Nambung National Park: The Pinnacles Desert in Western Australia

Nambung National Park is probably one of the most unusual national parks in Australia. Located only a two-hour drive north of Perth, the capital of Western Australia, it boasts a landscape that’s unique in the world, a landscape that is made up of thousands of limestone pillars rising up out of the desert floor. This desert is appropriately called the Pinnacles Desert.

The Pinnacles Desert, Nambung National Park
The Pinnacles Desert

Nambung National Park home of the Pinnacles Desert

Two other nature reserves, the Wanagarren Nature Reserve and the Southern Beekeepers Nature Reserve, border Nambung National Park, creating an expansive conservation area on the Coral Coast section of the Australian west coast. The national park lies effectively on the shores of the blue Indian Ocean. It consists of beautiful coastal dunes, wind-beaten heathlands and sandy desert. Although the aforementioned Pinnacles Desert is by far the most famous part of Nambung National Park, it only covers a small part of the park’s 17,500 hectares.

Limestone Statues and Golden Desert

The pinnacles are what draw in nearly all 200,000 annual visitors.  They create a landscape that features golden desert sands, dotted with literally thousands of uniquely shaped natural limestone statues, some of them domes, others sharp peaks. Some pillars rise up to five meters tall. The Pinnacles Desert can be explored by car or on foot: there are both a scenic drive and a walking trail through and along the pillars.

Scenic Drive Through Nambung National Park
Scenic Drive Through Nambung National Park

The first place to go before heading toward the actual desert is the Discovery Centre. There you will find detailed information on Nambung National Park’s fauna and flora, as well as on its history and native people. Then you can continue to the pinnacles, well-informed, and ready to explore.

Thousands of Limestone Pillars in the Pinnacles Desert
Thousands of Limestone Pillars

Visit the Pinnacles at Sunset

It is strongly recommended to visit right before sunset and, from the lookout platform, watch the setting sun paint the desert in the warmest of colors. The moving shadows of the pinnacles will make it feel like you’re on some other planet. It’s a truly fabulous place.

Lookout Platform in Nambung National Park
Lookout Platform

Great for Fishing, Snorkeling, Surfing and spotting Kangaroos

In addition to walking and driving through the Pinnacles Desert, Nambung National Park also offers other activities. The park’s coastal areas are excellent for swimming, snorkeling, surfing and fishing. Great fishing can be done at Thirsty Point Lookout, while the clear blue waters of Hangover Bay invite you to go swimming and snorkeling. A suggested place for kangaroo spotting is Kangaroo Point.

The best place to base yourself if you’re looking to explore the area is the town of Cervantes, located approximately 20 kilometers north of Nambung National Park. That town is home to several tour companies offering deep sea fishing, diving and whale watching excursions.

About Bram


Bram is a Belgian guy who's currently living in the USA. For over four years now, he has been wandering the globe, with jobs here and there in between. So far, his travels have taken him to four continents and twenty-two countries. Bram likes to try different styles of travelling: from backpacker and adventurer to tourist and local, he has been all those stereotypes and probably will be many more in the future. You can follow his adventures on his travel blog, on Twitter and on Facebook.

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3 Responses

  1. Australian Tourism Websites: Listed By City And States, Official Sites Only

    […] north from Perth, you’ll pass the pinnacle landscapes of Nambung National Park and the calm waters of Shark Bay. Ningaloo Reef is Western Australia’s counterpart to […]

  2. Best Places to Visit in Western Australia | Go 4 Travel Blog

    […] Pinnacles is another iconic place, usually found on Australian postcards and many a desktop wallpaper due to the region’s unique […]

  3. Australian Road Trip - The West Coast | Go 4 Travel Blog

    […] first stop on the way north – and also a recommended daytrip from Perth – is the Pinnacles desert in Nambung National Park. It is only a couple hours north of the Western Australian capital and definitely a place that you […]


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