Where the Sand Turns to Towers with Aussie Wanderer // Sponsored

Not long after having arrived in Perth did I already start packing my bags again for a trip thanks toAussie Wanderer and I packed everything that wasn’t even remotely suited for 40°C weather pushed way down in my backpacker. I was going up North and the thermometer would rise with each stop. But so did the amazingness of the sights. Ah, the things I do for pretty places… (Scroll down if you can’ wait for the video.)

Where the Sand Turns to Towers with Aussie Wanderer // Sponsoredtravelonthebrain-western-australia-aussie-wanderer3

Sticking out Like Sore Thumbs

Again, it was one of those long drive days, but our first stop was already worth being sandwiched in a bus that thankfully had air con when the breeze outside failed to do its job of supplying coolness. We reached Kalmura National Park and after reading up on the riddle that are the Pinnacles, got to see them with our own eyes.

Poking out like fried chicken nuggets in the yellow sand, the pinnacles were everywhere. Dominating the scene, claiming the desert. For the moment at least, because it is believed that over time the sand dunes have been shifting so that the pinnacles were covered from time to time, which is why their detection was not immediate when the first settlers arrived. And they might be covered up in the future as well.


The true formation of the pinnacles into the shape we see is still unsolved. Scientists say that broken down shells collected on the beach and formed sand dunes, which would store minerals in the occasion of rains and cement when they dried out. On some of them you can see former root systems of trees that stood on top of where the cementing took place.

The creation story of the local aborigines, however, offers another explanation. Namely, that these are fingers of desperate teenagers drowning in the dunes. You might know about the aboriginal male rite of pasage, where a boy has to go into the wild and fend for himself in order to return a man. So, a bunch of boys once went out over the dunes, never to be seen again. It was presumed that this “devils land” had swallowed them whole with their fingers tips still clinging on in desperation.

P1530959Living, Breathing Rocks

After more driving, we were in for a nice treat. The coastline just before our night’s accommodation was a splendid specimen of limestone layered rocks, breaking off here and there and forming a canyon-like look that lay against the impressive backdrop of the calm ocean. Not only were we happy to get out and stretch our legs again but took lots of photos in front of the lowering sun and with long shadows thrown onto the yellowy sand.

Only a short while later, we arrived at a horse ranch where we instantly headed for the pool, had a nice BBQ and soon fell sleep. My absolute best ever so-highly-anticipated-it-was-destined-to-disappoint experience came early in the morning and you thought it was a sand swirl out of nowhere so fast did I ran over the dunes, and towards the walking planks where the water was dotted by the living rocks.


And here they were. Little greyish shapeless thingies randomly placed in the tuquoise water, doing absolutely nothing, just being there in all their greyness and thus leaving me … completely in awe! SO AWESOME! I send a little prayer to Bill Byson for his splendid recommendation. (Sidenote: Before you go to OZ you must read, I repeat, you must read his work Down Under – especially if you want to hear scary, random and entertaining stories that will infect you with a fear of everything living here. Even grass. So worth it!)

Since I had been that fast, the crowd was far behind and I had ample time to enjoy my new best friends, the breathing rocks, who were as old as time. Unfortunately, they were rather silent and didn’t even blow bubbles. The educative signs were more informative and so I learned that these little fellar are actually microbiotic mats of many different bacteria colonies with each producing something the others need and through this, made life on earth possible. They released the necessary oxygen! Come on, give them a thumbs up (you go, pinnacles!).


Walking on Shells

Still thrilled, I was dreamily munching my lunch and eating my ice cream when I spotted a familiar name on a clipping on the little shops’ walls. BILL BRYSON. He had been here! Like a madwoman I jumped up and over to read it and was so enraptured that he had found his way to this little place – like I did.

After all, it was a private farm that welcomed guests but relied on them patronising the shop and telegraph station, for which I did not have enough time. But then again, I’m not such a museum nerd like Mr Bryson is. And his descriptions are often so much better than the actual thing.His humour and subtle irony are one of a kind,


On an even more high, I reached the Shell Beach on the Aussie Wanderer Tour and loved it! How much better could this get? Well, my feet were not too happy about the sharp shells which made up the beach. No soft sand for miles. Fun fact: These shells are crushed by the locals, pressed together and used as bricks, for instance. Impressive.

Tell that to my feet, who had to walk 100m in ankle high water to finally get to a place, where I could lie down and let the highly salty water carry my weight (and feet). Floating like a feather, I let the sun shine on me. Also, I got to practice some of my random Japanese words with two nice girls from the fellow bus, who were doing the three day tour.


