Lake Thetis is a saline coastal lake near the town of Cervantes, 30 minutes from the famous Pinnacles Desert. Lake Thetis is one of only five sites in WA that feature thrombolites, estimated to be over 3,000 years old. Thrombolites are closely related to stromatolites - the oldest living fossil in the world at 3.5 billion years old.
The area sits within Nambung National Park in the mid-west region of Western Australia. Just like the famous Hamelin Pool stromatolites in the World Heritage Shark Bay area, the thrombolites on the edge of Lake Thetis resemble rocks but are built by micro-organisms that are way too small for the eye to see.
Take an epic road trip like no other along Western Australia’s stunning and diverse coastline. From Broome’s iconic Cable Beach, through the mining hubs of Port Hedland and Karratha to eco cruises on pristine Ningaloo Reef and Monkey Mia. From Kalbarri National Park to the mysterious Pinnacles and onto Perth and intriguing Rottnest Island. WA is filled with adventure, come and see...
Head way out West and discover the beauty of WA’s wildflowers, natural formations and historic attractions. Flights take you in to Perth for 2 night stay with coach touring which includes visits to Geraldton, Dalwallinu, Hyden, Albany, Pemberton, Margaret River and Busselton. Cruise the Donnelly River, marvel at The Pinnacles and Wave Rock, enjoy the delights of Rottnest Island and be mesmerised by dreamtime legends in the Ngilgi Caves.
The thrombolites of Lake Thetis may not look like much at first, but when you consider they are some of the oldest living organisms on Earth, you start to appreciate their importance as a glimpse into an ancient time.
The word thrombolite is from the Ancient Greek words thrómbos meaning clot and líthos meaning stone. Lake Thetis thrombolites are clotted accretionary structures formed in its shallow waters by the trapping, binding, and cementation of sedimentary grains by colonies of micro-organisms, in particular cyanobacteria. The population density of these tiny inhabitants within the structures is 3000 per square metre!
The water in Lake Thetis is alkaline and nutrient-poor but creates the ideal environment in which these bottom-dwelling microbial communities can thrive. The lake also provides a home for species of small fish, amphipods, and crustaceans who have evolved to be able to live in this highly saline location.
A 30-minute drive from Lake Thetis is The Pinnacles, one of the most visited natural tourist attractions in Western Australia. This unique landscape features thousands of weathered limestone rock spires rising out of the yellow sandy earth.
The area was unknown to most Australians until 1967 when it was gazetted as a reserve and later became part of Nambung National Park. For thousands of years however, the local Aboriginal women knew this as a sacred place to come together for women’s business – giving birth, collecting food, and holding important ceremonies.
The spires date back between 25,000 and 30,000 years. Some of the formations are narrow, jagged spires while others are smooth and curved. The taller pinnacles reach up to 3.5 metres, while the shorter ones look like small gravestones.
The Pinnacles abound with wildlife including Western grey kangaroos, emus, sand goannas, carpet pythons, bobtails, and Baudin’s black cockatoos.
Lake Thetis lies 2 kilometres inland from the Indian Ocean and is situated east of the small town of Cervantes in the mid-west region of Western Australia. It is a two-hour drive north of Perth along the Indian Ocean Drive.
Lake Thetis features thrombolites which are closely related to stromatolites. Thrombolites are believed to be over 3,000 years old, and Lake Thetis is one of only five sites in Western Australia where you can find them.
Stromatolites are the oldest 'living' fossil in the world at 3.5 billion years old and there are only two well-developed marine Stromatolite areas in the world. One is in the Bahamas, the other is Hamelin Pool in the World Heritage Shark Bay area of Western Australia.
Lake Thetis is accessible by a boardwalk and the first part of it passes the best examples of thrombolites in the lake. There is a 1.5-kilometre loop trail around Lake Thetis that takes around 30 minutes.
Our team is always happy to help if you have any questions about us or our tours. Fill out our form and we will get back to you soon.