‘The Coral Coast Nature Trip’ gave Singapore siblings Jing Yi and Jason some quality time experiencing some of the most unique places on the planet. Together, they took one giant leap off the sand dunes of Lancelin and stepped into the moonscape of the Pinnacles desert.
These days, my brother Jason and I rarely get a chance to spend time together.
We’d heard a lot about the coral coastline just north of Perth. Not many of our friends had ever made it beyond the city, so we were keen to venture further to see what we could discover.
Day 1 // The landscape driving north changes so quickly from cityscape to wheat fields, to small coastal towns and then something more like desert. We couldn’t believe that in just a couple of hours we’d seen so much variety.
Our first stop was at some sand dunes near Lancelin where the locals recommend doing sandboarding. We’d agreed to try anything once on this trip. So driving over a set of massive sand dunes in a truck with huge wheels was a good first test. It was like being on a giant rollercoaster. If everything we’d never tried was going to be this much fun, then we were in for a great trip.
A bit further north near Cervantes, we arrived at the remarkable Pinnacles – just as the sun was setting. The landscape was like a moonscape and protruding through the sand are hundreds of limestone peaks, some around 30,000 years old. You can drive through them on a tour, and at every turn you have to pinch yourself to remember that you are on Earth.
Day 2 // The coastline was filled with picturesque bays and beaches. As we headed up to Kalbarri the colours of the earth started to turn a little more orange with different rock formations.
Around Kalbarri there are some beautiful ocean views and a short trip takes you to the local gorges, giving you a taste of another world.
Day 3 // From Kalbarri we headed to Shark Bay, one of two World Heritage-Listed sites in Western Australia. The coastline glitters as you approach the sea. The colours are so bright; we’d never seen blues quite like this. When we heard we might be seeing some stromatolites, we really had no idea what we were in for.
Our guide soon revealed just how incredible they are. Hamelin Pool is one of just two places in the world where you can see the oldest living things on the planet. Stromatolites were responsible for bringing oxygen into the world. Just imagining how old they are takes your breath away. We joked that they’ve chosen quite some spot to live for so long.
Head further north and you reach Shell Beach. At first we thought that’s a pretty name, but on arriving, we realised that the beach is indeed made of shells. There are just two beaches like this on Earth made up entirely of one kind of shell. They were glowing white as the sun set on them, making for a picture-perfect postcard.
Day 4/5 // Our unique experiences in Shark Bay weren’t over, yet. At Monkey Mia, there is the chance to feed wild dolphins as they come to say hello near the shore. This isn’t something you get to do every day! Yet, here, it is a wonderful spectacle that has become a daily routine for them.
A small crowd gathers to meet the dolphins, and the atmosphere electrifies as the beautiful animals swim up to greet everyone.
Later that day, we sampled a feast of mullet cooked over a fire. Sitting out under the stars, smelling our fresh dinner cooking by the ocean, we felt a lifetime away from our friends in Singapore.
Getting to experience something so remarkable had felt so easy and effortless. It is just here waiting, and all we had done is pointed ourselves in the right direction.
We had stories to tell and adventures to relive. Even though we’d only been away a week, we had felt the stresses and strains of life just disappear.
We wondered why we’d never done it before. Now we’re already wondering when we can do it again.