Alison Lester’s picture book Are We There Yet was one of our sources of inspiration for this trip and helped us explain the concept to the kids. And one of the pages we all seem to remember from the book is The Pinnacles, where it is explained that The Pinnacles are actually the toes of terrible monsters buried under the ground.
The Pinnacles are just a couple of hours north of Perth and our route took us nearby so we had to stop to have a look for ourselves.
They are in Nambung NP, which is another national park that doesn’t have any campsites (Kalbarri NP also didn’t) so we had to choose from nearby commercial campgrounds. The town of Cervantes, with a caravan park, is nearby but Lindy found a station stay at Nambung Station which is on the eastern side of the park and about a 60km drive from The Pinnacles themselves, which are accessed from the western side. The camping itself was nothing special – basically just camping in flat paddock – but the managers were lovely and the kids got to feed a few farm animals.
When we made it over to The Pinnacles, it was quite a strange experience and very different to what I expected. Clearly it is a very popular attraction being so close to Perth so there is a large visitor centre but a loop road has been built right through the middle of The Pinnacles, with a number of parking spots to allow everyone to stop and take photos. There is also a walking track of about 4km which loops through The Pinnacles but I really couldn’t understand why the road was there and it did detract from the experience somewhat; it was so busy that there were cars everywhere.
Once in The Pinnacles we were free to walk amongst them which was nice and they really are very impressive. Thousands of rock columns (I mean, monster toes) sticking out of the sand. They are all in different, intriguing shapes. Some short and stocky, other tall and pointy, still others with holes in them or with multiple arms sticking out in odd directions.
They were mostly shorter than I expected, although some were taller than me, but there were also many more than I expected. In fact, as best I could work out they cover a massive area which is much bigger than is accessible from the road and walking track.
In fact, Nambung NP is quite a large park but, strangely, most of it is inaccessible. There are no campgrounds which is unusual – from what I saw there could be some nice spots to camp. And while our map shows a number of tracks criss-crossing the park (and Google Maps even recommended we take one) and we tried exploring them but soon found that they are all closed to the public. It seems that the rangers are deliberately containing all the visitors to one very small area and simply closing off the rest of the park to everyone, which is a shame.
However, back at Nambung Station, the campground managers offer a tour which accesses the national park from the property. We all jumped in a buggy and drove across the station to its border with the park and then walked into the dunes to find more Pinnacles. That experience was wonderful. There was nobody else around; even the footprints left by previous visitors had been erased by the wind. In contrast to the main visitor area, where the ground had been hard packed and mostly flat, this area was covered in tall sand dunes with clumps of Pinncales sticking out of the lower areas of sand. Our guide told us that the Pinnacles he sees change from week to week as the sand dunes move with the wind. The patterns of ripples and the sand dunes together with the Pinnacles themselves were intriguing and I could have easily spent all day exploring with my camera.