Cervantes on the Coral Coast of WA is home to the world-famous Pinnacles Desert and is a fascinating yet relaxing destination to steer your caravan for holiday travel in Western Australia.
Cervantes has something to satisfy all travellers, including water enthusiasts looking for a short or long term holiday. There's no need for four wheel drives to launch your boat at Cervantes. You can enjoy fishing from the beaches, jetties, groyne or offshore.
The surrounding Coral Coast boasts safe, pristine beaches, often frequented by sea lions, and the local economy has traditionally been based on the rock lobster (crayfish) industry. The landscape comprises coastal dune systems, shady tuart tree groves and low heathland carpeted by flowering plants.
Parents need not fear for the safety of youngsters during their vacation as the beaches and extensive swimming areas have crystal clear waters and are naturally protected by inshore reefs. Holiday-makers at Pinnacles Caravan Park enjoy barbeque and picnic facilities adjacent to the beach areas.
European knowledge of the Nambung area in WA dates back to 1658 when Dutch maps first recorded the North and South Hummocks. Nambung is an Aboriginal word meaning "crooked" or "winding" and from this river the park was named.
Caravan travellers usually get to see kangaroos, emus and other wildlife in their natural habitat and the seasonal landscape of wildflowers (August-October) is spectacular.
The town of Cervantes has all manner of dining establishments, from a la carte restaurants to fast food takeaways.
Windsurfing has become increasingly popular along Western Australia's Coral Coast. Cervantes is a windsurfing hotspot and recently hosted the annual Cervantes Speed 2011 where competitor speeds are tested by radar and local, national and international windsurfers match their skills in a marathon. Read about the event in Windsurfer International or sit back and watch a video of Cervantes Speed 2011! Many of the experienced competitors stay at Pinnacles Caravan Park in Cervantes.
More than 150,000 travellers from around the world visit Nambung National Park every year.
Sports enthusiasts can find holiday fun around Cervantes at an 18 hole sand greens golf course (see picture below), two bowling greens and six tennis courts under lights. Indoor sports such as badminton, netball and basketball can be enjoyed at a modern community centre.
Things to do
Regional landmarks and attractions to explore:
This unique desert is about 19 kilometres south of Cervantes and three kilometres inland from the beach. The desert covers about 404 hectares and is 60 metres above sea level. In the abstract desert landscape, thousands of huge limestone pillars rise from yellow sands, some jagged and sharp, others resembling tombstones, and the tallest is up to four metres.
The formation of the Pinnacles is a fascinating tale about the unique wind and rainfall erosion of limestone created by prehistoric marine life. It is thought the Pinnacles have been covered by shifting desert sands and then revealed at different times over the millennia, and have been exposed for the past few hundred years.
Visitors to the Pinnacles can opt to take a two or three hour desert walk to see them, but you need a map, sturdy footwear, at least a litre of water per person, a hat and preferably a compass. These spectacular natural formations are an important part of any holiday travel to Cervantes and the Nambung National Park in WA. If you want to enjoy a guided tour of the Pinnacles Desert, various services are available including 4WD, sunrise, sunset and full moon tours.
Nambung National Park is located 245 kilometres north of the West Australian capital city of Perth. Within the park is one of Australia's most intriguing landscapes - the Pinnacles Desert.
Located 19 kilometres north-east of Jurien (11.2 kilometres along Jurien East Rd and 7.8 kilometres along the gravel of Cockleshell Gully Rd) this national park is renowned for its wildflowers which last well after the season is over. The park is also popular for picnics.
Located north-east of Green Head, this area was named after one of the stopping places used by drovers. A feature is the 300 metre Stockyard Gully Tunnel, which follows a winding underground creek bed. Flashlights are required in the tunnel. The Stockyard Gully Caves provide an ideal day trip and local tours are available.
Located one kilometre out of Cervantes, Lake Thetis (pictured above) has a feature know as the stromatalites in its waters. The stromatalites are one of the earliest forms of life to evolve on earth. Samples from these living organisms indicate similarities with fossils from up to 3 billion years ago. Lake Thetis is one of only four known locations in Western Australia where the stromatalites have formed.
Cervantes, Jurien and most other crayfishing towns along the coast have anything up to four jetties which are the perfect place for a scenic walk or some quiet fishing. If your caravan holiday is during the crayfishing season, you can buy fresh crayfish and fish off some of the boats when they come in.
