Whitehills is a popular spot for 4WD enthusiasts as well as anglers. It is situated about 20km south of Mandurah in the Yalgorup National Park.
Whitehill Road is a bitumen road that will take you right up to the sand dunes. At the end of the bitumen road is a look out on top of a sand dune. It is really worth while climbing it, the view from the top is uninterrupted nature stretching away in all directions.
Just in case you fail to see all the noticeboards on your way to the beach, let me remind you once again to lower your tire pressure before you hit the beach. You are only allowed access to the beach, access to dunal areas is not permitted. No camping is allowed.
We headed south from Whitehills towards Preston Beach. The conditions were generally good, but at some places the waves have carved out rather steep hills. Luckily we had our 4WD experts with us. Being new to 4WD the day had a lesson or two in it.
We slid down one of the hills. The vehicle tilted heavily to one side and sunk into the soft sand, all in the blink of an eye of course. Luckily everybody stayed amazingly calm and enjoyed the experience for what it was: another learning opportunity. We got out of that one fairly easily. Looking at the pictures afterwards, we all agreed that it felt much worse than it actually was!
The day wasn’t all about driving and education – nature had a huge surprise in stall for us. We approached what we initially thought were some rocks in the ocean, as we got closer we saw that it was a whale … in our minds a dead one at that stage. It would still make a good photo, just the enormity of the creature is something to behold.
How wrong we were! It turned out to be a mother and her calf (very much alive) frolicking in the shallows. Pure magic. She seamed quite happy showing off her young one while cameras were clicking away on the beach. We’ve been on many boat tours to look at the whales, but have never been this close.
Preston Beach was the perfect place to have lunch, before exploring Martins Tank. This is a camp site in the Yalgorup National Park. Toilets and fire rings are provided, although you should keep in mind that a total fire ban is in place between October and March. The sites are large, shady and very close to the lake.
You don’t need a 4WD to gain access to Martins Tank. The turn off is just outside Preston and clearly marked. There is also an area for day users if you travel a bit further along Preston Road with the turn off also clearly marked.