Jules road tested the new $95 million Indian Ocean Drive and found it drastically cuts the driving time between Perth and Cervantes. Drivers enjoy a quicker a much prettier route.
Building the road had its moments. Five unexploded bombs found on land next to the Defence Department site had to be detonated, and an 8km moving sand dune needed to be diverted.
The 65km of tarred coast road starts at Lancelin, a pretty fishing village, 130km north of Perth. Nestled between a large bay and sand dunes, Lancelin is known for good windsurfing conditions and rock lobster fishing. The popular destination for Perth residents has excellent fishing, swimming, boating, snorkelling, diving and exploring the 14 shipwrecks along the coast.
Lancelin is home to Western Australia’s biggest sand dunes. There are plenty of ways to tackle them from a humble sandboard you can rent one from Have A Chat to a dirt bike.
The road leads to one of the west’s most iconic landmarks The Pinnacles. The limestone formations in the 17,000 hectare Nambung National Park, near Cervantes, were always accessible, but now it's so much easier.
Jules met Ranger David Henke, one of the men in charge of maintaining the vast area. There are many theories as to how the creations came to be, but David gave the official version.
Thousands of years ago, seashells were broken down into sand then eroded by water and wind leaving the amazing limestone pillars. When passing Dutch sailors saw them in 1658, they believed they had seen the ruins of an ancient city.
Wedge Island is a little gem 26km north of Lancelin. Before the new road opened, access was by four-wheel-drive along the beach.
The 400 metre wedge-shaped island is a nature reserve. It has around 350 beach shacks used by cray fishermen and holiday-makers. Described as having 'ramshackle charm' there are moves to demolish the corrugated iron and scrap metal shacks.
They don't have water or electricity and the Squatter Removal Policy has seen over 600 shacks demolished.
Related gallery: Western Australia's best beaches
Following the Indian Ocean north from Perth to Nambung National Park.
Have a Chat sandboard hire is $10 for two hours with a $50 deposit.
The Pinnacles Desert Discovery Centre vehicle entry is $11. It's open between 9.30am and 4.30pm.
Prices correct at February 18, 2012.
Qantas flights to Perth start from:
- Adelaide $169
- Sydney $189
- Melbourne $189
- Brisbane $199
Prices are per person, one way.
Valid until 11.59pm (AEDT) Feb 20, 2012 unless sold out prior.
Subject to availability. Travel dates and conditions apply.
For more info, visit qantas.com.
For further information
Indian Ocean Drive
Have a Chat General Store
104 Gingin Road
Ph: (08) 9655 1054
Nambung National Park