Road Trip: Perth to Cervantes to Kalbarri (Day 1)

Some people I meet like to say Perth is boring. While it is a little bit of a quiet city (and that is something I appreciate as a Singaporean), there is plenty to do in Western Australia – drive out north, south or east; or take a ferry west to Rottnest Island. Enamoured by the Coastal Cliffs in Kalbarri (thank you for the find, Triposo), I decided to make the 6-7 hour drive north with my companion. On hindsight, the trip was a bit rushed for us (just 3 days), but definitely an enjoyable one. An ideal would have been 5 days or more, because it was a pity to miss stopping by some of the towns and the odd farm we drove past.

Here I pen down the experience, starting with Day 1…

Day 1: Perth to Cervantes (and the Pinnacles)

About the Drive:

  • Distance: 128km via Indian Ocean Drive
  • Time: 2 hrs, inc. stop
  • Stops: Lancelin (37 mins)

We drove up from Perth via the Indian Ocean Drive. Please take this route – you’ll pass through the coastal towns and eventually the scenery is just awesome. The alternative route via the Brand Highway may be faster, but it’s a lot less scenic.

First stop was at Lancelin after a 1hr 45 min drive, where the point of interest was the good ol’ toilet (look straight for Pioneer Park in your GPS, because all the toilet signs don’t seem to point anywhere – there’s free parking too). Apparently though, we missed out on one of the 40 things to do in Australia, the Lancelin sand dunes. Beach and town was not particularly impressive, the water was very East Coast Park (i.e. green, lots of debris). It didn’t help that it was a cloudy day!

Another hour and we reached Cervantes, where we checked-in at Cervantes Lodge and Pinnacles Desert Backpackers – a mouthful, because they have both hostel and apartment-type accomodations. Interestingly, they didn’t have a listing on Hostelworld – I later learnt the owner had a small tiff with them over the apartment listings. She was a nice Dutch lady though, and the hostel was pretty good! Clean toilets, hot water for shower and coffee, a full kitchen. We took 2 beds in a 4-bedder (around 33AUD each at time of writing) and basically had the whole room to ourselves since it was off-peak season. They had some pretty neat family rooms as well. The cons – only one plug in the room, and unlike hostels in other countries, there isn’t free breakfast. Oh, and make sure you call ahead if coming after closing.

After settling in, we backtracked a little to catch the Pinnacles. I had my Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs moment when I saw the entire desert littered with these limestone statuettes – from pictures I assumed there were at most 30 of them… not a WHOLE DESERT. Unfortunately the the sun choose to hide behind the clouds, so our sunset was a little less majestic – but definitely plan to catch the Pinnacles at sunset or sunrise.

You can check out a short Pinnacles Timelapse I made.

Some of the nitty-gritty. It costs $12 a car and nets you about half a day access. There is a discovery centre (which we skipped) that opens from 9.30am – 4.30pm, although the desert is still open before/after hours. You could get the ticket in the evening and return in the morning before 11am to visit the centre. To make good on time for the trip, we chose to skip it, as well as a visit to the Lobster Shack – though I definitely wish we did have time to do those two items.

For more of our intrepid adventure, check out DAY 2 (Geraldton, Kalbarri) and DAY 3 (Kalbarri National Park).

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