Lake Thetis Loop Trail, Cervantes
Lake Thetis Loop Trail is an easy, 1.5km walk around the shores of Lake Thetis. It is one of only a few places in the world with living marine thrombolites, or ‘Living fossils’. The first 300m of boardwalk, which passes the best examples of thrombolites in the lake, is universally accessible.
About the Trail
Enjoy an easy 1.5km loop walk around Lake Thetis and gain an insight into what life was like at the dawn of time.
Like the famous stromatolites of Hamelin Pool, in Shark Bay, these rock-like structures on the edge of Lake Thetis are built by micro-organisms too small for the human eye to see. Within the structures are living communities of diverse inhabitants with population densities of 3000 per square metre!
The thrombolite-building micro-organisms of Lake Thetis resemble the earliest forms of life on Earth. The discovery of modern examples helped scientists to understand the significance of micro-organisms in the environment and unravel the long history of life on Earth. Today living examples of these once completely dominant organisms are restricted to only a few places.
Need to Know
The cray fishing town of Cervantes is your gateway to another world, the Pinnacles Desert of Nambung National Park. Regarded as one of Australia's most unique landscapes, you could almost believe you are walking on the moon as you follow the trail, passing thousands of limestone spires rising eerily out of the shifting sand. You can get to Cervantes in just two hours from Perth's northern suburbs, following the scenic Indian Ocean Drive, or by hopping aboard one of the many day tours that regularly depart from Perth. The town itself was established in 1962 to accommodate workers in the local cray fishing industry and got its name from the American whaling ship 'Cervantes' that was wrecked here in 1844. You can still sample the flavours of fresh local cray fish today, but it's the mysterious Pinnacles that lie just 17 kilometres from town that lure thousands of visitors to this little enclave. Head for the Pinnacles Desert Discovery Centre in Nambung National Park to find out how this curious landscape took shape and discover the abundance of flora and fauna that call it home. The park is a top spot for emu and kangaroo spotting and puts on an amazing wildflower show in spring. Along its shores, Cervantes is blessed with pristine white beaches, islands and reefs - the perfect playground for swimming, snorkelling, diving, boating and fishing. Hangover Bay is a top snorkelling and fishing spot and Kangaroo Point is a good place to throw in a line too. Accommodation options range from budget to mid-range, with a motel, backpackers, caravan park, holiday cottages, self-contained apartments and chalets. And if you're taking a break from the cooking, you'll find a choice of a la carte dining, takeaway and fast foods. Take a detour south of Cervantes and you'll encounter another bizarre sight - Lake Thetis. This tidal lake has salinity levels twice as high as the ocean, creating perfect conditions for the formation of stromatolites, the oldest and largest living fossil known to man.