In August I visited Mandurah, just south of Perth, WA’s second largest city and one of the State’s top tourist destinations.
What a great place this is! Once a small fishing village that boomed during holiday periods, Mandurah has grown into one of the most vibrant regional cities in Western Australia, following the coast from its northern extremity at Madora, to Lake Clifton and Yalgorup National Park in the south. And there are so many restaurants and cafés around, I challenge you to visit them all during your stay!
There’s lots to do in Mandurah: visit Dolphin Quay at the Mandurah Ocean Marina; Mandurah Boardwalk; charter a boat; take a cruise around the canals and estuary (keep an eye out for dolphins!); play a round of golf at one of the world class golf courses in the region; canoe or kayak along the winding Murray River; walk or bike one of the many trails; go fishing or camping; see Thrombolite living fossils. Oh, and there are beaches too!
I couldn’t do it all in the short time I was there, but here’s what I did get up to!
Get out of town!
I loved that Mandurah is perfectly located for a number of day trips – Bunbury and Thrombolite living fossils at Lake Clifton to the south, the historic towns of Dwellingup and Pinjarra a short drive south east of town, Fremantle and even Perth to the north, a multitude of beautiful state forests and national parks, wineries, antique shops and galleries and quaint townships!
My first outing was down to Bunbury, an easy hour’s drive south of Mandurah. Bunbury is most well-known for the pods of wild bottlenose dolphins which visit Koombana Bay, you can even swim with them if you’re so inclined.
I went to Jetty Bath Beach for lunch, and what a delicious, delectable, mouth-watering lunch it was. The service was excellent, the weather perfect, the view beautiful, and the food …. simply amazing!
I would have loved to have explored Bunbury, but an incoming storm had me hightailing it back up the coast in the hope I’d beat it to Mandurah.
I almost beat it, but the sunset was so spectacular that I had to find somewhere to quickly stop and capture it. No time to get the camera and tripod out, a phone shot would have to do this time!
And that storm I mentioned …. caught me just as I drove back into Mandurah!
Pinjarra & Dwellingup
The next day, I headed to the historic towns of Pinjarra and Dwellingup.
Pinjarra is one of the oldest established towns in WA, known for dairy, cattle farming and timber. The countryside was absolutely beautiful – such a brilliant, lush green. I stopped along the way to check out some cattle which were milling about near a gate! They were interested in me, but not enough to come back near the gate unfortunately! One of the calves started to, until its mother changed its mind!
In Pinjarra, I visited the historic St John’s Church and adjoining cemetery. The church is the oldest building in the parish and one of the oldest buildings in WA!
I absolutely love old cemeteries – the older the better! They really are a window through time, and I’ll go looking for one everywhere I go. Although not large, this one was absolutely beautiful with old-fashioned headstones and ‘fenced’ grave sites, reminiscent of a bygone era!
So then I continued on to the historic sawmilling town of Dwellingup. The Dwellingup History & Visitor Information Centre is like a step back through time! It even houses the fully restored, bright yellow 1938 Mack Fire Tender, complete with its famous bulldog motif, a relic of the second world war.
There are a number of self-guided tours around Dwellingup. The Visitor Centre has all the information you’ll need.
I realised after a couple of days that I hadn’t been out to take proper sunrise or sunset photos in Mandurah. I'd already decided that I wanted the marina, so I got myself organised and headed off with plenty of time to spare to find a good spot.
Lucky I took this shot when I did. The sun set less than half an hour later and it was a fizzer!! Too much heavy cloud on the horizon. Win some, lose some!
The next morning, I headed to the other side of the marina for some dawn/sunrise shots. OH MY GOODNESS! Check out the colours in these photos!!
I had to head back to the resort, pack up and check out, but I made a mad dash around Mandurah getting some foreshore and estuary shots before I headed back to Perth …. and home!
If I’d had more time out west, I would have squeezed a few more things in:
Rottnest Island: probably best known for the resident ‘quokkas’, a marsupial the size of a hare or domestic cat. There’s also coral reefs. It’s only 19km off-shore and you can get there by air, ferry or boat! You can even stay on the island!
Fremantle: The last time we were ‘out west’, we stopped at Fremantle for a quick visit. I absolutely loved it, and would early have liked to get back there on this trip with a decent camera (maybe take in a sunrise or sunset), but it wasn’t to be – I simply ran out of time. It will be at the top of my ‘to do’ list next time, believe me!
Margaret River: We went there a few years ago, and it’s definitely on my ‘get-back-to-with-a-decent-camera’ list! No visit to southern WA is complete without some time amongst the vines!
The images in this post are comprised of shots taken on Sony a7R, Sony NEX-5N and iPhone 5S.