13 THINGS TO DO Road Trip Perth To The Pinnacles [2023]

Are you looking for an amazing road trip experience from Perth to the Pinnacles? Then head to the Pinnacles Desert, a stunning natural limestone formation located in Nambung National Park, just two hours’ drive north of Perth.

This incredible area is home to some of Australia’s most fascinating wildlife and birdlife, as well as the impressive Pinnacles themselves – soaring limestone pillars standing as tall as 3.5m!

The Pinnacles Desert are located in the Nambung National Park, which covers an area of 17,487 hectares. The Pinnacles are awe-inspiring limestone formations that were formed when the remains of sea shells were left after the ocean receded roughly 25,000 to 30,000 years ago.

Winds from the coast then slowly eroded away much of the sand found around them – preserving these remarkable columns for us to marvel at today.

If you haven’t visited Western Australia before, you may be wondering what you can do between Perth and Pinnacles. Never fear! I have lived in WA for my whole life and traveled the breadth and width of it, so I’m the perfect person to tell you what I think you should do if you’re visiting this neck of the wood!

I definitely think if you are trying to do Perth to the Pinnacles and back to Perth in the same day, you should head straight to the Pinnacles so you can tick that off in the morning, leaving you the rest of the day to pick and choose what you want to do as you head home.

Hence, my list of top activities reflects this, and I’ve ordered them in distance from the Pinnacles to Perth and I recommend you choose 1-2 things to do on your way home, time-dependent (or do them all, if you’re not in a rush!)

So, let’s get into it!

the pinnacles in WA, perth to the pinnacles road trip

This article contains some affiliate links which means that I may earn a small commission when you click on them, at no additional cost to you. I do hope you find the information in this article helpful!

Don’t have time to read my full list? Here are my top 3 recommendations on things to do between Perth and The Pinnacles (aside from the Pinnacles obviously!)

Why You Should Visit The Pinnacles

Visiting the Pinnacles in Nambung National Park is a must for anyone traveling to Western Australia. The area is renowned for its unique landscape of limestone pillars rising from the desert sands, making it an awe-inspiring sight that few have experienced. Whether you choose to take a scenic stroll around the park or take an exciting helicopter tour, you’re sure to be mesmerized by the amazing views.

Stroll through the park on an invigorating 1.2km signed track, immersing yourself in the stunning pinnacles and taking beautiful landscape pictures along your journey – with a spectacular view from Desert View Lookout at its halfway point!

Alternatively, you can also drive the gravel-covered 4km loop track that runs through the park which is suitable for both 2WD and 4WD. Plus, there are parking bays along the route so you can get out of your car and walk around. And of course, the drive track also passes by the lookout at Desert View Lookout so you don’t miss out!

After having a good look around, you can check out the Pinnacles Desert Discovery Centre. The centre is home to a gallery full of stunning photography, multimedia installations, and artworks inspired by the area and a gift shop for that perfect souvenir to remember your trip!

BEST PERTH TO THE PINNACLES TOUR

If you are looking for a tour to the Pinnacles, my pick is Pinnacles, Koalas And Sandboarding Tour Day Trip From Perth Tour because it combines off-roading with sandboarding, as well seeing koalas and wildflowers AND the Pinnacles. This tour is super action-packed and is highly rated!

Perth To The Pinnacles Drive Time

Perth to the Pinnacles and Nambung National Park is a 2.5-hour drive each way on sealed roads, without stops.

Perth To The Pinnacles Distance

The direct distance from Perth to the Pinnacles is approximately 191km by road.

Best Time Of Year To Visit The Pinnacles

The best time of the year to visit the Pinnacles is July, August, September and October, which is their wildflower season. The weather is also quite mild and pleasant during these months.

How To Get From Perth To The Pinnacles By Car

Main Route

The best way to get to the Pinnacles is by car. You can reach the Pinnacles by heading north on Mitchell Freeway, then along Wanneroo Road, which becomes Indian Ocean Drive, before turning right onto Pinnacles Drive.

Do I need an International Drivers License?

If you’re planning on renting a car during your trip, an International Driver’s License is recommended but not required. You can find more information about which countries require additional licences to drive on Australian roads through the WA Department of Transport website.

