The Yalgorup National Park is situated between the Old Coast Road and the ocean, on the south-west coast of Western Australia about 112kms from Perth. This thin piece of land (13,000 ha) stretches through three shires and is home to a large array of wild life, bird life and thrombolites .
History of Yalgorup National Park
The area was established as a National Park in the 1970’s. The Aboriginal name chosen for the park is derived from two Nyoongar Aboriginal words; yalgor meaning ‘lake or swamp’ and up meaning ‘place’. The Aboriginal people of the south-west, known as Noongar (Nyoongar), occupied the area for over 40,000 years. You can access the park by foot, bicycle, boat, car or four wheel drive.
The park features ten lakes and patches of small but beautiful Tuart forests and woodlands. The soils in the park originated from the sea and are largely made up of material from sea shells and marine organisms.
If you take a stroll a long one of the walk paths you are more than likely to see a Western Grey kangaroo, Brush Wallaby or even an emu. The creatures you may find harder to spot (but trust me they’re there) are bandicoots, Brush-tailed possums and the echidna. The area was once populated by Quokkas but they were virtually wiped out by the fox. From the boardwalk at Lake Clifton you might see a little head pop up just above the waterline, don’t fear, it will be an inquisitive long neck tortoise.
There are black swans, water fowl, Grebes, Coots and musk ducks found on the lakes. Migratory birds include waders , Bar-tailed Godwits, Stints, red knot, sandpipers, greenshank and red-capped plovers, the list goes on. Over 40 waterbird species have been recorded in the park and some have travelled from as far afield as Alaska. The area is recognised under the International Ramsar Convention.
The Amphibian Life
Though I have never been able to spot one of these croaking creatures, frogs are abundant in the area. It is home to the quacking frog, turtle frog and the slender tree frog. From last count there are eight different species of frogs croaking in the park.
The ten lakes of Lake Clifton are Clifton, Preston, Boundary, Pollard, Martins Tank, Yalgorup, Hayward, North Newnham, South Newnham and Swan Pond. Lake Clifton is the most unique of the lakes as it is home to thrombolites . The thrombolites in the lake are over 2000 years old and they are the largest known examples of living non-marine microbialites in the Southern Hemisphere. This is also one of only two places known where microbialites occur in water less salty than sea water.There is a camping ground at Martins Tank Lake with facilities which include toilets, barbecue and tables.
Now I have no exact location for these tunnels but I have been told there are about thirteen of them. The tunnels were dug into the limestone hills and no one has a clue why or even when (it is a complete mystery). Many of the entrances are hidden from view and are quite difficult to find. Click for more information about the Yalgorup Tunnels.
Camping in Yalgorup National Park
There is a camping grounds at Martins Tank. Picnic tables, toilets gas BBQs and tables are available on site. There is no firewood or drinking water available. Fees apply. The best time to camp is spring and autumn.