Wonder at world-class natural beauty

PEEL YALGORUP WETLAND SYSTEM

Declared a Wetlands of International Importance in 1990 by the Ramsar Convention, this diverse and productive ecosystem covers over 26,000 hectares and is comprised of estuaries, lakes, rivers and conservation reserves, including Yalgorup National Park, Lake Mealup Nature Reserve & Lake McLarty Nature Reserve, Austin Bay Nature Reserve and Creery Wetlands Nature Reserve.

WHAT ARE WETLANDS?

Wetlands are areas of land where water covers the soil at certain times or all year. They include rivers, swamps, marshes, wet grasslands, tidal flats and estuaries.

Wetlands are a critical part of our natural environment, providing a habitat for a diversity of plant and animal species.

WHAT IS THE RAMSAR CONVENTION?

Also known as the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, Ramsar is an intergovernmental treaty for the conservation, protection and wise use of wetlands and their resources. Ramsar listed wetlands are ones of international significance in terms of their uniqueness and role in preserving biological diversity. To be included a wetland must meet at least one of nine criteria, the Peel-Yalgorup Wetlands System meets seven.

WHY ARE THEY SO IMPORTANT?

It is the largest and most diverse estuarine complex in south west Australia and provides a habitat for thousands of plants and animals. It’s a breeding ground and nursery for crabs, fish, native animals and birds, including quolls and quendas (bandicoots).

Not only are wetlands important to the natural environment, they support threatened ecological species and communities such as the Lake Clifton thrombolites, are culturally significant, include great spots for recreational activities and provide a wealth of educational and scientific research opportunities. 

The Peel-Yalgorup Wetlands System regularly supports more than 20,000 water birds annually. This includes those that travel the East-Asian Australasian Flyway, a 25,000km bird migration route that stretches across 22 countries from Russia to Australia. Thousands of these migratory birds feed and shelter in the wetlands from October to March.

CULTURAL SIGNIFICANCE

The wetlands have special significance for the Noongar people as they are important sources of food, used for ceremonial purposes and are part of the dreaming and their natural beliefs. Whilst all waterways are important to the Noongar people, some significant Aboriginal heritage sites include campsites at the Serpentine River mouth and Island Point and a ceremonial site at Egg Island. Please respect the cultural significance of these sites.

OUR LITTLE GLOBE-TROTTER

One of the thousands of birds that migrate each year is the red necked stint. Weighing just 28 grams, each year these little birds fly from Siberia to the Peel-Yalgorup Wetlands System, stopping along the way in Japan, South Korea, China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Broome. Some red necked stints have been migrating for over 20 years, a journey further than the distance from the Earth to the Moon

Photo Credit: Michael Stribling

NATURE PARKS

The region boasts a wealth of protected waterways, national parks, nature reserves and nature parks that provide a diverse range of nature experiences.

Yalgorup National Park

Stretching from south of Mandurah to Preston Beach, the park is known for its ten elongated lakes, beautiful tuart and peppermint woodlands and the ancient thrombolite reef at Lake Clifton. The park provides visitors panoramic views of the beaches, dunes and lakes, walking trails and picnic spots. It is home to a variety of native animals and birds and wildflowers are prolific in season.

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Lake Clifton Thrombolite Reef

The thrombolite reef at Lake Clifton, half an hour south of Mandurah, offers visitors a glimpse of what life was like when the earth began.

Found in only a few places in the world, scientists believe that thrombolites are one of the first life forms on earth, dating back approximately 570 million years, producing oxygen that made all subsequent life possible.

The Lake Clifton thrombolites are approximately 2,000 years old and the largest in the southern hemisphere. A boardwalk over the lake enables them to be viewed from above, with the best time to see them from January to May when the water levels are low.

Creery Wetlands Nature Reserve, Mandurah

The 29-hectare nature reserve has a series of connected boardwalks and pathways with informative signage and bird-watching areas. Whether you are interested in birds, wildlife or just enjoy a stroll by the estuary, the area is a fascinating and enjoyable environment to explore.

Samphire Cove Nature Reserve, Halls Head

Located on the north-western side of the Peel Inlet, the reserve includes scenic boardwalks, two bird hides (one with all-abilities access), an information shelter and a barbecue area nearby.

Len Howard Conservation Park, Erskine

Situated by the shores of the Peel Inlet and Mandurah Estuary, the park includes walking trails along the estuary and wetlands, bird-watching sites and a grassed area for picnics.

Serpentine National Park, Serpentine Jarrahdale

Best known for the waterfall that cascades over a sheer granite rock face, the park abounds with scenic beauty and is a sanctuary for an array of plants and animals. It is a great place for bush walks or a picnic by the falls.