Perth To The Pinnacles Tour

I think that if you’re not from Western Australia, it could be really worth considering taking a tour to the Pinnacles instead of self-driving there.

Taking a tour to the Pinnacles is a great way to explore this stunning area without having to worry about navigating unfamiliar roads. Plus, you can benefit from the knowledge of a local guide who will be able to point out all the amazing sights and explain their history and significance.

Plus, best of all, you can relax on the bus and let someone else take care of the driving for you!

With all this being said, there a few tour companies to choose from. I have narrowed it down to my top 3, who have slightly different offerings:

  • I like The Pinnacles Desert Sunset And Star-Gazing Tour if you want to see the views of the Milky Way, planets and moon (maybe you come from a country with lots of light pollution? This could be an amazing tour for you!) and you want to go on a tour that is REALLY highly rated by a lot of people.
  • I like this Full Day Pinnacles Desert And New Norcia Tour if you’re interested in seeing some things that are truly different and unique (most Western Australians I know have never been to New Norcia!) and you’re interested in learning about Australia’s only Benedictine Abbey as well as seeing the Pinnacles.
  • I like this Pinnacles, Koalas And Sandboarding Tour Day Trip From Perth Tour if you like a bit of adventure and want to combine off-roading with sandboarding, as well seeing koalas and wildflowers AND the Pinnacles. This tour is super action-packed!
a stop on the perth to the pinnacles road trip
Enjoying the swimming pool at the RAC Cervantes Holiday Park on our Perth Pinnacles Road Trip!

🛌Best Accommodation Between Perth And The Pinnacles

I know I’ve given you a lot of things to do around the Pinnacles – sorry about that! So, if you’re like me, and you like to take your time looking around, I’ve got 3 accommodation options for you in Cervantes.

If you are heading to the Pinnacles the only place to stay really is Cervantes as there is basically nowhere to stay between Yanchep and Cervantes otherwise, aside from some holiday homes which aren’t really suitable for a one night stay.

Plus, I’m probably bias here, but I really like the RAC Cervantes Holiday Park when we stayed there, I only wish I had gotten more photos! It has excellent facilities with a really cool games room, cafe and swimming pool. I really enjoyed staying in their chalets, I thought they really punched above their weight!

🛌BEST ACCOMMODATION NEAR THE PINNACLES🛌

Best Stops Between Perth To The Pinnacles

Depending on how long your holiday is, some of the stops I have recommended may be more or less important depending on how much time you have.

I have included potential stops that are close to the main route, but you can also use this list to just choose one or two things to do, or not stop at all and head straight back to Perth after visiting the Pinnacles!

I recommend heading straight to the Pinnacles from Perth so then you can relax and have a bit more of a leisurely day looking around afterwards. With this in mind, I have made this list to be ordered from things closest to the Pinnacles, and then head further south until you eventually arrive back in Perth.

Let’s get into it!

Looking to get around via car? Find the cheapest car rentals here!

1.Cervantes

📍Distance From The Pinnacles: 22km

📍Distance From Perth: 198km

After seeing the amazing Pinnacles in all their glory, I recommend heading straight to Cervantes. It’s a very small fishing town, just 22km north of the Pinnacles, and it probably seems counterintuitive to keep heading north, but Cervantes is worth the trip, especially if you’re looking for somewhere to have lunch.

The town beach in Cervantes isn’t the best (Jurien Bay, further north, is much nicer, and also has a good playground and huge swings on the foreshore overlooking the nice, big jetty), and there’s not much else at Cervantes, so I would definitely Cervantes it more like a stopover rather than a destination.

📍Cervantes | Google Maps

meal at the lobster shack cervantes on perth to pinnacles road trip
My delicious food at the Lobster Shack!

The really famous place to visit in Cervantes is the Lobster Shack, which is open for lunch daily from 11am until 3pm. The Carnarvon King Prawn bucket here is really good, but this place can get really busy, the carpark is always really full and I generally would give it a wide birth and go straight to the pub instead, but more on that later.

The Lobster Shack does have some really cool things going for it. Firstly, it has a massive range of fresh seafood on its menu, which you don’t see too much these days, and if you wanted to gorge on a whole lobster, or a huge seafood platter, or even try abalone, this is the place in WA I would recommend you do it!

