#ourwapark of the week: Yalgorup National Park

Just south of Mandurah, stretching to north of Myalup lies Yalgorup National Park. The park covers

(Photo: Parks and Wildlife Services)

12,888 hectares, right next to Forrest Highway on your way to Bunbury. This National Park offers panoramic views of the local beaches, peaceful settings of forest and woodlands and sweeping views over tranquil lakes.

The name Yalgorup is derived from two Nyoongar Aboriginal words; yalgor, meaning ‘a swamp or lake’, and up, meaning ‘a place of’. It is an appropriate name because the park protects 10 lakes that run in a chain.

It is also known for its elongated lakes, beautiful tuart and peppermint woodlands and, above all, for the microscopic communities that reside in Lake Clifton and form thrombolites.

 What you may not know about the park: 

  • Known as the ‘Place of Lakes’ (includes ten lakes)
  • The largest national park on the Swan Coastal Plain.
  • The park’s crowning glories are the Lake Clifton Thrombolites, which can be viewed on a boardwalk. This is one of few places in Western Australia where these thrombolite communities survive.

The thrombolites are descendants of the earliest living organisms on earth (they are the only life form known to have existed over 650 million years ago). 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.

Scientists know little about the thrombolites and why they form at Lake Clifton, but one theory is that they form because the lake is associated with upwellings of fresh groundwater that is high in calcium carbonate. The micro-organisms living in this environment are able to precipitate calcium carbonate from the waters as they photosynthesise, forming the mineralised structure that is the thrombolite.

  • The park is recognised as a wetland of international significance for seasonally migrating water birds, with 130 species identified.

Yalgorup is a haven for birdwatchers; native waterbirds are present in large numbers along with those that migrate annually from the Northern Hemisphere. The latter include waders such as the red knot, which breeds around the Artic Circle, the bar-tailed godwit, red-necked stint, greenshank, whimbrel and three species of sandpipers.

Other waterbirds include the musk duck, Pacific black duck, banded and black-winged stilts, hooded and red-capped plovers and the red-necked avocet. A bird hide has been constructed on the edges of Lake Pollard.

How to get there: 

  • Yalgorup National Park lies on the western edge of the Swan Coastal Plain just south of the Dawesville Channel, near Mandurah.
  • Situated only 80 minutes’ drive south of Perth, 45 minutes’ drive south of Mandurah or 45 minutes north of Bunbury, Yalgorup

 When should you visit?

Spring and autumn are particularly good times to explore. There are nature walks suitable for most ages and fitness levels at Lake Preston, Lake Clifton, Heathlands, Martins Tank Campground and Lake Pollard. Camping is also available at Martins Tank Campground