The Pinnacles - Rock Stars in the Outback
The Pinnacles are an amazing cluster of natural limestone pillars that rise from the shifting yellow sands that have become a major natural tourist attraction on the Turquoise Coast / Coral Coast regions of Western Australia. These extraordinary ancient rock formations attract over 200,000 visitors each year.
The Pinnacles are made up of eroded remnants of the formerly thick beds of limestone precipitated as cement around grains of crushed sea shell sand, in the lower levels of the dunes, binding them together and eventually producing a hard limestone rock that develops over the remaining quartz sand.
The Pinnacles are located within the desert of the Nambung National Park, which provides a natural habitat for an extensive array of native animals and bird life. The Pinnacles are an amazing sight, reminiscent of a city of limestone structures that have come straight from a science fiction movie with their moonlike landscape, offering stunning photographic moments and capturing spectacular sunsets.
Our Mediterranean climate with warm dry summers and relative mild winters makes trips to the Pinnacles an all year round attraction. Check our page on the Indian Ocean Drive, The “Perfect Pinnacles” Route.
The Pinnacles Fast Facts
- Nickname: Rock Stars in the Outback
- Location: Pinnacles Drive, via Nambung National Park Cervantes, Western Australia, 250km north of Perth, and just 149km from Moore River Holidays
- Area: 17,487 hectares
- Heights: from a few centimetres to 5 metres
- Formation: Science has solved the riddle posed by the Pinnacles: they were formed from limestone-rich sand, ancient sea shells crushed into powder by the ocean and swept inland by wind and waves. Once this shell-sand had reached the area, a complex process over thousands of years created this natural wonder known as the Pinnacles. Every time it rained, the water would cause some of the calcium carbonate in the shell-sand to seep into the ground, hardening and slowly forming the Pinnacles beneath the ground. Bushfires and erosion caused the surrounding loose sand to blow away, leaving behind the natural splendour of the Pinnacles that we enjoy today.
- First recording: The first known European recording of the Nambung area dates back to 1658, when the North and South Hummocks first appeared on Dutch maps. The Hummocks were also mentioned in navigator Philip Parker King's journal in about 1820. Nambung is an Aboriginal word that means crooked or winding and it was from this river that the park was named.
- Recognition: The Pinnacles Desert remained relatively unknown until the late 1960s, when the Department of Lands and Surveys agreed to add the area to the already existing national park, which had been established in 1956.
- Pinnacles Desert Discovery Centre: Located within the Nambung National Park, a fascinating interpretative display focused on the region’s unique flora, fauna, national parks and nature.
- Access: light vehicles can access Nambung National Park Pinnacles by road. Access to the Pinnacles area itself is by means of a 100 metre walking trail from the car park. You must remain on the designated tracks within the park.
- Open: Every day of the year except Christmas Day; there is a small entry fee
- Website: www.visitpinnaclescountry.com.au
- Facilities: Wheelchair access, information bay, picnic area, rubbish bins, barbeque facilities and toilets.
- Gear: Hat, sunscreen, sturdy footwear and bottled water - no drinking water is available.
- Wildflowers: showcases fabulous wildflowers between August and October.
- Pinnacles Lookout: A 4-5 km walk through the Nambung National Park. The little Painted Desert and unusual white dunes can also be viewed from the lookout.
- Animals: Western grey kangaroos (may let you get close if you are quiet and move slowly), emus, white-tailed black-cockatoos, bobtail lizards, goulds monitors, carpet pythons (harmless), birds of prey (e.g. black-shouldered kite) hovering above the ground in search of a meal.
- Native plants: Panjang (a low wattle), coastal banjine, Acacia truncata, quandong (Santalum acuminatum), yellow tailflower (Anthocercis), thick-leaved fanflower (Scaevola crassifolia) and white clematis and cockies tongues are some of Nambung's common plant species. Parrotbush (Dryandra sessilis) becomes more common as you get closer to the Pinnacles and candle banksia(Banksia attenuata), firewood banksia (Banksia menziesii)and sawtooth banksia (Banksia prionotes) are also common in the park.
- Stromatolites: Just south of Cervantes is Lake Thetis which is known for its stromatolites - rocklike formations dubbed the “ancient living fossils" because they are formed by millions of tiny living organisms.