The Pinnacles in Nambung National Park are one of the highlights in Western Australia. The pillars are made of chalk and don’t really seem to fit in this world.
On the first day of my trip to Western Australia (WA) we decided to take the car and go northbound to see this monument. On our way we learnt more about the ever changing, but beautiful Australian nature, its people and everyday life.
It was half past five and we’re on our way to my friend, who was working in Fremantle.
We had a 250 km ride ahead of us. Destination: Pinnacles at Nambung National Park.
But the journey was the reward. Along the west coast, everything seemed new: streets, nature, view and even the never-ending bush fires.
The Journey is the Reward
Finally the sun decided to get up. A vibrant yellow paired with a saturated red were painting the sky and let the palm trees appear as if they’re two dimensional silhouettes. It was not the last time I fell in love with the sunrise.
We decided to get something to eat and take a sitting-break. We actually planned to find a fancy pub, like the ones in epic road trip films, but therefore we should have stopped in Perth – too late, because credulously as we were, we thought we find something along the road. So, gas station it was: dry bread, soda and crisps. Basically the essentials of the much more down to earth road trip film Paper Towns.
Route 60 in Western Australia
Right behind the gas station was a small path we decided to take. I noticed one hundred different things. Things that are completely different to what I am used back in Germany. The soil is red, plants are blossoming despite their dryness, even the birds are singing in a different tone. So many things that I couldn’t help, but be enthralled by nature. Together with my friend I tried to discover and unravel as much as possible. Almost like children, when birds and worms and newts were more interesting than the Sunday afternoon cake.
Eventually we went on. We were deep in and the street didn’t bend. No curve, no village, no traffic, not even another car. We’ve been warned not to speed up too much “Even if the streets are empty, if you get caught it’s going to be expensive as hell”. We made the most of this slow-paced ride and soaked up everything. Watched animals, trees and bush fires. Even during winter time it’s so dry out here that there are regular fires. I wondered how things heat up during summer time.
Route 60 went on. It would have been a three hours ride from Perth, if we wouldn’t have stopped every other metre to take a picture or to lay on the street. We passed the last car a long time ago so we decided to do what you cannot do in Europe, where the streets are always stuffed: laying on the street.
A car approached and as paranoid as I was I thought he was going to murder us. He stopped next to us and asked if our car broke. We shook our heads and off he went.
My friend started laughing because I was so ridiculous. “This isn’t your cheesy horror film”, she explained and went on “In Australia you should stay by your car if you have an accident. The possibility that someone passes your way is higher than you getting anywhere by foot. The next village or gas station will most likely be too far away”. She was right, the guy in the colourful van didn’t want to re-enact The Hills Have Eyes.
Soon we reached a town, where we decided to make some rounds and pause for lunch. In one of the four streets we found a burger shop. We parked the car, stretched and went into the restaurant, everything carefully observed by two older ladies sitting on their porch.
There was only one vegetarian dish. While waiting, my friend told me what a pity it is, that Australia doesn’t really have a national dish, “Of course you get Vegemite and some really good burger, but still”.
I remember my host back in Fremantle saying the same, how they like beef, even though it would be cheaper and more environmental friendly to eat kangaroo. “They are native to Australia and hardly need any water”.
In the meantime the food arrived, and I can confirm, Aussies know how to make a (veggie) burger.
Nambung National Park
20 minutes later we arrived at the Nambung National Park. The park attracts almost 200.000 visitors per year.
While the soil has been red in the morning, it was yellow now. The pinnacles emerge from a yellow sea, partly up to five metres; thousands in a desert landscape not far from the ocean.
And there we saw the not-murderer guy with the colourful van again, inspecting the quartz sand pillars.
Slowly, we drove through the area until we stopped at the viewing point to get a better view on all the chalk pillars. Up here we saw all the colours: the blue of the ocean, the green of the trees, the yellow of the sand, the red of the people walking under the sun without protection.
Over the course of the years the scenery changed quite drastically. Right there, were I was standing, used to be the shore and not metres and metres away. Scientists estimate the Pinnacles to be somewhat between 25.000 or 30.000 years old. As the ocean moved it left shells which, through outside influences, appeared at the surface and became the exposed pillars.
At the entrance of the park is a Discovery Centre where the history of the area goes in more details and explaining theories. You also get to see all the animals who are hiding throughout the day, like lovely spiders…
Price: 12 Aussie Dollar
Top Speed: 10 km/h
Length: 4 km loop road
If you want to avoid many tourists come off-season during the week, like we did.
We’re back on track. On our way to Nambung we came across some white dunes. The great dunes of Lancelin are, as mentioned, white and when the sun hits the right point, it looks like snow. So there’s no way around: we had to make a sand angel.
The dunes are a proper place for a photo shoot and we saw a smaller group of people doing so. This area offers a vast range to get creative. Not for us though, we had a fight with the soft, bright sand.
There is the possibility to take part in a 4×4 tour. Visitors can also take advantage of the hills and sand board.
On the other side of the road is a deserted beach, which is, as we later learned, very popular among surfers.
In the meantime the sun set and it got cold, but I did what I have to do when I see the ocean: put off my shoes and let the cold water wake up my tired body; feel the sand and the small waves crashing at my legs.
Since my friend loves the sun we took another break nearby and watched the sunset while some kangaroos jumped into the night.
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