Cast your mind back to a simpler time when seaside holidays were all about family and friends. Where a splash in the surf, board games and fish ‘n chips at sunset were the makings of cherished memories.
There aren’t many places left in the world where you can enjoy unadulterated holidays among natural wonders and expansive beaches in relative peace. That is until you drive a couple of hours north of Perth along Indian Ocean Drive to the Turquoise Coast. At which point, you’ll wonder why you mightn’t have considered Cervantes as a getaway before, a town which might even test the geography of the most dedicated of Perth-ites.
The Pinnacles Desert is one of the state’s most mysterious natural phenomena’s and intrigues about fifteen kilometres south of Cervantes. While visiting at any time is a special experience, the true magic happens at sunrise or sunset. The star-studded night is a spectacle to behold as the pinnacles morph into shadowy peaks and valleys, especially as kangaroos, emus and lizards bask in the afterglow.
Pinnacles Edge Resort Manager Jennie Nuttall works alongside her husband Sandy who recommends, “Sunset is the best time to visit. Enjoy 180-degree views of the sky as the sun slips away and the moon rises behind you.”
To truly enjoy the Pinnacles in all their glory at sunrise or sunset, staying for at least one night is essential. That’s what the brochures will tell you, but then you’d be missing the point of the Turquoise Coast. Besides, there’s always the danger of hitting a kangaroo when driving at dusk in the outback.
“Many first-timers come for the night and sleep so soundly. There’s no pollution, and they realise it’s such a beautiful town that they then come back and stay longer,” says Sandy and adds, “There’s not too much regulation and you can drive your car along the beach. And the locals love letting their dogs off the leash to run beside their cars.”
Jennie and Sandy didn’t think twice about leaving Mandurah, which had been home for 12-years when Jennie was initially offered a job managing the local caravan park. Jennie then became the Tourism Manager at the Lobster Shack before taking a casual role at the resort, which eventually led to her landing the management role.
With a variety of self-contained suites, studio hotel rooms, the onsite Europa Anchor restaurant and pool, the Pinnacles Edge Resort has every amenity required for families, groups and couples on short or long-term getaways. Located in the heart of town, the complex also houses Cervantes Pinnacles Motel and is in staggering distance of shops, cafes, including the iconic Lobster Shack, country club and golf course and of course, that glorious coastline.
Still a fishing town, one of the top tourist attractions in Cervantes is the Lobster Shack. A tour of the factory provides a unique insight into WA’s lobster industry as do the fishing charters (where you can actually catch fish), sea lion tours and lobster pot pulling. The fresh menu featuring lobster, prawns and abalone feeds a staggering 700 people a day.
Some of Jennie’s favourite things include, “The beautiful beaches, pristine water, kicking back on a boat and spending time with the close-knit community. Living here is just lovely.” She also recommends exploring the lookouts and basins, wildflowers from June to September, Sandy Cape 13km north of Jurien Bay, admiring the snow-white sand dunes and the forest of grass trees, officially named Xanthorrhoea (formerly known as blackboys) in Wangarren Nature Reserve when approaching Cervantes. The ancient thrombolites at Lake Thetis and the extensive cave system in Stockyard Gully National Park have on more than one occasion further delayed the return to reality.
Despite the many natural wonders of the region, it’s the turquoise and sandy white hues that stay with you. Jenny adds, “Sometimes you can go to the beach and can have the entire thing to yourself.”
In complete juxtaposition to its exotic surrounds, the luxurious Pinnacles Edge Resort makes the rugged landscape just that little more hospitable and accessible to any traveller.
Cervantes might well be the ultimate Western Australian beach getaway.
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Situated in Nambung National Park, the Pinnacles Desert contains thousands of limestone mounds in varying heights, shapes and widths. As the sand shifts, eerie shadows appear in stark contrast to the variation in soils and luminous sky. It’s yet to be confirmed when the pinnacles emerged from the desert floor, but a trip to the architecturally designed Pinnacles Desert Discovery Centre sheds some light with estimates as long ago as 500,000 years.
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