The Pinnacles Desert – a guide to visiting and camping

Perth to Esperance Road Trip Guide

The Pinnacles Desert in Western Australia is characterised by thousands of limestone pillars that stick out from the desert floor, creating a unique landscape. The Pinnacles Desert covers 190 hectares of land and contains thousands of pinnacles, some over 5 metres high. Some are jagged, sharp-edged columns, rising to a point, while others resemble tombstones. You will notice a variation in colour due to varying soil types. A trail leads you through the million-year-old Pinnacles to a lookout. Sunrise and sunset are the best times to visit and photograph the landscapes.

A guide to visiting and camping at the Pinnacles

This is everything you need to know about visiting the Pinnacles, one of Australia’s most intriguing landscapes.

Getting to the Pinnacles Desert

The Pinnacles Desert is located approximately 2 hours north of Perth, within Nambung National Park. You will need a car to explore the Pinnacles Desert. Alternatively, you could take a tour from Perth.

The road into the Pinnacles Desert is sealed and there is a car park within walking distance of the Pinnacles Loop Trail. All trailers and caravans must be left at this car park.

National Park Fees

A national park fee of $13 per vehicle is payable at the gate when visiting the Pinnacles Desert. If you plan to visit multiple national parks, a national parks pass is recommended. This will allow you to enter multiple national parks in Western Australia.

Things to do in the Pinnacles Desert

On your way into the Pinnacles Desert, you will pass the Pinnacles Desert Discovery Centre. The Pinnacles Desert Discovery Centre is open daily from 9.30am – 4.30pm and is a great place to stop to get maps and information about the area. You can also learn more about the history of the Pinnacles here.

To explore the Pinnacles Desert, there is a trail called the Pinnacles Loop that visitors can drive or walk around. This trail is a 4km unsealed road, suitable for all cars. Any trailers or caravans must be left at the car park at the entrance.

Walking is the best way to make the most of your trip to the Pinnacles Desert. You can walk the 4km Pinnacles Loop or you can take the desert view walking trail which leads you from the discovery centre to the Pinnacles View Lookout. This walking trail is a 1.2 km loop track.

A guide to visiting and camping at the Pinnacles

2 hours in the park is the ideal amount of time for the walk, sightseeing and photography.

Other places to explore near the Pinnacles

Within Nambung National Park (which runs beside the Turquoise Coast), you will find beautiful beaches, coastal dune systems, shady groves of tuart trees and low heathlands of plants that produce vibrantly coloured flowers between August and October.

Some nearby attractions include:

  • Cervantes – the nearby coastal township, found half an hour North of The Pinnacles.
  • Thirsty Point – a great swimming beach near Cervantes.
  • Hangover Bay – just 20 minutes from the Pinnacles and you will arrive in Hangover Bay, a beautiful beach within Nambung National Park.
  • Lancelin Sand Dunes – The Lancelin Sand Dunes are a popular spot for sandboarding and 4WDing. They are found an hour south of the Pinnacles, on your way back to Perth.
  • Yanchep National Park – 1.5 hours South of The Pinnacles is Yanchep National Park, a great place to stop in on your way home. There are several walking trails within Yanchep National Park.

Within Nambung National Park you can enjoy boating, camping, fishing, 4WDing, scenic drives, snorkelling, surfing, swimming, walks, sailing and scuba diving.

Camping in the Pinnacles Desert

There are no campsites in the Pinnacles Desert, but you will find campsites within a 30-minute drive.

Some nearby campsites include:

  • Tuart Reserve – This FREE campsite is a 30 minute drive North of the Pinnacles. This is great for those looking for a place to camp for just one night.
  • Nambung Station Stay and B&B – This low cost campsite is a one hour drive from The Pinnacles. It is $10 per night per adult. Powered and unpowered sites are offered and activities include bush walking, stargazing and bird watching.
  • RAC Cervantes Holiday Park – This ocean side holiday park is 30 minutes from The Pinnacles. The cost is between $30 – $100 per night, and offers full faciltiies to guests.

We camped at Tuart Reserve. This free campsite is one of the closest campsites from The Pinnacles, which is great if you plan to stay in the park late into the evening to enjoy the sunset. You won’t find any facilities at this campsite, but it is a great place to spend the night before or after exploring the Pinnacles.

When preparing for a camping trip at the Pinnacles, you will need:

  • A Tent
  • Bedding – an air mattress, pump, pillows and blankets
  • Camp chairs
  • An esky
  • Cooker
  • Cooking utensils
  • Food
  • Drinking water

I get all my camping gear from Oztrail.

To find out more about my camping set up, click here.

Best time of the year to visit the Pinnacles Desert

The best time to visit the Pinnacles Desert is July, August, September and October. Sunrise and sunset are the best times to visit and photograph the landscapes.

Packing for a day at The Pinnacles

A hat, sunscreen and water are essential for a trip to the Pinnacles Desert, especially during the summer months. A camera is another item you won’t want to forget. You may also wish to carry some snacks.

Other things to consider when visiting

  • Pets, open fires, and camping are all prohibited within the park boundaries.
  • Never climb on or touch the fragile structures.
  • Don’t litter in the national park. If you take rubbish in with you, take it out with you and put it in a bin.
  • Stay on the walking track to help preserve the Pinnacles.
  • Make sure you stop in at the Discovery Centre to make the most of your trip to the Pinnacles.
  • Watch for vehicles when crossing the roads in the Pinnacles Desert. The walking track crosses the loop drive multiple times.
  • Always carry water.

Pin – Visiting the Pinnacles Desert

A guide to visiting and camping at The Pinnacles Desert

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