Exploring the Pinnacles Desert in Western Australia

Are you ready for an adventure in one of Australia’s most unique natural wonders? Look no further than the Pinnacles Desert in Western Australia!

With its towering limestone pillars and sandy desert surroundings, the Pinnacles Desert is an experience unlike any other.

The Pinnacles Desert. Credit: canva

We’ll explore the Pinnacles Desert, how it was formed, what to do and see there, how to get there, and what you need to prepare or bring. We’ll also cover some other exciting activities in the area.

So grab your sunscreen, and let’s get started!

What is the Pinnacles Desert?

Credit: canva

The Pinnacles Desert is located in Nambung National Park, approximately 200 kilometers north of Perth, Western Australia. Its unique landscape features thousands of limestone pillars rising from the yellow dunes.

Some of these pillars are as high as five meters and create an otherworldly landscape that is unlike anything else in the world.

How was the Pinnacles Desert Formed?

The eroded limestone pillars. Credit: canva

The formation of the Pinnacles is still a topic of debate among scientists. But it is widely believed that the formation of the Pinnacles Desert results from millions of years of geological history.

The ocean once covered the area, and over time, the remains of marine organisms built up and formed a layer of limestone.

As the surrounding vegetation died and decayed, it released acidic compounds that dissolved the surrounding limestone. Over time, the wind and rain eroded the pillars and shaped them into their current form.

What to Do and See at the Pinnacles Desert

The drive trail. Credit: canva

The Pinnacles Desert offers visitors a range of activities and sights to experience. Here are some of the most popular things to do and see in the Pinnacles Desert:

Pinnacles Desert Discovery Centre

Start your visit with a stop at the Pinnacles Desert Discovery Centre, where you can learn about the history, geology, and ecology of the Pinnacles Desert. The center offers informative displays, interactive exhibits, a short film about the area, a gift shop, and a cafe.

Pinnacles Desert Drive

Take a leisurely drive along the Pinnacles Desert Drive, a 4-kilometer loop that takes you past some of the most impressive limestone pillars in the area. The drive is suitable for all types of vehicles and offers plenty of opportunities for photos and exploration.

Walking Trails

Two walking trails at the Pinnacles Desert allow visitors to explore the area on foot.

  • Pinnacles Desert Walk Trail: This trail is a 1.2-kilometer loop that takes visitors through the heart of the Pinnacles Desert. Along the way, visitors can see some of the most impressive limestone pillars and learn about the history and geology of the area.
  • The Pinnacles Lookout Trail: This trail is a short 250-meter walk that leads to a lookout point with panoramic views of the Pinnacles Desert. It is a great place to take photos and appreciates the area’s unique landscape.

Other Activities

In addition to walking trails, there are other activities that visitors can enjoy at the Pinnacles Desert.

  • Sandboarding: For a little more excitement, try sandboarding down the dunes of the Pinnacles Desert. There are several areas in the park where you can rent sandboards and slide down the steep slopes of the dunes.
  • Stargazing: At night, the Pinnacles Desert is a prime spot for stargazing. With its remote location and lack of light pollution, you can see the Milky Way and countless stars twinkling above you. Don’t forget to bring a blanket and a thermos of hot chocolate!

How to Get There

An eerie Pinnacles Desert at night. Credit: canva

The Pinnacles Desert is located approximately 200 kilometers north of Perth, the capital city of Western Australia. Here are some transportation options for getting to the Pinnacles Desert:


The most popular way to get to the Pinnacles Desert is by car. The journey takes approximately 2.5 hours from Perth and is scenic through the Western Australian countryside.

From Perth, take the Indian Ocean Drive north to Cervantes, and then follow the signs to the Pinnacles Desert. 


If you don’t have access to a car or prefer a guided experience, several tour companies offer day trips to the Pinnacles Desert from Perth. These tours typically include transportation, guided walks, and sandboarding.

What You Need to Prepare or Bring

Before you head out to the Pinnacles Desert, there are a few things you should prepare and bring to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience:

  • Clothing and Footwear: The Pinnacles Desert can get very hot during the day, so wearing light, breathable clothing is essential. Comfortable footwear such as sneakers or hiking boots is also recommended for walking on the dunes.
  • Sunscreen and Hat: The Pinnacles Desert can get very hot, especially during summer. Be sure to bring plenty of sunscreens and a hat to protect yourself from the sun’s rays.
  • Water and Snacks: Bring plenty of water and snacks, especially if you plan on spending a lot of time walking or exploring the area. No food or drink facilities are inside the park, so bringing your supplies is essential. Bringing plenty of water to stay hydrated in the hot and dry desert climate is recommended.
  • Camera: You’ll want to capture the unique beauty of the Pinnacles Desert, so be sure to bring a camera or smartphone to take photos and videos.
  • Other Essentials: Other items to bring include insect repellent, a first aid kit, and a map or GPS device for navigation.

What Else to Do In And Around the Pinnacles Desert?

While the Pinnacles Desert is undoubtedly the main attraction in the area, there are plenty of other things to do and see in and around Nambung National Park:

Hangover Bay

Hangover Bay is just a short drive from the Pinnacles Desert, a secluded beach with crystal-clear waters and white sand. It’s the perfect spot for swimming, snorkeling, or relaxing on the beach.

Lake Thetis

Located just outside the park, Lake Thetis is a unique salt lake home to living stromatolites, some of the oldest living organisms on the planet.

Jurien Bay Marine Park

Just a half-hour drive from the Pinnacles Desert is Jurien Bay, a coastal town known for its beautiful beaches, fishing, and water sports.

Cervantes Town

Cervantes is a charming little town situated on the Western Australian coast. This laid-back community is famous for its picturesque beaches, delicious seafood, and proximity to the awe-inspiring Pinnacles Desert.

With a population of just over 500 friendly folks, Cervantes is an ideal spot to escape the city life’s hustle and bustle and unwind. So if you’re looking for a relaxing destination to soak up the sun and enjoy some fresh seafood, Cervantes is the perfect place.

So, the Pinnacles Desert is a must-see destination for anyone visiting Western Australia. From its unique limestone pillars to its stunning dunes, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Whether you take a leisurely drive or hike through the desert, sandboarding down the dunes, or stargaze at night, the Pinnacles Desert will leave a lasting impression on you.

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