There may not be another place on earth like Nambung National Park.
Nambung National Park is located in the southwestern part of Australia and covers an area of about 75 square miles. The name of the park is derived from the Nambung River which enters into the park but then vanishes underground into a limestone cave area. There are two key areas of the park, the shoreline beaches at Hangover Bay and the Pinnacles Desert.
Nice beaches in Australia are easily found so the main focus of this post is on the Pinnacles Desert. There are literally thousands of rock pinnacles rising up from the desert sand across the desert.
The Pinnacles come in all sizes
Many of the pinnacles are very large with some reaching a height of up to 11.5 feet. Some of the larger pinnacles that I saw are shown in the photos below.
A majority of the pinnacles are small to medium size and these size pinnacles are everywhere. The average size of the most of the pinnacles in the desert are shown in the next few photos.
Many of the pinnacles are strange shaped
While the size of the pinnacles vary from very small to fairly large, almost all of them are strange shaped. These strange shaped rocks protruding from a blanket of smooth sand really seem to be out of place. A few of the stranger shaped rock that I saw on my brief visit are shown in the next set of photos.
Am I on Mars?
Most of the area has small bushes growing around the formation and there are occasional bushes growing around the individual pinnacles but some places gave me the feeling that I was walking on the surface of Mars. An example of these areas are shown in the photos below.
Enjoy nature respectfully!
The park allows visitors to drive through the middle of the pinnacle formations but there are designated driving paths that are outlined by small rock. These paths along with cars showing people driving through the Pinnacle Desert are shown in the next few photos.
The park also lets people walk through the desert and take photos with the pinnacles but be prepared to get a little sand everywhere especially if the wind is blowing hard like it was at the time of my visit. There is also a designated viewing platform with a deck and wooden walking path if you want to avoid coming home feeling like you played in the sandbox all day. Examples of both of these are shown below.
Not all deserts look the same
One of the unexpected sights for me was seeing a white sand desert right next to the tan sand of the Pinnacles Desert. It seemed strange to me that the two very distinctive colors of sand could be so close to each other and stay separated.
The Pinnacles Desert is less than 4 km from the coast line of the Indian Ocean where white sand beaches line the coast. The land is mostly flat and the vegetation is mainly scrub bushes so the coast line is easily seen from the Pinnacles Desert which is shown in the photos below.
Wildlife may be present but not always visible
Wildlife is easily seen in most of Australia’s nature areas but it is not abundant in this park. My visit to the park was during the middle of the day which made for great photos of the pinnacles with almost no shadows but it was hot and the wildlife that does live in the desert was nowhere in sight. Visiting in the early morning or late afternoon might allow you to see some of the resident wildlife like kangaroos, emus, black cockatoos, bobtails, dingo, possum, red fox and sand goannas.
The Dust on My Shoes
I always enjoy seeing strange and unusual places and the Pinnacle Desert in Nambung National Park definitely qualifies as a strange and unusual place. It is located very close to the beach but the scenery gave me the feeling that I was on the surface of Mars and nowhere near the ocean.
Nambung National Park is about a two hour drive from Perth so it is not a place that is going to be crowded. There was no other people at the park when we arrived but other people did arrive while we were still in the park. Times when I am in nature with no other people within sight are times that I cherish because it is difficult to have those experiences.
I like the rock lined paths that designates the driving route. The rocks easily outline the driving area but they don’t distract from the beauty of the environment like a guard rail would. I think people that come to an area like this appreciate nature in its pure form and they will try not to disturb the nature while they enjoy their visit.
Wandering around a hot desert with strong wind blowing sand around and looking at strand shaped rocks may not be everyone’s idea of how they want to spend their vacation but there may not be another place on earth like Nambung National Park and that makes my visit very special for me.
Most of my travels are for seeing famous sites but I always try to spend a portion of my trip in nature and many times my experiences in nature are equally memorable as the famous sites.