Not only do they serve delectable seafood cuisine, but they also have a diverse selection of beer, wine, and cocktails to drink. Plus, you can enjoy breathtaking views of the ocean, and watch as fishing vessels dock with their day’s catch from the vantage point of your table overlooking the water.

The Lobster Shack is far more than a restaurant. It’s owned by a family who pioneered rock lobster fishing in the region and offers visitors a comprehensive insight into all areas of rock lobster industry operations.

The Lobster Shack also offers tours of their processing plant, which is a great way to see behind the scenes and get an insight into one of WA’s major commercial industries. The tour takes about half an hour and is led by a friendly local guide who has a wealth of knowledge about the region and what it takes to bring lobsters from the wild to your plate.

During the tour, you can trace the lobster’s journey from the sorting process to live holding before they are sent into the live pack-out room and finally off around the world. You’ll even get a firsthand look at some of the boats used in catching rock lobsters! At just $15 for adults and $7.50 for children, it’s a great way to learn more about the industry, and you can even take a selfie with lobster!

Contact the Lobster Shack directly to find out if they’re offering Factory Tours on the day you are visiting!

The Lobster Shack also offers adventurous folk an amazing opportunity to observe one of the world’s rarest seals, the Australian Sea Lion, on their Australian Sea Lion Tour. This incredible tour takes you out to the islands around Cervantes where these majestic animals can be observed in their natural habitats.

What’s included in this tour? You’ll get to experience an unforgettable 90-minute cruise, with light refreshments included on board. Plus, you will also be provided with snorkel sets if you want to have a swim while you are out there.

Tickets are $85 each and can be purchased here.

Lastly, the Lobster Shack also hires stand-up paddleboards or SUPs. You can book these online as well, which is recommended if this is something you really want to try. For $30, it comes with a short introduction on how to use one, and an expert checking that all your gear is set up correctly.

📍The Lobster Shack Address: 37 Catalonia Street, Cervantes WA | Google Maps

Cervantes Bar And Bistro is where I would head for lunch unless you really want to go to the Lobster Shack. Here, they serve an absolutely epic pub meal. It’s a bit old-school, but I think that’s part of the charm, plus the food is really good and the vibe is very laid back.

📍Cervantes Bar And Bistro Address: Cadiz Street, Cervantes WA | Google Maps

2.Thirsty Point Lookout

📍Distance From The Pinnacles: 22km

📍Distance From Perth: 198km

Thirsty Point Lookout is a nice spot to visit if you’re in the area. From the lookout, you get breathtaking panoramic views of Australia’s gorgeous Indian Ocean coastline and can even watch windsurfers if the conditions are right.

The white sandy beach and stunning turquoise waters are perfect for swimming in – the shallow water make it suitable for kids and it’s also an excellent spot for fishing. There is even a sheltered picnic bench with a shower, water fountain, pet bowl and other amenities to make your visit more comfortable.

As the sun sets, Thirsty Point Lookout is the perfect place to watch nature in all its glory! Make sure to bring your camera – you won’t want to miss capturing that perfect shot!

If you’re traveling with a pet, don’t worry – dogs are allowed on the beach here. It’s just a 10-minute walk from the town center, so it’s easily accessible for everyone.

📍Thirsty Point Lookout Address: Seville Street, Cervantes WA | Google Maps

3.Lake Thetis

📍Distance From The Pinnacles: 20km

📍Distance From Perth: 198km

If you’re looking for a unique experience, then Lake Thetis should definitely be on your list of must-see places when visiting Cervantes!

Located just a five-minute drive from Cervantes, Lake Thetis is home to thousands of stromatolites – layered rock-like formations created by photosynthetic cyanobacteria. Lake Thetis is one of the only places in the world with living stromatolites, and they provide a record of the most ancient life forms on the planet.

Take a leisurely 1.5km loop trail around the shore of the lake and stop at the lookout points for photos – though it can be challenging to see on windy days when the water ripples. So, make sure you plan your visit during summer when it’s dry and you get a better view of the stromatolites.

