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Peter Poat - Cervantes Accommodation, Tours & Information.
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Peter Poat

Extract from The West Australian dated March 29th, 2008.

Caravans & Camping Supplement

Peak Experience by Peter Poat

Anyone who hasn't visited the Pinnacles near the fishing hamlet of cervantes is missing a wonderful experience.

These unique pillars of limestone, first discovered in 1849, some three kilometres from the coast, form the Pinnacles Desert and look like no other landscape in Australia.

Covering 404ha, they appear like termite mounds, standing up to 4m tall, on a windswept carpet of prisitine yellow sand. The Department of conservation and land management has recentrly spent nearly $5m building an interpretative centre, car park and toilets to cater for the 170,000 tourists from around the world who visit annually. It is due to open in May.

Cars can be driven through a well-marked, windswept route, but caravans must be unhooked and left in the parking area.

When we visited recentrly, we stayed at the Cervantes Pinnacles Caravan Park, about 19km north of the Pinnacles Sesert.

It is one of the old-style family parks without all the mod cons now available at some of the flasher resorts along the WA coast.

It has a three-star RAC rating.

There are no concrete pads and the grass is a little sparse in some caravan areas, but the ablution blocks and laundries are clean and tidy and half the park has sealed roads.

There is an abundance of shade provided by some mature trees and two big tent areas are well grassed and have good amenities.

"We have kept it this way because it suits our clientele who are mainly looking at an economical holiday along a unique part of the coast", owner Peter Holmes said.

Mr Holmes, a former professional tennis coach and his wife Leslee, left Perth to take over the park two years.

The couple have gradually improved the facilities and there are now gas barbecues, an extensive shell museum integraed into the reception area and a coffee shop, which plans to serve breakfasts and light lunches in the future.

"Because of the prohibitive cost of upgrading the power and connecting the sewerage, we have not been able to install chalets with ensuites, but because we can keep the cabin prices reasonable most people are very satisfied," Mr Holmes said.

The park's location adjacent to the protected waters of Ronsard Bay is ideal for swimmming and fishing.  There are three nearby jetties where beginners can catch a fee of skippy, erring or tailor, while the bigger varieties are in abundance if you have access to a boat.

"We get a lot of metropolitan fisherman coming up here because it is hard to get a good feed around Perth these days," Mr Holmes said.

"But it's not only fishermen, visitors to the park can play bowls for $5 at the Country Club over the road and have a round of golf for $10, and we can even load them the clubs".

The caravan park was established in the early 1970s not long after the town (254km north of Perth) was officially gazetted.

In 1962, the WA Government annexed 505ha from the Namung National Park to create a township which has grown mainly through cray fisherman, and more lately, retirees seeking a quiter lifestyle.

Apart from the Pinnacles, the area is also attractive to the extreme sportsperson. The wind conditions make it a haven for kite and wave surfing, atrracting enthusiasts from all over Australia and other parts of the world.

4WD and quad bike drivers also have kilomtetres of territory to explore. There are several picnic areas with barbecues within easy reach at beaches along the coast.

One of my lasting memories was the crayfish meal we enjoyed at the well-appointed Country Club.  With a voucher from the caravan park, you can buy a platter, with two crayfish, one hot and one cold, for only $50. (Good value even at the regular price of $67).

Cabins vary from $70 to $80 per night, powered sites range from $25 to $27, depending on the season. There are discounts for seniors and children can stay for $1 per night during the April school holidays. Ask for other specials. dogs are accepted, but must be kept on a leash.