Rub your eyes in disbelief all you like but these insane natural rock sculptures in the Pinnacles Desert are for reals. Like something out of a Mars-inspired modern art exhibit these limestone beauties are situated smack-bang in the middle of the desert just a couple of hours from Perth.
The Pinnacles Desert
The Pinnacles lie within the Pinnacles Desert, which belongs to Nambung National Park. The site will instantly amaze you by its size, which no image in a promotional flyer can fully capture.
This sandy area is planted with thousands of rocky spires measuring from a few millimetres to almost 4m. The theories how the pinnacles were formed may differ, but it’s known that the material they contain came from seashells and the oldest are about twenty-five thousand to thirty thousand years old.
This place doesn’t offer green shady barbeque spots like other national parks, the water is not suitable for drinking and the local visitor shop provides only a very limited selection of snacks.
And still, this site is not a quick get-off-the-car-and-take-a-picture place, as some tourists heading north of Perth mistakenly see it. The Pinnacles deserve more attention than a photo taken out of the side window of a car.
The admission is $12/car and it includes parking. If you can’t or don’t want to, there is no need to get out of your car — a scenic drive for light vehicles is available — but an exploratory stroll across the pinnacle field is practically a must. There are no fences or restrictive paths telling you where to go. You can simply walk as a happy-go-lucky scamp and admire the formations around. On a cloudy day, the yellow sand creates a unique contrast to the dark shades of the sky and offers more breathtaking views and opportunities for a photographer.
A few tips to make the most of your Pinnacles experience
- Visit the place at dawn or dusk to watch a silent show of light and colour as the Pinnacles cast their shadows across the hot sand
- Take a child on board or wake up your inner child. Unleash your imagination and get creative! Have you seen the member of the Ku Klux Klan, the Chinese Dragon or the Cradle Mountain? They are all there along with many others. Some Pinnacles resemble tombstones or broken teeth, other animals or mythical creatures.
- Read tracks in the sand and watch/ listen to wildlife. This place can get very busy after dark when the visitors are gone.
- Wash off the desert sand and have a swim in Hangover Bay. You can contemplate how this place got its name.
- Don’t touch or climb on the stones. Let nature be the sculptor and protect the sandstone for others, or maybe for when you bring your grandkids here in 50 years’ time.
- Sturdy footwear
- Hat and sunscreen
- Water (local water is not safe for drinking)
- Food and snacks
- Rubbish bag (the site has no rubbish bins)
How To Get There
The Pinnacles Desert lies in Nambung National Park, two hours west of Perth.
- Bush walking
- Wildlife watching and tracking
- Swimming and snorkelling in Hangover Bay
- Fishing in Hangover Bay
Distance Covered / Elevation Gained
It’s up to you how much time you decide to spend exploring the area.
The walk to Pinnacle Lookout is approximately 5km long and it overlooks white dunes.
Gallery images by Jonathan Tan @thetantrap
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