SAM JEREMIC is won over by authentic coastal charms
Despite living in Perth for nearly 20 years, I’d never managed to make the short trip up the coast to WA’s favourite lobster town. Finally, with my partner and four-year-old son in tow, we packed up the car and headed north to tick Cervantes off the list.
It felt like mere minutes after leaving the Mitchell Freeway when the surroundings started to change. This stretch of coast has its own distinct feel: stark white sand dunes contrasting with the rich green shrubbery somehow protruding from it, on either side of you as you head up Indian Ocean Drive.
Upon arrival, we were sceptical. As someone who grew up on WA’s south coast, this was a very familiar type of day: high 20s but also windy — the type of day where a trip to the beach generally ends up being chilly, sandblasted exercise in pretending you’re having fun. Fortunately, the breeze this day was warm — but not as warm as the water. Crystal-clear and protected by outer reefs, we could have spent all afternoon lolling in the calm shallows. After an hour effortlessly rolled by, our stomachs led us to Cervantes proper.
There’s no escaping the town’s lobster industry: images of rock lobster are scattered on artworks and installations throughout the streets, while its welcome sign is made from lobster pot buoys. So, the iconic Lobster Shack in town seemed the logical lunch choice.
Right on the beach, its massive deck is a fantastic spot to soak up some rays, have a beer and also grab a feed of topnotch seafood while the youngsters amuse themselves in the indoor playground. My better half and I treated ourselves to a half lobster, chips and salad for under $40, but there is cheaper, still tasty fare also available.
After unpacking at our digs, the weather and Ronsard Bay’s warm, clear water proved too inviting, seeing a leisurely beach walk turn into an impromptu second swim for the day.
Of course, there is one hotspot which demands visiting when in Cervantes — but, truth be told, we weren’t all that excited to visit the Pinnacles. Good thing we didn’t listen to our slacker selves. A sunset trip to the Pinnacles was a highlight. The towering structures casting lengthening shadows created a truly alien, spooky landscape — something which deserved its own 2001: A Space Odyssey-like theme music.
A bonus: the winding Pinnacles Drive’s firm sand means no four-wheel-drive is required.
After a weekend wandering around the town and surrounds, what stands out about Cervantes is its authenticity. It offers everything you need, but does it in a more old school way: groceries come from a general store, while the servo doubles as a takeout joint and offers burgers for less than $10. Most other towns such as this have the ubiquitous big, new shopping complex shoehorned into them, all with the exact same shops as each other. You can’t tar Cervantes with that brush though.
As a weekend getaway, Cervantes doesn’t lack much: enough interesting sites to stave off boredom, enough relaxing spots to unplug and do nothing — all with a splash of charm and soul.
This is an edited version of the original, full-length story, which you can read here.
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