Pinnacles and Sandboards

I debated back and forth quite a while on what to do in Western Australia. The problem with travelling the state is that, like most of Australia, is that is is massive, remote and often difficult to get around. I originally had just planned to see Perth and Fremantle in order to save my money for the East Coast. Once I got there and starting hearing about the West Coast, especially further north…my resolution broke and I decided to join a tour. And not just a short tour either, this would be a 14 day monstrosity covering 6,000km and seeing many of the highlights scattered across the vast expanse of Western Australia.

To that effect I found myself on a sunny late-September morning boarding a small van and heading north. Our first destination was the sand dunes of Lancelin.

Here we grabbed sand-boards, akin to snowboards but without an edge and made out of simple plywood instead of the fancier materials that snowboards use, and trudged to the top of the dune. From this angle the dune doesn’t look like much. From the top, it is both a steep and long descent back down to the ground below! We all eventually went down, most of us sitting but a few adventurous souls (our guide and the youngest member of our group) went down standing up. It was good fun and a nice way to start our day.

An hour further down the road we jumped out of our van once again to do some exploring. This time it was of the bizarre shapes in the Namburg National Park known as the Pinnacles.

Why these strange spires are here isn’t exactly known. The spires are limestone in formation and made from ancient sea shells, but beyond that there is no consensus on HOW these things came to be. There are a few prevailing theories, including that these are actually ancient root systems of a forest long gone. The roots pulled water, and dissolved minerals from the surrounding area. The dissolved minerals were of no use to the roots and were left just outside the roots system, where components such as calcium began concentrating. After a long time, a large amount of calcium would have concentrated, later forming calcrete. Eventually this calcrete would be exposed from the shifting sands, leaving these odd pillars in the sand.

Whether it be ancient roots, aliens or some other way of formation the Pinnacles were an interesting place to explore for an hour.

By now everyone had worked up a good appetite. We headed to the seaside village of Jurien Bay. Here we got our first tastes of the beaches that were in store for us.

This wasn’t the camera doing something funny, the water just looks outrageously fake. It’s crystal clear when in, and the white sand and clear water gives it a neon blue colour. It’s fantastic to look upon.

We didn’t have much more to do today than drive. This would be a recurring part of our travels, several hours of driving nearly every day. It was a necessary evil as the best parts of Western Australia take many days to get to. As we shall see. We arrived at our destination just as the sun was setting.

The moon was rising as the sun was setting. It was to be a full moon. You can see our cute little van, carrying 11 tourists including myself.

It was a short drive to our hostel from there. At the hostel our guide made us an excellent dinner (to be a recurring theme, as our guide was the best chef I’ve had for tours). We got a fire started and relaxed near the warmth. Our guide pulled out his guitar and two others from the hostel picked up their instruments…and unfortunately couldn’t pull off anything together. They were fine solo but terrible trying to play as a group. Oh well, we all enjoyed ourselves regardless.

Day 1 was finished and our tour was still just beginning. I was looking forward to tomorrow when I went to sleep – it would be our first day hiking in gorges.

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