us for the awesome sight that greeted our eyes when we arrived. We weren’t sure whether the girls would appreciate it, or whether it’d be worth the 2.5 hour drive up north. But when we arrived, we were glad we made the trek there!

But first, here’s what we saw along the way, along the relatively new Indian Ocean Drive

Nilgen Nature Reserve and Lookout


After passing by the town of Lancelin, we decided to do a brief stop at the Nilgen Lookout so that we could have our sandwiches. We could see glimpses of the Indian Ocean from this lookout point. But we didn’t tarry long, as there were numerous bluebottle flies that were very drawn to us!


We jouneyed on, through various terrain – sometimes through forested areas, other times through barren desert lands. Wildflowers apparently abound on the Indian Ocean Drive in October, but we were there in March, so oh well. Here’s one of the very Australian road signs we passed by.


We ended up making an unintentional but interesting detour to the town of Cervantes. We thought of dropping by the Pinnacles Visitor Centre there before going to the site proper, but realised that what we really meant to see was the Discovery Centre that was actually on-site at the Pinnacles desert.

Nonetheless, we were glad we popped by the town, for we had a really good meal there!


Cervantes is a tiny sleepy town of some 500 inhabitants, and looks like a 1960s film set. Indeed, I’m quite sure that most of it hadn’t changed since the town was established in 1962 to accommodate workers in the local cray fishing industry. The town sounds very literary, but actually got its name from the American whaling ship ‘Cervantes’ that was wrecked here in 1844.


The town centre comprises an information counter, that is in the same premise as the town’s post office and sundry goods store! There is a chemist next door, a fish-and-chips shop thereafter, and not very much more.

Still, we had a yummy meal of really fresh squid and fish at the Sea Breeze Cafe. The vinegar for the chips was dispensed via what looked like a gardening spray bottle! It seemed like a one-woman-operation shop, and the lady who took our orders also fried our fish, and was very friendly to our little family.


Lake Thetis

We stopped by Lake Thetis, which was just 5 mins drive away from Cervantes, on the way to The Pinnacles. This little tidal lake has salinity levels twice as high as the ocean, which created perfect conditions for the formation of stromatolites, the oldest and largest living fossil known to man.

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We had lots of fun taking jump shots there, and some friendly fellow tourists also offered to take a family photo for us. This metal board walk made the Lake very accessible, and we learnt a lot from the information signboards there too.


Namburg National Park

Finally, we arrived at the home of The Pinnacles.


Before entering the desert, we were treated to the sight of a family of emus crossing the road! There were at least 4-5 of them, and here are the last two.


Pinnacle Desert Discovery Centre

First, a stop at the proper Discovery Centre, which did not disappoint.

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Modern and informative, we had a great time walking through the small but interesting exhibits of the Discovery Centre. It’s fascinating how to date there are three major theories of how these Pinnacles came to be, but no definite explanation.


Soon, it was time to drive out to these enigmas in stone…

The girls were not very impressed, and derived the most joy from drawing on the sand. It was like the desert was simply a large canvas for their sand art.
imageWhat a glorious sight! Initially we thought there might be about 50 of these formations, but it took our breath away when we realised that there were thousands of them!


IMG_0689I thought it was great that they have made it possible for cars to ‘drive through’ the desert through paths marked by little stones.  So those who might be less ambulant (elderly, small kids) can still view these fascinating rock spires.

IMG_0660The skies turned a bright beautiful blue mid-way after being cloudy and overcast when we first arrived.



There were little high mounds in the desert (left rock on photo above) that you could climb up to get a better view (close-up of that rock is on photo below), and also a couple of boardwalks constructed for a bird’s eye view of the landscape.


K was very inspired to draw and write in the sand. As we gawked and took photos, the kids mainly scrawled on the ground.

IMG_0709The sea can be seen the distance in the photo below!

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After spending a few hours in the Pinnacle Desert, we headed back. Along the way, we saw these pristine white sand dunes. These could have been formed from strong winds blowing beach sand inland. Apparently sand-boarding is a popular tourist activity. I read somewhere that the sand could also be blown by winds such that the ‘moving dune’ covers over and chokes up vegetation.


There you have it! Hope this comes in useful for those who are planning a trip to The Pinnacles.

Here are some useful sites to help you in further planning:



Pinnacles Drive, via Nambung National Park,

Cervantes, Western Australia, 6511

Telephone: +61 8 9652 7913

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  10 comments for “Visiting The Pinnacles, Western Australia

  1. May 10, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    I am considering a trip to Western Australia with my children. Initially I didn’t consider The Pinnacles as it seemed to be quite a long driving distance from Perth, but I may now consider this nice place!
    Waiwai recently posted…10 Tips for Planning Okinawa (Japan) Self-Drive Trip with ChildrenMy Profile

  2. May 10, 2016 at 10:02 pm

    Definitely a useful post for anyone planning to visit WA! So interesting!

  3. May 10, 2016 at 10:11 pm

    Impressive place! Different from our usual city life, it would be great o explore nature’s wonders.

  4. May 10, 2016 at 10:41 pm

    Australia has a different range from dessert to beaches and we still have to explore these desserts. Would love to drive that way and all worth it.

  5. May 10, 2016 at 10:47 pm

    You guys never slide down the sand dunes? My kids though the “hills” are termite homes 🙂

    cheers, Andy
    SengkangBabies recently posted…Chuggington Live! The Great Rescue Adventure tickets giveawayMy Profile

  6. May 11, 2016 at 2:26 am

    I’ve been wanting to visit The Pinnacles! I’m not too keen on Perth, but I like the idea of driving around Western Australia. So cool to see the emus crossing the road!
    Bumble Bee Mum recently posted…Hokkaido Expressway Pass vs ETC Card & Hokkaido Toll FeesMy Profile

  7. May 11, 2016 at 7:15 am

    My kids have been pestering me to bring them to desert. This seems to be a good choice! Would really love to try self driving next time we travel…. 🙂

  8. May 11, 2016 at 12:44 pm

    Worth the long drive indeed! Hope to visit Perth sometime soon and will definitely add The Pinnacles to our itinerary.

  9. May 17, 2016 at 9:08 am

    The gorgeous scenery and interesting wildlife are big draws to visit Western Australia! Hopefully we’ll have a chance to bring the kids in future. Thanks for sharing them on your blog.

  10. November 22, 2017 at 11:18 am

    Great photos!
    It seems the long ride is all worth it. Looking at your kids, they surely love the place.
    Sarah recently posted…4 Astonishing National Parks Near Perth to Visit in Your MotorhomeMy Profile

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