📍Lake Thetis Address: Off Hansen Bay Road, Cervantes WA | Google Maps

4.Kangaroo Point

📍Distance From The Pinnacles: 10km

📍Distance From Perth: 189km

Kangaroo Point is a great spot to visit if you’re already visiting The Pinnacles and looking for a place nearby for a picnic that you’ve prepared earlier. Not only do you get to go swimming, snorkeling, and fishing, but there’s also the added bonus of getting up close and personal with some local wildlife, just try and get down early before the wind picks up. Plus, the BBQ facilities are perfect for cooking up a feast to enjoy with your mates as you watch the sunset over the bay.

📍Kangaroo Point Address: Off Indian Ocean Drive, Nambung WA | Google Maps

5.Hangover Bay

📍Distance From The Pinnacles: 6km

📍Distance From Perth: 184km

Hangover Bay is a great spot for swimming, snorkeling, and fishing. It’s sheltered from southerly winds so the waters are usually calm and inviting. It’s also only 10 minutes from the Pinnacles so it’s a good option if you’re looking for somewhere to have your picnic lunch or BBQ.

It also has many amenities to make your visit even more enjoyable! There are BBQs, picnic tables (including one that caters for wheelchairs) and long drop toilets, as well as a wheelchair-accessible toilet. If you’re lucky, you may even spot some of the bottlenose dolphins or sea lions that frequent this area!

📍Hangover Bay Address: Off Indian Ocean Drive, Nambung WA | Google Maps

6.Nilgen Lookout

📍Distance From The Pinnacles: 56km

📍Distance From Perth: 134km

Nilgen Lookout is a great spot to stop and take in the stunning beauty of this area. Located 1.5 hours from Perth, it’s an ideal pitstop for those traveling either north or south on their journey – and it even offers picnic tables and good views of the sand dunes and ocean!

You can also take a short walk trail, explore the local wildflowers in springtime, or just have a break from your drive. There’s plenty of parking and rubbish bins to make your visit more comfortable. There are just no toilets here, you’ll need to head a couple of kilometers to the rest area at Nilgen to find some public toilets.

📍Nilgen Lookout Address: Off Indian Ocean Drive, Nilgen WA | Google Maps

7.Lancelin

Lancelin is famous for it’s sand dunes!

📍Distance From The Pinnacles: 76km

📍Distance From Perth: 126km

If you’re looking for an adventure close to Perth, then Lancelin is the perfect place. With its beautiful hard white beaches, huge white sand dunes and native wildlife, there are plenty of activities to keep you entertained and occupied in this holiday paradise!

Whether it’s sandboarding or spotting dolphins from the shoreline, taking a sand dune tour or watching the cray boats come in, surfing at Back Beach or marveling at the views from Lancelin Lookout, you won’t be short of things to do while you’re here.

Just bear in mind that it is a 15km trip each way off of Indian Ocean Drive, so visiting Lancelin can add at least a couple of hours to your journey (although it’s very worth it, especially if you’re into adventure activities!)

📍Lancelin | Google Maps

BEST LANCELIN SANDBOARD AND QUAD BIKE ADVENTURE TOUR!

I like this Sandboard And Quad Bike Tour because it’s adrenaline-fueled, perfect for families, and an awesome and unique way to see the Lancelin Sand Dunes!

Give sandboarding a go! It’s so much fun.

8.Guilderton Lighthouse

📍Distance From The Pinnacles: 110km

📍Distance From Perth: 93km

Maybe this is an attraction that won’t interest everyone, but if you like lighthouses and beautiful views, this could be an interesting stop for you! The Guilderton Lighthouse is the last one to have been built in Perth, constructed from bricks specifically made for it.

From Fremantle to Guilderton, there are only two lighthouses, and this is one of them! It’s all automated these days, and unfortunately, you can’t climb or enter the lighthouse, however, if you’re into architecture, it’s definitely worth a quick stop!

📍Guilderton Lighthouse Address: 5 Tank Road, Guilderton WA | Google Maps

9.Moore River Estuary

📍Distance From The Pinnacles: 110km

📍Distance From Perth: 93km

If you do decide to head into Guilderton, also make sure to check out the Moore River Estuary. It’s a beautiful spot to explore, with its sandy beach and crystal clear water, perfect for the kids to safely swim without having to worry about river currents or rips.

The area is also great for fishing (if you head a little upstream you can target Black Bream) and perfect for kayaking or canoeing – just make sure you bring your own gear as there are no hire places in the area! You can even choose to BBQ your lunch on the beach with the free BBQs, or if you’d rather leave it to someone else, there’s a cafe close by.

