Published: December 5th 2011November 12th 2011
Going up to the Pinnacles is one of the first thing that jumps out at you from the Lonely Planet. I’d wanted to go up there and visit them since we landed in Perth nearly 5 months ago as it was something ‘touristy’ to do. You can do the Pinnacles in a day trip, but as I wanted to see them at sunset, and driving in the dark isn’t advisable because of the wildlife (our little Excel would not survive hitting a Kangaroo at speed) we decided to stay the night in Cervantes.
So Saturday morning came, we packed up the car and with Andy feeling a little worse for wear I took over driving responsibilities for the 200km drive up North. No sooner had we pulled out of the driveway Andy decided that he need to eat (having already got rid of his breakfast earlier) something so we had to make an impromptu stop at Famer Jacks to stock up on the essentials – twiglets, soft-mints, chocolate chip cookies, crisps and pizza. Now we were finally ready!
The drive was going well, we got off the Freeway and onto the start of the Indian Ocean Drive which would
take us all the way up the coast to Cervantes, we were starting to notice the lack of cars on the roads – virtually everyone was in a 4x4, but we had faith in the little Excel to get us there in once piece. The sun was shining and the sky was blue – which after a while I realised wasn’t a good thing, as my arm was starting to feel very hot and I hadn’t put any sun-cream on before we set off. I decided that I must find a place to pull over and put some cream on, or cover up at the very least. I passed numerous places to pull over, but had driven past them before I realised. So seeing a patch of what I thought was gravel coming up, I put on the brakes and swerved off the road. This was met with Andy shouting “Nooooooooo!” and before we knew it we were nose deep in sand. “Oops”, was about all I could manage whilst Andy stared at me incredulously saying “What did you do that for?!” He got out to have a look and I tried to reverse out, we were going nowhere fast
and the wheels were getting more and more bogged every time we tried.
We both got out of the car to stare at the wheels and trying to work out what on earth we were going to do, when our faith in Australians was restored. A young guy passing in his 4x4 (ahhh we see now why everyone has one!) stopped to help us out. First he tried pulling us from behind, but the car was just getting more stuck and being dragged along the sand. So then he went round the front and just dragged the car out onto the road, we were so grateful for his help and we were now back on our way – with Andy now taking over the driving.
Our first scheduled stop of the day was Lancelin, home of the huge sand dunes. We didn’t stay here for long, just drove through and went down to the beach. It was very windy (as Lancelin is famous for its wind based sports it’s not surprising) and the beach was quite commercial with 4x4’s and boats all over it. We had our pizza’s in the car and then carried on up the Indian
We were intending to stop off at Hangover Bay, which is near to the Pinnacles and have a bit of a snooze on the beach, but the road was saying it was closed, so we kept going to Kangaroo Point. We set ourselves up on the beach and tried to enjoy it – but due to the wind and the fact we were getting covered in sand it just wasn’t meant to be!
We decided to head to the Pinnacles now, so that we could see them in the bright sunlight and come back later to see them at sunset. We paid our $11 to get into the National Park and went to have a look around the Discovery Centre. We aren’t sure the Discovery Centre is really worth visiting, I guess if you come when it’s open then you should take a look (if only to get away from the heat and the flies) but if you come outside the open times I wouldn’t worry too much. The best thing about the Pinnacles is the 4.6km drive around them, you can get so close to them all and you are able to stop and pull
over and take lots of photos (which I did). It wasn’t too crowded with people, although we did come across some girls who seemed to be on some kind of photo shoot – just posing in their pants right in front of the viewing platform! She seemed upset that the tourists seemed to also be taking photos of her!
Once we’d done our loop we headed off to Cervantes which is 15km north of the Pinnacles to check into the Windbreak B&B. This was a lovely B&B and I would definitely recommend it, the room was nice and large and we had air-con, a fridge and a TV (although it only seemed to show 3 channels). We were advised by Lynne, our host, that most restaurants in Cervantes stop serving food at 8pm so we had to make the decision whether to eat before sunset or risk not eating at all! So after a little snooze we decided on some early fish and chips from the only takeaway place in town, which we ate up at Thirsty Point whilst watching the sea and the sun. We don’t think they’ve mastered the art of the fish and chip ‘chip’, but
Not the most appropriate place I thought!
the fish they have out here is absolutely lovely.
We headed back to the Pinnacles just as the sun was starting to set and quickly got onto the loop drive, trying to remember which stones I’d taken photos of earlier so that I could capture them again in a different light. It was a lovely atmosphere, and was probably even more busy than it was during the day! Plenty of people around with their high spec cameras and tripods trying to capture the beautiful colours in the sky. I don’t think my point and shoot IXUS did a bad job, but I’d love to upgrade one of these days!
Once the sun had set we continued on the loop out of the park, it was a full moon that night, but we didn’t think our camera would be up for it, and it was another hours wait for the moon to make an appearance so we headed back to Cervantes. Now it was dusk and getting dark quickly we tentatively drove along, paranoid that at any moment something was going to bounce out of the bushes in front of us. We spotted something in the road up ahead
and slowly came to a stop in front of a Echidna that was crossing the road. Andy jumped out of the car to take a photo and must have scared the poor thing so that it curled up inside itself in the middle of the road! Now we felt bad, so we sat and waited until it came out and again and we were sure it was off the road before continuing on, again very slowly! On the way back we did see a Kangaroo on the side of the road illuminated by the headlights, but thankfully it stayed where it was and didn’t jump in front of us.
On Sunday we rose bright and early to our continental breakfast served by Lynn and her husband, it was really nice and very filling. The plan for today was to slowly make our way back down the coast, stopping in at places we’d missed on the way up. First place was still in Cervantes, we drove down a track road to Hansen Bay Lookout to see the view and then back to Lake Thetis to see the oldest living organism in the world – the stromatolites.
Back on the
Indian Ocean Drive we wanted to see if we could get into Hangover Bay as we’d heard this was a really nice swimming spot. When we pulled up we could still see that the road was closed due to development – but we thought we’d go in for a look anyway. The road had been resurfaced so was ok to drive on, but they’d taken away all the facilities. There were a couple of other people that had ignored the sign, even a couple of 4x4’s on the beach doing some fishing. It was a nice little bay, it will look even better once the seaweed has gone. We decided not to stop though and carried on with our journey back South.
The Lonely Planet suggested that Guilderton was a ‘spectacularly beautiful family holiday spot’ so we couldn’t drive past without going in for a look. I guess people have different definitions of ‘spectacular’, it was nice enough with a large river that flowed into the Ocean and plenty of family’s staying in the riverside campsite, but the abundance of seaweed and flies took a little bit away from the beauty. Maybe if we were to come back in
the height of summer in the blazing sunshine then we’d feel a little differently.
So a quick pit-stop to use the facilities and stuff our faces with more chocolate cookies and we headed on our way back to civilisation to catch up with my brother and his girlfriend in Clarkson.
There are more photos below