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Yalgorup National Park/Australia

Introducing Yalgorup National Park

Fifty kilometres south of Mandurah is this beautiful 12,000-hectare coastal park, consisting of 10 tranquil lakes and their surrounding woodlands and sand dunes. The park is recognised as a wetland of international significance for seasonally migrating waterbirds, with 130 species identified.

Amateur scientists can visit the distinctive thrombolites of Lake Clifton, which are descendants of the earliest living organisms on earth (they are the only life form known to have existed over 650 million years ago). These rocklike structures are most easily seen when the water is low, particularly during March and April. There's a viewing platform on Mt John Rd off Old Coast Rd; keep an eye out for long-neck tortoises below the boardwalk. A 5km walking track starts from here and loops around the lake.

The Lake Pollard trail (6km) begins about 8km down Preston Beach North Rd (not Preston Beach Rd, as marked on some maps). The pleasant Martins Tank Lake campground is just to the right of the trail's entrance. The trail takes in tuart, jarrah and bull banksia on its way to the lake, which is also known for its black swans (October to March).

The Heathlands trail (4.5km) to Lake Preston starts at the information bay on Preston Beach Rd (before the turn-off to Preston Beach North Rd) and explores the tuart woodland. Further along Preston Beach Rd is Preston Beach.