Overview : At the heart of Nambung National Park lies the Pinnacles Desert, one of Australia’s best known landscapes. Here, thousands of huge... more »
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At the heart of Nambung National Park lies the Pinnacles Desert, one of Australia’s best known landscapes. Here, thousands of huge... more » limestone pillars rise from the shifting yellow sands, resembling a landscape from a science fiction movie.
Nambung National Park lies 245km north of Perth, about a three-hour drive. The park is also known for its beautiful beaches, coastal dune systems and low heathland rich in flowering plants. The vegetation bursts into flower from August to October, creating a memorable spectacle for visitors. Just offshore is a stunning reef system protected in the Jurien Bay Marine Park that is like a temperate version of the Ningaloo Reef. less «
The best season to visit Nambung National Park is during September and October, when the wildflowers are blooming and vistas of... more » wattles stretch from horizon to horizon, but in fine weather the park is interesting year-round. It makes a great day trip from Perth.
The Pinnacles Desert Discovery Centre is open from 9.30am to 4.30pm on every day of the year except Christmas Day. National Park entry fees apply.
There are no camping areas in Nambung National Park but a full range of accommodation and other services are available in the nearby town of Cervantes. less «
Two kilometres from the town of Cervantes, Lake Thetis contains some fascinating structures known as thrombolites that provide an insight into what life was like at the dawn of time.
Like the famous stromatolites of Hamelin Pool, in Shark Bay, these rock-like structures on the lake's edge are built by micro-organisms too small for the human eye ... Moreto see. Within the structures are living communities of diverse inhabitants with population densities of 3000 per square metre!
The thrombolite-building micro-organisms of Lake Thetis resemble the earliest forms of life on Earth. The discovery of modern examples helped scientists to understand the significance of micro-organisms in the environment and unravel the long history of life on Earth. These organisms were the only known form of life on Earth from 3500 million to 650 million years ago. The thrombolites and stromatolites they constructed dominated the clear, shallow seas of this period and formed extensive reef tracts rivalling those of modern coral reefs.
Today living examples of these once completely dominant organisms are restricted to only a few places. The Lake Thetis Loop Trail leads you around the shores of the lake, providing opportunities to see and learn about these communities and the interesting environment that supports them. The 1.5 kilometre trail provides access for people with disabilities along an initial 300 metres of boardwalk, which passes the best examples of thrombolites in the lake.Less
Kangaroo Point is an idyllic beach featuring picnic shelters, gas barbecues and toilets that is popular for shore fishing and boating. To the north-west you can see Cervantes at Thirsty Point. Out to sea, within the Jurien Bay Marine Park, are the Cervantes Islands.
There is a concrete slab from an old fishing shack which was removed in the late ... More1960s. Coastal spinifex (Spinifex longifolius) grows nearby. The vegetation here has been heavily pruned by the salty winds.
The attractive purple flowered native hibiscus grows along the edge of the access road to Kangaroo Point. It is very upright and has very slender, dark green leaves. Acacia truncata can also be seen. This plant has unusual triangular “leaves” (like most wattles this species does not have true leaves but flattened leaf-stalks called phyllodes that perform most of the functions of leaves). Its blossoms are creamy-white. It can be seen growing with panjang, white clematis (Clematis pubescens), cockies’ tongues (Templetonia retusa) and thick-leaved fanflowers (Scaevola crassifolia). Birds such as swallows and ospreys are often seen.Less
With its wide sweep of sandy beach, Hangover Bay offers good snorkelling, swimming, windsurfing and surfing in the Jurien Bay Marine Park. Bottlenose dolphins are common and sea lions can also be occasionally seen. There are picnic tables, gas barbecues, and you can launch your boat from the beach.
The vegetation along the access road is... More composed of summer-scented wattle, coastal banjine and other common coastal species. Bobtails and other reptiles such as Gould’s monitors and carpet pythons (which are completely harmless) may also be seen.
Near the beach you may be able to identify sea spinach (Tetragonia decumbens), spinifex (Spinifex hirsutus) and coast sword sedge (Lepidosperma gladiatum). Recognised by its long, sword-like leaves, coast sword sedge was a useful plant for Aboriginal people. Part of the base of the stem can be eaten raw or roasted and the plant could be used to make rope and string.Less
The Pinnacles Desert Discovery Centre lies in low heath at the edge of the yellow sands of the Pinnacles Desert. It includes displays, soundscapes, video footage, back-lit panels and objects that explain the geology of the pinnacles formations and the cultural and natural heritage values of the area. A retail gallery stocks products that reflect ... Morethe values of the site and toilet facilities are provided.
The building has been designed to blend with the surrounding environment and incorporates solar power, passive solar building design and rainwater collection.
Just behind the visitor centre is the Pinnacles View, a lookout from which a 1.5 kilometre return walktrail through the pinnacles commences. The Desert View trail departs from the car park and should take 45 minutes return.
You are now in the heart of the Pinnacles Desert, one of Australia’s most intriguing landscapes. Parking bays are provided at various points along the one-way drive for those wishing to stop and explore the area on foot. Please treat the pinnacles with respect and never climb on these fragile structures.
Here, thousands of huge limestone pillars ... Morerise from a stark landscape of yellow sand. In places they reach up to 3.5m tall. Some are jagged, sharp-edged columns, rising to a point, while others resemble tombstones.
Features that provide clues to the origin of the Pinnacles can be seen by the astute observer. For example, many pinnacles display cross-bedding structures, where the angle of deposition of the sand changes very abruptly. This indicates that the dunes from which the limestone bed was formed was originally laid down by the wind. It can be contrasted with sand deposited under water, which generally forms horizontal layers. However, sand moved by the wind is laid down in front of moving dunes, which may slope very steeply. The windward side of the dunes also slope at a much lower angle than the side which is sheltered from the wind. Thus the limestone rocks show what the wind direction was thousands of years ago.
Another notable feature of some pinnacles is their mushroom-like shape. These are remnants of a calcrete capping. The mushroom shape has formed because the capping is harder than the limestone below it and therefore weathers at a slower rate. This layer of very hard limestone formed at the interface between the soil and the dunes, where the calcium carbonate sand grains were subject to heavier chemical weathering than those beneath.Less