Finally, don’t forget that you need to pay for parking in the area – there are lots of spots available though so make sure you get a ticket!

📍Moore River Estuary Address: Moore River Drive, Guilderton WA | Google Maps

10.Gravity Discovery Centre

📍Distance From The Pinnacles: 125km

📍Distance From Perth: 78km

If you have a budding Astronomer or Astronaut in your family, perhaps you’d consider stopping here! It’s a bit out of the way, but if you love space you’ll love Gravity Discovery Centre.

It’s a fun, interactive and educational space exploration centre, with galleries exploring cosmology and fundamental forces.

You can also recreate the experiment Galileo Galilei conducted 300 years ago from atop the Leaning Tower of Pisa (without the leaning!) or take one of their astronomy nights complete with a planetarium show and stargazing through high-powered telescopes.

This is a great place to show kids the magic of science and learn about the universe!

📍Gravity Discovery Centre Address: 1098 Military Road, Yeal WA | Google Maps

BEST NIGHTTIME EXPERIENCE TOUR FOR BUDDING ASTRONOMERS!

I like this Gravity Discovery Centre Nightime Experience Tour because you get to learn stargazing in a world-class stargazing facility guided by an experienced astronomer who will teach you how to observe planets, clusters, galaxies and nebulae!

11.Alex T. Brown Shipwreck

📍Distance From The Pinnacles: 142km

📍Distance From Perth: 61km

I am hesitant to include this just in case you visit and it is buried in sand, but I will still mention it because maybe this is something you’re interested in and you’re happy to risk it!

The Alex T. Brown Shipwreck is an old 4-masted wooden schooner that was blown ashore north of Perth in May 1917 during a severe gale. The wreck has since become one of Perth’s best-kept secrets, with many homesteads in the Wanneroo district believed to have been built from materials salvaged from the wreck.

The wreck is still accessible from a beach locally named The Spot, (which is awesome for surfing FYI). To access the wreck, park here and take the track down. Do be aware that with the shifting sands, it might not always be visible – so if you’re planning to visit and check out the remains of the shipwreck, it’s best to go with no expectations!

📍Alex. T Brown Shipwreck Address: Access is via The Spot Carpark, Off Two Rocks Road, Yanchep WA | Google Maps

12.Yanchep National Park

📍Distance From The Pinnacles: 139km

📍Distance From Perth: 52km

Yanchep National Park is the perfect place for families and nature lovers alike. This West Australian gem offers plenty of incredible sights and experiences, from its stunning coastal scenery to diverse wildlife encounters.

The park boasts an abundance of native plants and animals, including western grey kangaroos, and native birds. Stroll through the koala boardwalk and discover all about Australia’s beloved native symbol – how many of these cuddly creatures will you spot?  

You can explore the many walking trails, or take a leisurely stroll through the stunning bushland, or even have a meal or a beer at the Yanchep Inn.

For those wanting a more adventurous experience, you can even go ziplining at Treetops Adventure, who have 16 ziplines, and 70+ challenging aerial obstacles or you could visit Crystal Cave on a 45-minute tour in Perth’s only tourist cave.

If you are planning to visit the Pinnacles and Yanchep National Park on the same day, save your valid park pass from whichever one you go to first, as the pass lasts the whole day. A standard car costs $15 per vehicle.

📍Yanchep National Park Address: Yanchep Beach Road and Indian Ocean Drive, Yanchep WA | Google Maps

13.Yanchep Lagoon

📍Distance From The Pinnacles: 145km

📍Distance From Perth: 57km

Yanchep Lagoon is the perfect place for a relaxing swim with family and friends. Located north of Perth, it is ideal for swimming and snorkeling in calm waters, surrounded by a beautiful nature reserve. Here you can also find picnic facilities, a playground area and BBQs to keep everyone entertained.

The lagoon boasts an abundance of small fish, making it a great spot for snorkeling. Moreover, the calm waters make it an ideal spot for novice swimmers who want to experience ocean water. The perfect natural lagoon can also fill hundreds of people at once and is one of the best spots in Perth for swimming during our long hot summers!

📍Yanchep Lagoon Address: Brazier Road, Yanchep WA | Google Maps

FAQs – Perth To Pinnacles Desert and Pinnacles To Perth

Can I Drive From Perth To The Pinnacles?

