Nambung National Park. National Park in Western Australia, Australia

Nambung National Park

National Park in Western Australia, Australia

Landscape of the Pinnacles in Nambung National Park, WA. Photo © Stefan L

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Nambung National Park

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The Pinnacles in Nambung National Park, WA. LDR - Nambung National Park
The Pinnacles in Nambung National Park, WA. LDR - Nambung National Park. Photo by Stefan L
Nambung National Park is located about 160 kilometers north of Perth in the Wheatbelt of Western Australia. The fishing town of Cervantes is the nearest town. Two nature reserves border the national park: Southern Beekeepers Nature Reserve and Wanagarren Nature Reserve. Nambung National Park is home to the famous Pinnacle Desert, a major attraction on the Coral Coast of Western Australia. Almost 200,000 people visit the park every year.

Nambung National Park lies right next to the blue Indian Ocean along a stunning coastline. Past the coastal dunes and windy heathlands, the inner lands of the park are true desert, consisting of yellow sand and the otherworldly rock formations of the Pinnacles. It is a barren and uninviting yet beautiful place. The Pinnacles Desert is fairly small part of the larger 17,500-hectare Nambung National Park. As one of the iconic tourist attractions of Western Australia, the national park is a popular stop on coastal road trips.

The waters off the Indian Ocean are home to Sharks, Dolphins, Humpback Whales, and Southern Right Whales. The desert landscapes are a habitat for Grey Kangaroos, Emus, and numerous other bird species and the desert floor is crawling with reptiles, insects, and nocturnal animals. Nambung National Park is at its most stunning from August to October when wildflowers turn the region into a colorful spectacle.


Aborigines have inhabited the area for many thousands of years. The name of the national park comes from the Aboriginal word ‘nambung’, meaning “winding” or “crooked”, and refers to the Nambung River (Wikipedia

The first Europeans to explore the area were the Dutch in the 1650s. They added North and South Hummocks to their maps. Because of the presence of thousands of limestone pillars, they first thought the area was a lost city. Surprisingly, the Pinnacles Desert remained fairly unknown until the 1960s when it was included in the already existing Nambung National Park.

Things to See and Do

Nambung National Park’s desert landscape of golden sands and thousands of limestone pillars, up to five meters high, looks like it comes straight out of a sci-fi movie. There is great hiking in the park and its location near the Indian Ocean allows for several fantastic water-related activities as well. A great base to explore the area is the fishing town of Cervantes, located about 20 kilometers north of the park. The town is surrounded by white beaches and coral reefs. A big attraction there is Lake Thetis (Wikipedia Article), a salt lake that is home to marine stromatolites, real living fossils. The coastal national parks of Jurien Bay lie nearby as well. The beaches around Cervantes are great for swimming, sunbathing, and (wind)surfing. People can go on deep-sea fishing trips, go snorkeling, or go on road trips along the stunning coast. Sea Lions and Dolphins can often be seen playing in the water.

In Nambung National Park itself, there is a beautiful scenic walk and loop drive between, through, and alongside the pillars of the Pinnacles Desert. The Pinnacles come in all kinds of forms and shapes, from sharps peaks to low domes. They are made of shells, dating back millions of years. It is suggested to visit the Pinnacles Desert right before sunset and observe the spectacular sunset colors over the desert and pillars from the lookout point. The Discovery Centre has displays on the history and origins of the Pinnacle Desert and information on the national park’s flora and fauna.
The coastal areas of Nambung National Park offer amazing swimming, snorkeling, fishing, and surfing opportunities. Thirsty Point Lookout is a recommended fishing spot. Kangaroo Point is a beautiful place where kangaroos gather on the beach in the morning and evening. The blue and clear waters of Hangover Bay are excellent for swimming and snorkeling.

How to Get There

Nambung National Park and the Pinnacles can be accessed from Cervantes, which is located less than 20 kilometers north of the park, on Cervantes Road and Indian Ocean Drive. From Perth, the national park can be reached directly from Indian Ocean Drive. Incidentally, the Indian Ocean Drive continues north all the way to Exmouth and Ningaloo Reef Marine Park. From the parking lot, it is a short and easy 100-meter walk to the desert. In addition to the walk, there is also the opportunity to do a short scenic drive between the Pinnacles. A viewing platform, the Pinnacles Lookout, is reached after a nice 5-kilometer walk through the national park.

There are also bus and 4WD tours from Perth.

Similar Landmarks

Nearby parks are Badgingarra National Park and the national parks in Jurien Bay. Other spectacular rock formations can be seen in national parks all over Australia. Port Campbell National Park with the Twelve Apostles, Uluru in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and the Bungles Bungles in Purnululu National Park are just a few examples.

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Author: bramreusen. Last updated: Oct 24, 2014

Pictures of Nambung National Park

Pinnacles - Nambung National park  07 - 365 - 2014 - Nambung National Park
Pinnacles - Nambung National park 07 - 365 - 2014 - Photo by Traveller_40

The Pinnacles WA - Nambung National Park
The Pinnacles WA - Nambung National Park. Photo by cskk


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