Lake Clifton: Everything you need to know

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Nestled between the iconic WA coastline and the Perth Hills lies the Swan Coastal Plain.

Home to the majority of Perth residents, the lake system that runs north-south along the coast is home to some pretty spectacular scenery.

Just south of Mandurah are a few of the larger lakes that are home to some incredible natural wonders that defy the odds with Lake Clifton being one of the best spots to visit, including its millions of years old thrombolites, and perhaps even a sneaky giant of Mandurah!

What is it?

Lake Clifton is one of a series of large narrow lakes just inland from the coast and home for a lot of different wildlife. The lake provides a sanctuary for migrating birds travelling to distant lands as far away as Siberia along with being home for native species like the three species of Black Cockatoo. Along the edges of the lake you’ll find all manner of animals like the emu, wallabies, kangaroos and bungarras.

The real treat though is located right on the edge of the lake not far from the car park. The ancient descendants of some of the earliest life forms on Earth in the form of thrombolites. Micro-organisms that cluster together to form rock like formations, these wondrous creations can date their ancestry back billions of years to a time when the Earth was a much different place.

Where is it?

Located 30 minutes south of Mandurah in Yalgorup National Park, take Old Coast Road south until you reach Mount John Road. Take a right here and follow this all the way to the car park just past Cape Bouvard Winery. There is plenty of parking available along with a toilet block and information boards.

What to do:

The main attraction here is the thrombolites that can be seen up close by taking the path west from the car park along the boardwalk. There are plenty of information boards letting you know about the unique history and the boardwalk allows you to get quite close.

For those looking for a longer activity, the 5.8km Lake Clifton Walk Trail takes you from the car park along the edge of the lake before circling back via a higher vantage point. Explore the tuart- and peppermint-dominated scenery where you’ll experience wildflowers in spring and if you’re lucky, an animal sighting along the way. A series of interpretive boards along the trail provides an insight into the native fauna and flora that call this place home.

What not to do:

The thrombolites are extremely sensitive so please stick to the boardwalk on your visit. They are a very unique part of WA so preservation is key to their survival. Stick to the Leave No Trace principals by taking all rubbish with you and respecting the environment you are visiting.

Anything else?

Lake Clifton is one of the best spots near Mandurah to take advantage of the clear night skies. Later in the season (around spring) when the core of the Milky Way is closer to the western horizon, Lake Clifton is a really great spot to try and capture it. If you’re a keen photographer then this is a place you’ll want to check out.

About the author:
Mark (The Life of Py) is a Perth based outdoor enthusiast that loves exploring the trails of Western Australia in his free time. When he isn’t out taking photos he is busy planning the next adventure. See more of his content here.

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