Lake Clifton Thrombolites
Lake Clifton Thrombolites
Lake Clifton Walk Trail
Lake Clifton Thrombolites
Lake Clifton
Lake Clifton Walk Trail
Lake Clifton

Lake Clifton Walk Trail

Yalgorup National Park

Directions - From Mandurah take Old Coast Rd south for 27km until you reach the signs for Lake Clifton and the Thrombolites (Lakeside Parkway). Follow this until you reach Mount John Road, turn right and continue on to the car park.

The Hike - With a crazy Easter period upon us (remember COVID-19?), the regional borders of WA were closed off and all plans had to be postponed or amended. Originally we were going down to Funbury to see my family and the plan was to take my niece to Shannon National Park to do a hike as part of a belated birthday experience. With lockdown in place and everyone encouraged to practice good physical distancing, it was going to be a very different four day break. I still wanted to go hiking as it is one of the only activities that we were still allowed to do provided all precautions were taken and you avoided popular or narrow trails. With that in mind I started to look at places I'd been meaning to visit but were a little down on the list.

Lake Clifton was one of those areas, a hike I'd always meant to do on the way back from a visit to Funbury but never quite got around to. Being within the borders of the Perth/Peel region made it perfect and it would be one of those hikes where running water and wildflowers were an essential part of the experience.  While on paper the trail didn't look thrilling but the opportunity to gaze upon something truly ancient was something I was willing to travel all this way for. I must clarify that while many people were stating that everyone was to stay home all the time, travel for exercise is allowed within your local area (Perth/Peel for me) so I was quite comfortable with this trip given we would only be hiking and then driving home (that was the plan but didn't quite work out). Driving down the Kwinana Fwy on the morning of Good Friday with minimal traffic was a funny experience, not battling all the city folk trying to get to their holiday spots in the South West. We arrived at Lake Clifton with no one else in the car park and it was a lovely sight to see. The facilities here are all you need for a walk, just a car park, modern toilet block and information boards. 

 

With the soft morning light being the best for photography, we disembarked the car and made out way to the Thrombolites first. A small side trip from the trail head, you follow the boardwalk through the Melaleuca (Paperbark) and out onto the expanse of the lake. The Thrombolites are the main spectacle here with the micro-organisms forming clusters resembling round limestone rocks. Closely related to some of the first life on earth that formed around 570 million years ago, their presence here and other sites in WA (Lake Thetis in Cervantes being another) is still a bit of a mystery to scientists but it's pretty cool that they are here. Stretching out on the banks of the lake, it's a magnificent sight to behold and imagining how long it must have taken to form some of the larger structures is mind boggling. The jetty that stretches out into the water is there to protect these delicate formations and is now the nesting site of what I believe are Scarlet Robins (or Welcome Swallows as Caris has now corrected me). The whole lake system around here is a haven for bird life and I could have spent a long time sitting and waiting for all the different species that call this place home. With plenty of photos in the bag it was time to move onto the 5km walk trail before the UV started to rise.