Pictured above, the spectacular Emu Downs Wind Farm about 30 kilometres east of Cervantes consists of 48 wind turbines producing up to 80 megawatts of power. The $180 million wind farm, which has been in operation since 2006, supplies much of the power to Perth's desalination plant at Kwinana. The wind farm has a public car park, visitor viewing area and educational display board located at a picturesque vantage point.
One kilometre out of Cervantes, Hansen Bay Lookout provides a scenic overall view of Cervantes Islands and the townsite.
This lookout has great fishing and swimming in clear waters and is suitable for families with small children. Thirsty Point Lookout has crystal clear beaches and white sands. Toilets and shelters are also provided.
Kangaroo Point is less than eight kilometres from the entrance to Nambung National Park and this delightful beach location provides a picnic shelter, gas barbecues and toilets. Kangaroo Point is very popular at dawn and dusk when the kangaroos usually gather. The vegetation here is sparse.
Hangover Bay is a wonderful spot with picnic facilities, gazebos, gas barbecues and a boat launch for 4WD only. This stunning bay with its white sandy beach is often a playground for dolphins and sea lions, as well as swimmers, windsurfers, snorkelers and surfers. Hangover Bay, which has public toilets, is less than 12 kilometres from the entrance to Nambung National Park.
Roughly 11 kilometres north of Cervantes, Molah Hill Lookout boasts a 360 degree view of the surrounding countryside and ocean. The lookout has disabled access.
This is a great place to take your 4WD and go fishing if you visit the Cervantes district during your caravan travel through WA.
This was the first camping area established in the area back in the 1920s and is a great place to swim, snorkel and fish.
Offers an unbelievable aquatic experience! Phone (618) 9953 1012 or 0427 931 012.
Holiday-makers can book all-day, morning and sunset tours to the Pinnacles rock formations in WA. The tour guide will pick you up anywhere in Cervantes and tours can be booked at Pinnacles Caravan Park, through the town's visitor centre or through the Turquoise Coast Enviro Tours office.
Full day Stockyard Gully tours are also a great way to experience the West Australian bush. These tours last about 10 hours and include the Pinnacles, Stockyard Gully, Mt Lesueur and Little Three Springs. For bookings and further information, contact the Pinnacles Caravan Park office.
Sea lion tours depart from Jurien, usually from 9am to midday, although this can be changed through prior arrangement. Sea lion tours cost $75 per adult and the price includes a morning tea of muffins, tea, coffee and Milo. Snorkel gear hire can be arranged if you don't have your own.
Dive and fishing charters
Charters run from Jurien, just 15 kilometres north of Cervantes. The dive charter needs a minimum of four people and the fishing charter requires a minimum of eight - so get some friends together and have fun!
Jurien Diving Charters will take you out to explore the Jurien Marine Park on board their catamaran Hot Tuna. Phone (618) 9651 109.
4.1 metre dinghy - $110 per day with a $200 deposit
5.5 metre runabout - $220 per day with a $300 deposit
For boat hire bookings or further information, contact (08) 9652 1109
(mobile 0427 531 195 / fax (08) 9652 1327).
Dining and cafes
Seashells Cafe (on the beach, serving breakfast and lunch as well as a delicious selection of cakes and Fiori coffee)
Cervantes Community and Sporting Club (open seven days a week and has great specials, particularly their Crayfish Platter Special!)
Ronsard Bay Tavern (has a bistro and bar, as well as an alfresco dining menu, good counter meals and a TAB if you like to punt)
Seabreeze Cafe (very good fish, chips, pizzas and crayfish)
Europa Anchor Restaurant (at the Best Western Motel)
Don Quixote's Restaurant (coffee and cake only)
Pinnacles Country Cafe (at the service station and open from 7am to 6pm)
The holiday attractions of the Cervantes district are often featured on national vacation programs and media presentations.
For example, the Big Couch crew from #1 Perth radio station 94.5FM broadcast live to Perth from the caravan park cafe in March 2009.
Pictured above at Seashells Cafe are the 94.5FM Couch Crew's Shane McFarlane, Dean Clairs and Lisa Fernandez interviewing presenter Louise Momber from A Current Affair in Perth
Cervantes Pinnacles Caravan Park enjoys regular visits from all sorts of celebrities such as Adams Hills and members of the West Coast Eagles football club.
Internet access is available at Lynne's Licka store and the visitors' centre.
The Cervantes climate is ideal during September and October when wildflowers are in season. Summer is hot but the weather is perfect for going to the beach, and the climate is temperate for the rest of the year.
Where is Pinnacles Caravan Park?
Along the Brand Highway, Cervantes is 245km north of Perth, the capital city of Western Australia.
The journey from Perth by road usually takes about three hours.
See our Maps.