The Spanish vs the Australian
Maria Elena in WA Maria Elena in WA

When naming the town it was thought that the Cervantes islands had been named by the Baudain expedition of 1801-03 after the Spanish author Cervantes- and as a result many of the street names are Spanish

Searching for Spanish culture in WA - part II 

Cervantes- if you are Spanish you will probably immediately think you know what (or better: who) I am refering to. If you are Western Australian, you might think of something completely different. And if you are a Spaniard currently living in WA like me, you might feel slightly confused by now. But just in case you haven't been to a small crayfishing town 245 km north of the state capital Perth yet. This town is dubbed -, you are right Mister/ Misses- Cervantes.

This beautiful town and entry point to the Pinnacles desert in the Nambung National Park is not at all accidentally been named after the famous Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616), who created the first modern european novel Don Quijote.

Cervantes itself was established around fifty years ago, gazetted in 1963, to accomodate workers in the local crayfishing industry. The town being home to roughly 500 inhabitants is situated on the West coast of Australia, also known as notorious shipwreck coast: over 1,400 ships collapsed here since 1622. The crayfishing town was named after the Cervantes Islands which in turn were named after the Spanish writer, an American whaling ship which was wrecked just north of the island on July 29, 1844.

When naming the town it was thought that the Cervantes islands had been named by the Baudain expedition of 1801-03 after the Spanish author Cervantes- and as a result, many of the street names are Spanish. So even though it might not be as close to the Spanish culture as its name suggests, seeing all these Spanish names on the streetsigns definitely holds a consoling element for the seekers of some Spanish soul (fulness) in WA.

In addition to this, Cervantes also offers beautiful beaches, islands and reefs, for example "Hangover point" for snorkelling and fishing or "Kangaroo Point" for throwing in a line. And whereas you won' t find many options here to indulge in the party preference that runs through our Spanish blood, the love for good seafood, beaches and relaxation inherent in the Spanish character can definitely be fulfilled in Cervantes, where you can still sample the flavours of fresh local cray fish today.

If you feel up for the ultimate Cervantes experience -discovering the only place in WA, where you could mistake yourself for being in Spain if it was for the street signs- you can reach Cervantes in just two hours from Perth northern suburbs, following the scenic Indian Ocean Drive. Or alternatively by hopping aboard one of the many day tours that regularly depart from Perth.

And if you feel like a little adventure, just take a detour south of Cervantes and visit either the stunning Pinnacles desert or Lake Thetis- a lake hosting stromatolites, the oldest and largest living fossil known to man.

Let this beautiful quote by Miguel de Cervantes Saveedra be an inspiration for this or any other inner or outer travel you may embark on:

"El que lee mucho y anda mucho, ve mucho y sabe mucho."
" He who reads a lot and walks a lot, sees a lot and knows a lot."

By Maria Elena Knolle Cano

Read Searching for Spanish culture in WA - Part I here!

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