If you missed part one of my Pinnacles day tour report, you can check it out here.
Wildflowers in Western Australia
Something about the ADAMS Pinnacles tour that caught my attention was the mention of wildflowers. I’m a big fan of flowers. Preferably colorful and in large volumes (I’ve been to the two largest flower gardens in the world, in Dubai and the Netherlands).
Did you know that Western Australia has the world’s largest collection of wildflower species? 12,000 to be precise! There are so many wildflowers that they can (apparently) be seen from space during blooming season.
When I moved to Perth one thing I noticed was that the plants are completely different to what you can find in Europe. Even near the city you can see the colorful wildflowers peeping out from gardens and pavement verges.
Wildflower season is between September and November, so I didn’t expect to see any on this tour. However, we did get to stop at Western Wildflower Farm which produces dried wildflowers for export to the other Australian states and worldwide.
Stopping at Western Wildflower Farm
It was only a brief stop, around 30 minutes I’d say. However, I’m glad we got to see it. Not only did it break up the long drive from New Norcia to the Pinnacles desert (more than 150km!!!), it’s something I’d never seen before.
Unfortunately we didn’t get to see any flowers growing, just the ones pictured below, hanging up to dry. Even so, the owner was on hand to give us the most brief of tours and answer any questions we could come up with.
It seemed like the farm was doing great business, with many locals employed picking flowers and working on the arrangements. Now that I think about it, wildflowers would be pretty unique for a wedding. Maybe it’s already very popular in Perth, I don’t know because the only wedding I’ve been to here is my own.
It definitely piqued my interested to see the flowers growing in their natural habitat in season. The Western Australia tourism board has created a few self-driving wildflower routes and ADAMS also has a day tour to view the flowers, so that’s something to keep in mind for later in the year.
A Drive in the Desert
After a quick toilet stop – and there were plenty of those, no need to worry – we were on our way again. Although the scenery was somewhat interesting near the farm, and the guide/driver was sharing a lot of interesting information, I found myself nodding off. When I woke up, it seemed like we were in the middle of nowhere.
Australians are probably used to it, but I’d never seen such a vast expanse of wilderness before. Just sand, plants, ocean and the odd kangaroo. If we had been driving ourselves it would have been very intimidating. But with an experienced guide, we could sit back and relax while she navigated the tricky roads.
Arriving at the Pinnacles
When we reached the Pinnacles desert, it was close to sunset. We had half an hour or so to look around the visitor center and then on to the desert itself.
The visitor center was lovely and modern, I only wish it was bigger, with more information. There’s also a small gift shop where you can splurge on an expensive ice cream among other things (my friend got a Magnum while I – ever the cheapskate – watched on, parched…).
The guide left us to wander among the Pinnacles ourselves. It was probably best that we arrived near closing as there were still quite a lot of tourists around. I can only imagine that it’s a lot busier during the day. People can drive their cars right up beside the rock formations.
In case you’re not familiar with the Pinnacles themselves, they’re jagged limestone rocks jutting out from the sand. There are lots of them (as far as the eye can see) and they reach up to five meters in height. As for how they formed, you can read more about that here, but in summary, rainwater seeping down into sand dunes leached out calcium which deposited over an estimated period of 80,000 years.
It’s a good place to take photos if you’re into that. Otherwise, I think 30 minutes is enough to spend looking around the area. If you were traveling independently I’m sure you could wander off into the distance chasing pinnacles for hours, but that’s probably not a very sensible idea.
The ride back to Perth was in darkness this time. Even easier for me to sleep!
If you do come to see the Pinnacles, make sure to wear sunscreen (as always in WA) and cover up with a sunhat or light clothing. It is a desert after all and was still very hot even though we visited in Autumn late in the day.
Overall I’d definitely recommend ADAMS for a Pinnacles day tour, even if you don’t mind driving yourself, it’s nice to be able to relax and catch some Zs!