It’s my last full day in Western Australia and I’ve lined up a day trip out to Nambung National Park in hopes of being wowed by the curious limestone formations found among this desert landscape. It’s a trip I’ve been putting off, not sure that it would be worth the full day trip cost and time commitment. I’m happy to say I was very wrong and am so glad I opted to join a small group tour of 20 out into this unique Australian location.
For this trip, I selected the Pinnacles Magic Tour with Travel Western Australia. Our day consisted of a bush tucker sampling and kangaroo and koala spotting in Yanchep National Park, a tour through the Pinnacles Desert in Nambung National Park with time to explore further, and sandboarding down the massive sand dune systems of Lancelin.
The first stop was Yanchep where we were greeted by a family of kangaroos grazing in the grass. Having been in Australia for 7 months now, I’ve seen my fair share of kangaroos, but I still love them! Next, we walked through a Koala Sanctuary, home to 11 koalas, many of which were awake and eating. Koalas typically spend the majority of their day sleeping so it’s almost a rare sight to see them awake.
After our animal encounters, we learned a bit about Aboriginal culture, including a welcome ceremony in the Wangi Mia (“meeting place”). Our tour guide then treated us to a spread of bush tucker samplings including dried kangaroo and emu meats, bush fruit jams and chutneys, bush tomatoes.
It happened to be Anzac Day as well, which is the day Australia and New Zealand remember those lost in battle. It is typically commemorated with beautiful dawn services around the country and topped off with a few traditional Anzac cookies to share. Unfortunately we did not participate in a service but we did enjoy some cookies. Better than nothing, right?
As we continued along the Indian Ocean drive, the road suddenly opened up to sprawling ocean views. Our drive up to Nambung National Park is to view the Pinnacles Desert, a 4 square km park with over 150,000 pinnacles. These pinnacles are limestone formations formed over thousands of years around the roots of trees. As the sea levels changed, the trees died off leaving these formations. Sand shifts around the desert continuously, often revealing new pinnacles and hiding others once again.
The Pinnacles were much larger than I’d imagined and more interesting to see in person. After our guided tour, I spent another 30 minutes wandering through the sandy landscape.
The final stop on the day tour was in the small coastal town of Lancelin, well known for its sand dune system. This was the activity I was most excited about and part of the reason I booked this trip! Sandboarding! My tour guide handed me a board, a stick of wax, and pointed me up the dunes. It had been raining on and off all day and, while it wasn’t raining at the time, the water had made the sand stick together and therefore a bit more challenging to board. However, the group seemed to do just fine. Supposedly the rain also made you slide down the dune slower but it felt quick to me.
With only one crash and sand everywhere, I slid down the dunes several times, loving it. A great way to end the full day!