Yes, it is possible to drive from Perth to the Pinnacles. The journey takes around 2.5 hours with no stops, however, if you have the time, there is plenty to see and do along the way

Do I Have To Pay To Visit The Pinnacles?

Yes, an entry fee is required for Nambung National Park and the Pinnacles. The entry fee is $15 per private vehicle carrying up to 12 occupants.

How Long To Drive From Perth To The Pinnacles?

It takes 2.5 hours to drive to the Pinnacles, with no stops, with a distance of 191km.

Is The Pinnacles Worth Visiting?

Of course, the Pinnacles is worth visiting! Western Australia is a beautiful and unique region that offers so much to do and explore, including the Pinnacles. I hope my list above has shown you how many interesting places you can stop off at between Perth and the Pinnacles, to have a truly Australian experience.

What Is Between Perth And The Pinnacles?

There are many places to explore between Perth and the Pinnacles. Some of the places worth stopping include; Yanchep National Park, Lancelin Sand Dunes, Yanchep Lagoon, and Cervantes. These offer spectacular views, wildlife encounters and activities that are perfect for a family day out!

How Much Would Gas Cost From Perth To The Pinnacles?

The cost of petrol or diesel for the journey between Perth and Perth will vary depending on your car type, but I estimate that a standard sedan would use around $70-$100 worth of fuel to drive there and back (as of February 2023).
It is always best to plan ahead and fill up your tank before you leave, as petrol is generally far cheaper in Perth, however there are plenty of locations along the way where you can fill up and have a chat to the locals at the service station!

How Long Should You Spend At The Pinnacles?

The Pinnacles are such an incredible place to explore, I recommend you spend at least a an hour exploring the rock formations. It is worth visiting and exploring what this unique part of Western Australia has to offer!

Do You Need A 4WD To See The Pinnacles?

No, you do not need a 4WD to visit the Pinnacles. A regular car is fine, but be aware that the road around the Pinnacles is well-graded gravel, so keep that in mind if you’re borrowing someones car to take.

Summing Up – Perth to Pinnacles

Travelling from Perth to the Pinnacles is an unforgettable experience with plenty of things to see and do. With stunning scenery, amazing attractions, beautiful beaches, delicious food and unique culture, it’s a destination that you won’t want to miss out on when visiting Western Australia.

Whether you are looking for a day trip or planning a longer stay, both Perth and the Pinnacles are the perfect places to explore and create lasting memories. Make sure to plan your trip ahead of time to ensure that you get the most out of your visit!

If you’ve liked this, connect with me over on Instagram @accommodationmargaretriver where I post more Western Australia travel adventures!

Australia Travel Planning Guide

🚑Should I buy Australian travel insurance?

100% YES! — Australia has “free” healthcare but it’s only for citizens and permanent residents. Foreigners visiting need travel insurance in case anything happens on their visit. I like SafetyWing – their Nomad Insurance starts at just $1.50 USD a day!

💦Can you drink the water in Australia?

Yes — In all major cities in Australia, you can drink the tap water. There are very few areas that you can’t (mostly extremely remote locations that rely on rainwater or bore water). You should also never drink river, lake or dam water anywhere in Australia. I recommend a Brita Insulated Filtered Water Bottle to stay hydrated on long hikes and backcountry camping.

🚗Should I rent a car in Australia?

Yes — Renting a car is a necessity in most of Australia! If you want to go on road trips or adventures outside of the major cities, and even if you’re staying in a major city, you’ll want to rent a car. If you are visiting Margaret River, it will be even more important that you hire a car, you’ll need it to be able to get around and see all the great attractions and wineries!

🏨What’s the best way to book my Australian accommodation?

My go-to for Australian hotels is Booking.com. Pretty much all registered accommodation use Booking.com (but not necessarily any of the other major booking platforms), and even most of the holiday homes and caravan parks use Booking.com too!

If you’re planning a trip to Australia where you will stay at multiple locations, it’s super handy to have all your accommodation listed in one place, and accommodation owners like Booking.com because it’s easy to contact the guests using the messaging platform if the guest has an international phone number.

✈️What’s the best site to buy flights to Australia?

For finding cheap Australian flights, I recommend Skyscanner

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