Lake Goegrup Nature Reserve, Greenfields

Forming part of the Serpentine River system, the reserve includes a walk trail that runs along the Serpentine River, providing an experience of river and wetland environments.

Lane Poole Reserve, Dwellingup

The Murray River meandering through towering jarrah forest and valleys make this reserve, just outside of Dwellingup, an enchanting place to visit. Covering more than 55,000 hectares, the park offers plenty of space and options for a range of outdoor activities. Stay overnight at one of the many campsites or pack a picnic and enjoy a day trip exploring this stunning location.

Island Point Reserve, Herron

Situated on the shores of Harvey Estuary, the reserve provides a lovely sheltered beach for swimming or bird watching and bush trails to wander.

Herron Point, Birchmont

Between Mandurah and Pinjarra, the area is ideal for camping, picnics, swimming, walking and birdwatching.

2,000 year old Thrombolite Reef, Lake Clifton
Photo Credit: Waroona Shire

THE WILDLIFE OF OUR WATERWAYS

The fresh air, blue skies, pristine forests and stunning waterways of the region make it the perfect destination to immerse yourself in nature. Wonder at the world-class natural beauty and easily spot native wildlife as you explore by water or land.

Some of locations to spot wildlife include:

Mandurah Eastern Foreshore and Mandurah Ocean Marina

Dolphins regularly visit the calm waters in the centre of Mandurah and are a joy to watch while dining alfresco by the waterfront or just strolling along the foreshore.

Dawesville Cut

Krista Nicholson from the Mandurah Dolphin Research Projects has  never once walked her dogs here without seeing a dolphin. 

Creery Wetlands

Boardwalks and viewing platforms enable you to enjoy this unique ecosystem where over 130 different species of native and migratory birds have been spotted. Pelicans, the rare red tail black cockatoo, black swans and osprey breed and nest here.

Melros Beach Reserve, Dawesville

Kangaroos graze on the reserve in the late afternoon.

Bird Hides

Many locations have bird hides including Len Howard Conservation Park, Samphire Cove and Coodanup.

Lake Clifton, Yalgorup National Park

Emus can often be spotted walking along the lake shores.

Lake Pollard Trail, Yalgorup National Park

Black swans mass between October and March.

Emu Walk Trail, Dwellingup

Red-tailed black cockatoos are native to south western Australia and can be seen high up in the trees from the Emu Walk Trail that leads from Dwellingup town centre to the Forest Discovery Centre.

Lane Poole Reserve

Dwellingup More than 500 species of native plants grow in the reserve, providing an important habitat for threatened species such as the quokka, noisy scrub-bird, woylie, chuditch and western ring-tailed possum.

Marrinup

Dwellingup Jarrah forest habitat in the Darling Range is a good area for scarlet and white-breasted robin, varied sittella and perhaps the red-eared firetail.

Murray River

Dwellingup More than 500 species of native plants grow in the reserve, providing an important habitat for threatened species such as the quokka, noisy scrub-bird, woylie, chuditch and western ring-tailed possum.

Serpentine National Park

Walk the trails to see beautiful waterfalls and an abundance of native wildlife including kangaroos.

Ranford Pool Walk Trail

The walk from Lions Weir to Ranford Pool in Boddington, includes information signs on the bird and fish species to be spotted along the trail.

Pelican
Photo Credit: Les Imgrund

TAKE A HIKE OR A BIKE AROUND THE WILDERNESS.

After a full week of navigating the concrete jungles of our city or the endless mazes of its suburbia, there comes that moment of needing to get away from it all. It’s time to get out of that box that is the office, and the home, and the car, and take a hike or a bike around the walking and biking trails of Mandurah.

Rather than revisit those same, well-trodden tracks and green spaces around Perth (filled with people with the exact same idea), take a hike or a bike around the Peel region to really get the hell out of Dodge.

Mandurah and Peel Region’s Top Walking Trails

It might not be the quickest way to get around, but in the famous words of a Mr Ferris Bueller: life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

So slow down as you walk one of these idyllic tracks – while smelling those roses, as ordered, you’ll also find yourself coming across gorges, dense forests, wetlands and suspended bridges to hike up the excitement on these trails. 

Please note to check parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au for updates on track conditions for those in national state parks before you put your sneakers on.

1. Kitty’s Gorge Walk. Location: Atkins. Distance: 14km return

As the name suggests, this walk takes you across the rocky terrain of Kitty’s Gorge, following the Serpentine River to eventually bring you to the falls.

The story goes that Kitty was actually a cow who wandered away and was found months later down the gorge. Don’t be like Kitty. Prepare yourself for a five-hour walk of moderate difficulty, with some uneven ground and steep stretches of track.

