The Pinnacles are rather remote being a 2 hour drive from Perth (the world’s most remote capital city). But it does mean that it’s not over-run by tourists. So what are The Pinnacles and why should you go there?
Driving time: 2.5 hours with no stops (approx 200km north of Perth)
Entry fee: $13 per car (at the time of writing this in 2019)
Open: 7:15am to 5:30pm daily, shuts at 5pm on Sundays
The Pinnacles are made from limestone and formed over thousands of years. It may not look like it in these photos, but some of these rocks are really big. Some are as tall as 5m!
- 8am: Depart Perth
- 15 minute Rest stop at Guilderton
- 15 minute Stop at the Lancelin Sand Dunes (some of the whitest sand I’ve ever seen!) If you want to sandboard, allow more time. You will need an off-road vehicle if you want to drive through the sand dunes
- 15 minute stop at Lake Thetis
- 45 minutes for lunch in Cervantes (or you could do this after The Pinnacles)
- Visit the Pinnacles (spend approx. 1 – 1.5 hours at The Pinnacles)
- Drive 2.5 hours back to Perth
- Arrive back in Perth around 6pm
Expect the road to look like this basically the whole way. There’s not a lot to see but you’ll catch glimpses of the ocean and white sand dunes in the distance. The road is basically straight the whole way so factor in time for rest stops.
To break up the driving, stop in at Guilderton.
There are much better photos if you search Google images for Guilderton. When the sun is shining, the ocean is turquoise which contrasts with the deep blue and red of the river mouth.
After seeing photos online I was a bit disappointed when I saw Lake Thetis in person. It’s definitely easier to see the Stromatolites if you’re lucky enough to time when the water level is low (was quite high when I visited).
Some of the white sandy beaches you’ll see in this part of Australia (I think Western Australia has the best beaches in Australia). And the best part…. There’s usually no one around!
When you arrive at the Pinnacles, make your way to the Visitor Information Centre.
Once you get there, there’s a ‘road’ around The Pinnacles. It’s mostly smooth (like below) but can be a bit bumpy in places too.
You don’t need a 4-Wheel drive. I drove the car in the photo below.
It can get windy and if you stand in a certain direction the sand can feel like small needles hitting your legs so if possible, wear long pants.
- It’s a long drive and doable on your own but best with someone else
- There isn’t much to stop at along the way, the landscape doesn’t change much so whenever a designated rest stop comes up, pull over
- I spent about 1.5 hours in The Pinnacles
- You do not need a 4 wheel drive
- If you see a parking bay along the route, take it! There may not be another one for a while and usually only 3 – 4 cars will fit at each stopping bay
- Sunscreen at any time of the year
- Get out of the car and walk amongst The Pinnacles, don’t just drive through them the whole time
- Public bathrooms are at the small towns along the way but Aussie beachside / small town public toilets rarely have soap so bring some hand sanitizer
- There are bathrooms at the Pinnacles visitor information centre
- If you want to stay the night there is limited accommodation options
- Bring a jumper – just in case
- There aren’t many petrol stations on the way and they’re expensive so fill up with fuel before you leave Perth
- If you don’t have a car, or don’t want to hire one, there are organized bus day tours from Perth
- If you can though, take your own car, then you have the freedom to stop as you please. Big buses can’t go through The Pinnacles so I’m not sure if organized tours take everyone around in the mini-vans I saw, or if you just go as far as you can walk (it’s quite big and would probably take a couple of hours if you walk the whole thing take photos etc.)
- You could make the Pinnacles a stop on a Western Australia road trip… but it’s north of Perth so I don’t recommend. There isn’t much touristy stuff to see until you hit Exmouth which is an 11 hour drive north of The Pinnacles… and doesn’t look that great a tourist destination anyway
Lunch in Cervantes
Try and have lunch outside of normal lunch hours as this is the restaurant the tour buses stop at.
There are very limited eating options in Cervantes (only 3). I opted for the Cervantes Bar & Bistro. My expectations were quite low. The food was pricey but it actually tasted really good and the portion size was big.
Are The Pinnacles worth it?
Going anywhere in Australia let alone Western Australia is not a quick trip. However I do think the 2.5 hour, one way drive was worth it. I haven’t seen anything like these giant limestone rocks before. If you’re visiting Perth and have a free day, I’d add it to your list.
Planning a trip to Perth? Rottnest Island is another must do day trip from Perth.
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