Although otherworldly in appearance, the Pinnacles Desert is 100 percent on planet earth, located along the Indian Ocean's Coral Coast in Nambung National Park in Western Australia (WA). This vast sandy expanse is filled with towering limestone pillars, and at only a few hours' drive from the city of Perth, the site makes for a popular and totally doable day trip.
To the Pinnacles, and beyond! Most day tours combine a visit to the 35,000-year-old limestone formations with stops at other popular attractions in the area, making it easy to heed the siren call of nearby massive sand dunes, white sandy beaches, and even a lobster farm. Nature lovers can catch sight of kangaroos, koalas, and wombats on tours that stop at Caversham Wildlife Park and Yanchep National Park, while adrenaline junkies love adventure-packed tour options that include revving up a 4WD vehicle or sand boarding across the Lancelin sand dunes, some of which stretch up to 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) wide.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Most day tours provide round-trip transportation from Perth and last roughly 10 hour.
- Tours to the Pinnacles are kid-friendly with outdoor activities and wildlife viewing.
- Travelers should dress in layers and wear plenty of sun protection.
- For both private tours and small-group tours, upgrades are dependent upon group size.
- Fuel a long day of exploration with a meal in the coastal town of Cervantes (included in some tours), where you can get a behind-the-scenes look at the local lobster fishing industry and chow down on a picnic lunch, Aussie style barbecue, or a sausage sizzle lunch.
How to Get to the Pinnacles
Nambung National Park is a 2- to 3-hour drive from Perth along Indian Ocean Drive, making it an easy day trip from the city. The Pinnacles Desert Discovery Centre is open daily from 9:30am to 4:30pm and can provide insightful information about the park.
When to Go There
The best time to visit is spring (September to October) when Western Australia's native wildflowers paint the desert with vibrant colors. Book a sunset tour to see a light show across the Pinnacles, or maximize your time by heading out early in the morning; you'll want the extra time to explore the many parks and beaches along the way.