From here, you can also access Baldwin’s Bluff, which is about 6km all up and offers extended views from the bluff.

2. Len Howard Conservation Park. Location: Erskine. Distance: 2km – 6km

A short, easy nature track looping around the wetlands, this trail offers bird watching spots and is connected to a reserve that’s perfect for a picnic.

From the carpark at the end of Glendart Ct, the short trail will take you to a bird hide just 2km away.

The trail is partly comprised of a boardwalk over the glistening wetlands, filled with life.

For the more enthusiastic hiker, a longer walk along the Erskine Walk Trail of approximately 6km and a two-hour return is also available.

3. Tullis Bridge and Tullis Rail Trails. Location: Boddington. Distance: 3 – 16km

Starting at – you guessed it – Tullis Bridge, this walk follows a flat, easy trail along the picturesque Hotham River.

The track weaves through bushland and back to the bridge site, which is a great spot for a picnic.

If you’re after a longer walk, the Tullis Rail Trail starts from the Boddington Lions Rodeo Grounds and is about 16km, finishing up at the wooden bridge.

4. Riverside Heartwalk. Location: Mandurah. Distance: 2km

Just to the east of Mandurah, this 90 minute walk follows a southern part of the Serpentine River, with a boardwalk that leads out to the water to offer breath-taking vistas.

While the odd boat is a pretty common sight, if you’re lucky, you might spot a couple dolphins, known to visit the area.

5. Island Point Walk. Location: Herron. Distance: 2km – 3km

A popular bird watching and picnic spot, Island Point Reserve also offers short walks able to be taken on by young and old.

You can walk the short loop of 2.3km, or the longer 3.3km, around the gorgeous wilderness of the wetlands.

6. Pinjarra Heritage Walk Trail. Location: Pinjarra. Distance: 1.2km

A fun track that crosses the Pinjarra suspension bridge, this walk takes you not just over the Murray River and its surrounding bushland, but through the historic town itself – making it a good choice for those not as keen for full-on bushwalking.

Mandurah and Peel Region’s Top Cycling and Biking Trails

Exploring those winding forest tracks or traipsing across suspension bridges really can only be done on foot, but you just can’t see the same breadth of landscape than when pedalling your trusted two-wheeler across the region’s best cycling trails.

As mountain biking can be dangerous it is advised that you download the Emergency+ App before your next ride.

1. Murray Valley Trails

New to the Peel region is the Murray Valley Trails, 3 purpose-built downhill mountain bike trails are open and ready for action.

These are the first of over 25km planned trails for the Murray Valley network – a real coup for the region and caters for beginner, intermediate and advanced riders.

While the longest trail is 2.3km and for beginner riders – the moderate trail Boom Boom at 1.4km and advance trail Bam Bam at 1.3km definitely pack a punch that will challenge the most confident of riders.

Watch: Murray Valley MTB Downhill Trails

2. Bridges Ride. Location: Mandurah. Distance: 4.5km.

One of the best ways to soak in all Mandurah has to offer, this 4.5km ride takes you around foreshore and canals, before taking you out to nearby Samphire wetlands.

On your 90 minute ride you will also come across Sutton Farm on Old Coast Road, a heritage listed site dating back to the 1860s.

3. Turner Hill Trail. Location: Turner Hill. Distance: 11km

Located between Pinjarra and Dwellingup, this track is strictly for off-road bikes.

The trail is marked as moderately difficult and will take one to three hours to complete.

However, there’s also a 5km short cut, and a much easier 1.1km loop for the kids (or the less confident biker).

4. Langford Park. Location: Jarrahdale. Distance: 22km

If it’s pure off-road or mountain biking you’re after, this is one of the most popular spots in the state to kick up some dirt.

There are a whole bunch of trails, the longest of which is 17km long, with options for beginner to advanced riders.

Choose your adventure and download the Langford Park Map.

5. Halls Head Coastal Trail. Location: Halls Head. Distance: 12km

This 12km stretch along the Mandurah Coastline is perfect for biker and walker alike.

Starting from Doddi’s Beach, there are boardwalk sections of this track and frequent benches for you to take that much-needed rest as you look out for dolphins in the stretching sea beyond.

6. Marrinup Cycle Trail. Location: Marrinup. Distance: 8km

North West of Dwellingup lies the Marrinup State Forest which is near the old Marrinup townsite and what remains of a prisoner of war camp.

Whether it’s the history, the beautiful flora and fauna, or the established biking trails you’re there for, this is an incredible spot in the Peel region to visit.

The Marrinup cycle trail is a purpose-built 8km track, starting and finishing at the old Marrinup campsite, with a slight detour taking you to the POW camp.

Again to quote Ferris…

“The question isn’t what are we going to do, the question is what aren’t we going to do?”