A few years back I attended a medical meeting in Perth, Australia. My wife and I took advantage of this opportunity to explore the west coast of the country, including its amazing Coral Coast and Wildflower Way.
One of our stops was to see the Pinnacles Desert located in Nambung National Park. This is about 200 km (2 hours) north of Perth along the Indian Ocean Drive. The Pinnacles are characterized by eroded rock spires (pinnacles) sitting on a bed of sand. There are thousands of them, some up to 5 meters tall. No one is certain how they were formed -- probably from compressed seashell fragments that have been eroded over the millennia as the sea water receded during the past ice ages. They are of all sizes and shapes and in the soft light of the setting sun resemble tombstones in a huge graveyard. The Pinnacles were spotted by Dutch explorers in the 1600’s who mistook them for ruins of a lost city -- I can understand that misconception.
(The Pinnacles Desert, at dusk)
Our introduction to the Pinnacles Desert was at dusk. We arrived just as the sun began to set and enjoyed magical views of the soft light on the rock spires. Mostly we just drove through that evening, stopping for some photos but largely sight-seeing.
We overnighted in the nearby town of Cervantes (about a 10-minute drive away) and went back the following morning in full light to see the Pinnacles again. It was a dramatic change from the prior evening, with the pinnacles and bright sand highlighted against the blue waters of the Indian Ocean. In the morning we did some hiking and exploring on foot. We almost had the place to ourselves, spotting only a few other cars.
The image shown below was featured as last weekend's One Clue Mystery photo. It was recognized by incomparable travel detective, George G -- congratulations again to George!
The park covers an area of 17,487 hectares providing habitat for Australia's unusual fauna. About all we saw was an emu wandering along the road, in addition to other bird life. We'd hoped to see some kangaroos, but we weren't so lucky (although Western grey kangaroos live here).
(Emu wandering along the Pinnacles road)
There is a small admission fee to the park, which has a visitor/interpretative center. There are no camping or other accommodations available at the park -- you'll need to go to Cervantes for services.