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The Pinnacles: A Surreal Landscape 

162km (100 miles) N of Perth

Masses of limestone pillars, from a few inches to over 3m (10 ft.) high, simply rise up out of golden sand dunes. Some are just a small fragile tracery, some are tall, solid mushroom-headed giants, while some of the sharp jagged versions could well be taken for fossilized dragon's teeth. From a distance, some parts can look like the remnants of a deserted city, with just a few desolate parts left standing. They are best seen around dawn or dusk.

The Pinnacles are part of the Nambung National Park, and a one-way gravel loop road takes drivers past thousands of the pillars. There are numerous spots where you can park, get out and stroll around, even touch them; there are no fences. Walk over the nearest sand ridge and find yourself in a desert (and deserted) landscape with only pinnacles marching to the horizon for company.

At the entrance to the park, the Pinnacles Desert Discovery Centre, with adjacent toilets and walkways to the Pinnacles, provides information on the area's geology and bio-diversity. The park and surrounding area is incredibly rich in wildflowers that burst into blossom from August to October. The center opens 9:30am to 4:30pm daily, except December 25, while access to the Pinnacles is open 24/7, with an entry fee of $11 per vehicle.

Some 15km (10 miles) north of the Pinnacles is the small fishing town of Cervantes. The coast here is one of the meccas of wind surfing thanks to a line of offshore reefs and strong consistent winds. Indian Ocean Rock Lobster (11 Madrid St. (tel. 08/9652 7010, www.indianoceanlobsters.com.au) is worth a visit to see how the delicacy is processed and to buy some (it's vacuum-sealed).

Getting here is easy. Take the Mitchell Freeway north, then follow the signs to Yanchep and/or Lancelin, and finally take the Indian Ocean Drive. The drive to the Pinnacles should take about 2 hours.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.