A highlight of our seven day Western Australia road trip was a self-tour of the Lancelin sand dunes and then on to The Pinnacles Desert. Without stops, the journey takes just under three hours one way, but you’d be seriously missing out on the fun if you didn’t stop to sand board a/k/a sand surf at the Lancelin dunes, about two hours north of Fremantle. (See below map)
Here’s how to get to the Lancelin Dunes:
From Fremantle (or Perth) drive north on Route 60 (Ocean Drive) until reaching the little town of Lancelin. Follow the main road, Walker Avenue, past the gas station, then turn right on Gingin Road, where the map below shows the post office, restroom and cafe. Continue along Gingin until you see the Have a Chat General Store with its “Lucky 7” logo, right next to the Tourist Information Center. Here (at the general store), you can rent your sand boards. They have “sitting” boards for newbies and for the more advanced, “standing” boards to choose from, but given we had no earthly idea how to surf normally — let alone on sand — we opted for the sitting boards! I can’t remember how much the rentals cost, but it wasn’t much at all — maybe 10 AUD per board for a few hours. They also request a deposit of something in the amount of 30 to 50 AUD (can’t remember) per board but this is returned to you upon returning the boards in functional condition. You can pick up the below map at the Tourist Information Centre next door; the office is located within the motel grounds of Lancelin Holiday Accommodation, in case you get confused like we did. And thanks, Anita, for allowing me to share your map here!
Map in hand and boards in the boot, continue driving along Gingin until it curves right (becoming North Street). When you get the the T, hook a left and just a bit after that, you’ll see a small parking area encircled with trees just off the road to your right. If, like us, your rental policy has specific provisions against driving on rough, unpaved roads, you’ll want to park here and then walk to the dunes. If you can keep on, however, you can follow the rough, sandy path passing this parking area, eventually ending at a much larger, much closer parking space just below the dunes. The picture below shows Sam about mid-way from our parking area to the closer parking spot, to give you an idea of the distance.
In case you’re worried about finding the dunes, don’t. They’re pretty evident as soon as you reach the closer parking spot! Just climb up any dune that strikes your fancy, wax the bottom of your board with the funny candle you receive upon letting said surf board, and then, the fun begins!
We had no idea how to “sand surf,” but we were told by someone who went the day before that, at least for beginners, the trick is to sit on the board with your legs bent and feet in front. Then, as you push off, you let your hands sweep the sand behind you. This helps with steering as well as moderating the speed of descent. And you know what? It works! I’m a little embarrassed of how ridiculous I look (and sound!), but the short clip below shows my first foray down the dunes. Hey, it seemed a lot steeper and scarier in person than it looks here!
But clean or not, sand boarding at the Lancelin Dunes is definitely tons of fun. Highly recommended! Next up, we continue our drive to the sienna-hued Pinnacles Desert!