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Preston Beach, Western Australia

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The picturesque seaside haven of Preston Beach is popular among nature lovers and fishing enthusiasts. It's an ideal base from which to explore Lake Clifton and Yalgorup National Park, one of the few places in the world where you can see thrombolites - one of the oldest organisms on Earth. Take the one hour and 25 minute drive south of Perth to the laidback beachside community of Preston Beach. It's only 45 minutes south of bustling Mandurah, but is a quiet sanctuary for native flora, fauna and holidaymakers alike. In addition to being one of the only places on the planet where you can view thrombolites - 'living rocks' formed by microbial life forms over millions of years - the salt-water lakes and wetlands of Yalgorup National Park are teeming with wildlife. It's the temporary home for hundreds of migrating birds, as well as a host of water birds, such as the endangered hooded plover. Stroll along walk trails to observe the native flora and fauna, including blankets of vibrant wildflowers in spring. Take the Heathlands Walk for sweeping views over Lake Preston to Myalup, or the Lake Pollard Trail which leads to a bird hide on the water's edge. Alternatively, grab your clubs and take to the challenging nine hole golf course adjacent to Yalgorup National Park. Here, you can negotiate undulating terrain under the critical eyes of the resident kangaroos and emus. On the beach, the crystal clear water beckons you to take a swim or throw in a line to catch skippy, herring, tailor, whiting, or salmon (in season). Four wheel drives are permitted on the beach, but there is a strict no camping policy, so head to nearby Martins Tank Campsite or book a stay at one of the area's holiday homes or bed and breakfasts.

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