The Pinnacles Desert and New Norcia

Australia, Western Australia Add comments
Planet View: S30°58.497′ E116°12.832′ (New Norcia)
Street View: S30°58.497′ E116°12.832′ (New Norcia)

Sam and a lucky Shingleback Lizard in The Pinnacles Desert in Nambung National ParkNambung National ParkFrom Geraldton we had our sights set on Stockyard Gulley National Park, a little known expanse of 2000 hectares 50 kilometers north of the seaside enclave of Jurien Bay.  We have one theory why it isn’t very well known: there are no directions to the damn place!  We horsed around for the better part of an hour, looking down every dirt track and road into the dunes, but to no avail…  In the end we decided that we could spend all day looking for Stockyard Gully and instead continued south to take a quick look around Jurien Bay before making our way through Cervantes and onto Nambung National Park, the home of the famous Pinnacles Desert. 

The Pinnacles Desert in Nambung National ParkA Shingleback Lizard in The Pinnacles Desert in Nambung National ParkWhen we drove into the Pinnacles we both immediately commented how surreal of a place it is, hundreds of pillars (formed from sand, water, limestone and quartz) standing erect amidst plains of yellow sand.  The Department of Environment and Conservation has put a lot of money into the area around the Pinnacles, a brand new visitor centre and newly-paved roads extend throughout Nambung National Park.  There Pinnacle Drive, a 4.2 kilometer loop through the rock formations, was a great way to see the extent of the area, we almost squashed this Shingleback Lizard on our way around the loop!

The Tank amidst The Pinnacles Desert in Nambung National ParkThe Pinnacles Desert in Nambung National ParkLisa in The Pinnacles Desert in Nambung National Park The Pinnacles Desert in Nambung National ParkThe Pinnacles Desert in Nambung National ParkA Shingleback Lizard in The Pinnacles Desert in Nambung National Park The Pinnacles Desert in Nambung National ParkThe Pinnacles Desert in Nambung National ParkLisa in The Pinnacles Desert in Nambung National ParkHay bales on the drive south of New Norcia 

The monasteries of New NorciaCamping on the monastery grounds in New NorciaOne of our guide books indicated that the road between Nambung and the main highway to Perth had four rest areas available for camping.  Upon arrival, however, it seems the local council has decided against camping in its district and we were thus forced to continue on our journey toward Perth during the late afternoon.  The closest spot for the night we could find was in New Norcia, Australia’s only monastic town run by monks of the Benedictine order.  The town is basically a large monastery, a fine museum boasting some of Australia’s most previous religious artifacts, a range of buildings supporting the day-to-day needs of the monks, The monasteries of New Norciathe elegant New Norcia Hotel and a service station bisected by the highway.  About the last place one would expect to find in the bush!  The monastery and surrounding 8000 hectare farm was established in 1846 by Spanish Benedictine monks.  It was even more of an interesting stop off for us as it was the monks of New Norcia who were responsible for the establishment of the mission at the remote Kimberley Aboriginal community The New Norcia HotelThe New Norcia Hotelof Kalumburu, where we visited on our recent travels through northern Western Australia.  The New Norcia Hotel was quite a trip, maintained in The New Norcia Hotelits original style with red-carpeted entryway and brilliantly maintained decor, it has an extensive bar and restaurant as well as room for $95 a night.  In the spirit of offering rest to wary travelers the monks allow campers to spend the night free of charge on the monastery property, Lisa and I ventured up from our campsite to the hotel after dark for a gander at the building and had a game of pool in the bar whilst we were there.  An enthralling place, we’re glad the council of Cervantes decided to stop camping in their district otherwise we probably would have never ended up in New Norcia for the night!

 The monasteries of New NorciaThe monasteries of New NorciaThe monasteries of New Norcia


This entry was posted on Tuesday, November 10th, 2009 at 7:30 AM and is filed under Australia, Western Australia. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

3 Responses to “The Pinnacles Desert and New Norcia”

  1. Javi says:

    Ridiculously amazing! I’ve been going through some of your pics today while sick in bed. I got the swine flu a week ago…. good times! But once again, after going through your website, I am totally jealous!!! I had no idea that the big rock in the sea you’re traveling on had so much to offer?? Some of the pictures look like you’re in Southern Utah, some of the coastal shots look like parts of Mexico, and that Monk place you went to could be found in any part of Spain. I’ve never been to mars, but if I did go, I’m sure that I’d look a lot like Stockyard Gully… WTF!!?!?

    And Sam, good job with that Hawaiian Sling! When ever I use a hand sling I’m the one that ends up bloody and fish swim free with an arrogant confidence.

    Hope all is well. Be safe, enjoy, and don’t eat too much veggie-mite,

    p.s. does Lisa speak with a hint of an Aussie accent now? I bet there are a few words that have become Aussie-fied.

  2. Diana says:

    Loved the recent set photos. While in Perth plan to go out to Rotnest Island. We went there some years back on a day trip from Perth. Had a great time although I got stung by some sort of jellyfish there!

  3. Christino says:

    These amazing natural limestone structures, some standing as high as five meters, were formed approximately 25,000 to 31,000 years ago, after the sea receded and left deposits of sea shells.

  • Next...

      A couple of months cruising up Australia's east coast...