It Gets Even Better

So, stromatolites, Bill Bryson fangirling and ocean floating, how amazing was this day? But wait, it was not over yet and two more things were waiting to brighten my mood. (Was that even possible?) For one, I had to go to reception and it was not far, but I had no clue as to where it lay in this maze of holiday bungalows. But what do you know, I got a lift in a golf kart. To and back! My first time I was on a golf kart as well. (It reminded me of that time I got to drive snow mobile in Lapland. Minus the snow, huskies and accident.)

Another one was that we stayed in the Dolphin Resort, where – tellingly – we saw dolphins swim by and turtles poke out their tiny heads by the sunset lit pier. As if that wasn’t sheer beauty, the sunset stole our hearts and tinted everything red with dramatic pink lined cumuli clouds and stray rays.


At night, I was shown how to dance in the waves to make everything shine. Ever heard of bioillumination? It is caused by little microbes and is such a magnificent sight. Speckles of light where there is dark, appearing with every move. Just like those fairies you see in the films. Magical. Now I am done, in case you’re wondering. That’s been enough beautiful things and lucky coincidences in one day, but let’s see what the rest of the Aussie Wanderer Tour brings.

I would like to thank Aussie Wanderer Tour again for having me as a guest. My opinion is as always my own.


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It had to happen, after ditching the 9-5 for a prolonged break, Annemarie's wokaholic tendencies led her to start a daily blog about her adventures. Realising how much travel has helped rebuild her confidence and and general #GirlBoss-iness, Travel on the Brain released a book about her adventures in Down Under and New Zealand and creates quirky video series focusing on story telling in destinations around the globe.
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    • jeanette
    • 26/02/2015

    Hi Anne Marie I met you at Central YHA, the Australian and was interested to read your blog. I must say this is the first blog I have ever read and firstly I thought your photos were awesome, you could probably have a career in Photography.

    I also have been to many of these places in Australia and it bought back memmories of my own adventures. I haven’t been to Flinders Ranges or some spots along the SA coast so I found you information helpful.

    I would like to hear more about your feelings and how these travel experiences
    personally affected you or inspired you. I liked that you told the Aboriginal story of the Cervantes rocks because this is a deeply spiritual country with many layers of history, colours and spirits. When the Aboriginal people die they believe their spirit goes into the rocks, the trees and the land, that’s why it’s so powerful. Thanks for your blog Anne Marie and for inspiring me.

    1. Hi Jeanette. It was great to meet you, too! I am glad you made it to my blog and that you like it. I am happy if I can bring back memories, give you tips andinspire you. Your tips are good, I will write more about how travel can change you because it truly does. I will think of something. So thank you. And feel free to stop by every now and then or subscribe so you will get the posts straight to your inbox.^^
      All the best and I hope we can stay in touch.

        • jeanette
        • 04/03/2015

        Hi Anne Marie, I just wanted to tell you about something that happened to me at Uluru, Ayers Rock in NT. I went on a Tour and there was only 3 people on it and when we got to the rock we had a 5 minute wait. I ran over to the toilets and back again very quickly but when I got back to the bus it was gone. I was freaking out a bit because I am in the middle of nowhere in the desert. After waiting an hour I realised he wasn’t coming back for me so I calmed down and asked myself why had I been left here in this awesome spiritual place. I went back about 5 meters and looked up at the Rock and saw very clearly a giant eagle shape at the from of the Rock. I realised this was one of my spirit guides
        and felt very emotional. Another bus took me to the Cultural Centre and back to the hotel but I missed the Waterhole, maybe I will have to go back.

        1. Woah, that is an intense story! I am really glad that Uluru could restore your tranquility and faith in yourself and you were able to hitch a “rescue bus”. I am so proud of you! Nothing worse than falling victim to panic. I really think that there is something spiritual about Uluru. So glad you shared your story with me. I wonder ddid you encounter a wedge-tail eagle on your later bus trips?

            • jeanette newberry
            • 10/03/2015

            Yes I did see an eagle circling above me on the beach at Broome. I had just given the young guy who put out the deck chairs a DVD on Zen Buddhism because he always set up my chair in a quiet spot. I appreciated that he did that so I gave him the DVD. I thought Broome was the closest to Paradise that I had ever experienced, it was a very healing and beautiful place for me.

          1. Wow, sounds like you are having really spiritual travels. Glad that you are finding some quiet time and made it to Broome. I unfortunately didn’t but will do in the future, I am sure. Where are you heading to next?

            • jeanette
            • 19/03/2015

            Hi Anne Marie, not sure where I am heading next, just sitting quietly seeing if some ideas will come. Where are you now, where are you heading?

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