Australia’s Coral Coast: From the Pinnacles to the Turquiose Coast

The powdery sands of Sandy Cape

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 natural wonders and expansive beaches in relative peace. That is, until you drive a couple of hours north of Perth along the Indian Ocean Drive to Cervantes and Jurien Bay on the Turquoise Coast.

Spectacular views of The Pinnacles at sunset

The Pinnacles

The Pinnacles Desert is one of the state’s most mysterious natural phenomenas. While visiting at any time is a special experience, the true magic happens at sunrise or sunset. You’ll be rewarded with star-studded views of the sky as the sun slips away and the moon rises behind you. It’s a spectacle to behold as the pinnacles morph into shadowy peaks and valleys, especially as kangaroos, emus and lizards bask in the afterglow.

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.

Where to stay and eat in Cervantes

Cervantes is an idyllic coastal town about fifteen kilometres north of the Pinnacle Desert. Its possible to drive your car along the beach and it’s quite common to see dogs let off the leash running freely alongside their owner’s car.

The Pinnacle Edge Resort is situated in the Cervantes township and is within staggering distance to the coast and country club. The resort offers a variety of self-contained suites, studio hotel rooms, a pool and the onsite Europa Anchor restaurant and is ideal for families, groups and couples on short or long-term getaways. In complete juxtaposition to its exotic surrounds, the Pinnacles Edge Resort makes the rugged landscape just that little more hospitable and accessible to any traveller.

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. Or try one of their fishing charters (where you can actually catch fish), sea lion tours and lobster pot pulling. The fresh menu featuring lobster, prawns and abalone feeds hundreds of tourists every day.

Natural attractions galore

Apart from the beautiful beaches and boating, the region is adorned with lookouts and basins. Sandy Cape is 13km north of Jurien Bay and the snow-white sand dunes are perfect for sandboarding.

The forest of grass trees, officially named Xanthorrhoea (formerly known as blackboys) in Wangarren Nature Reserve are added treat 24 kilometres south of 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. Wildflower season runs from June to September.

Stockyard Gully Cave

Despite the many natural wonders of the region, it’s the turquoise and sandy white hues that stay with you. Quite often you can have the entire beach to yourself.

The Turquoise Coast might well be the ultimate Western Australian beach getaway.

How did The Pinnacles even get there?

The mysterious pinnacles

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. However, a trip to the architecturally designed Pinnacles Desert Discovery Centre sheds some light with estimates as long ago as 500,000 years.

If time is on your side head north to Kalbarri and check out my article 10 reasons to visit Kalbarri.