Mandurah: an Overlooked Tourist Treasure
What was once a sleepy fishing village is now a coveted city escape beloved by tourists and locals alike. Just a short 40 minute drive from Perth sits the town of Mandurah, known for its surfing, fishing, crabbing, and laid back coastal lifestyle. Here you can kick back to a relaxed small town holiday feel while enjoying over 60 kilometers of pristine coastline as well as 130 kilometers of Mandurah’s famous waterways. In a recent coming of age this city has blossomed into an evolving modern getaway with emerging restaurants and cafes, clear blue waters waiting to be enjoyed, and spectacular beach sunsets waiting to be captured.
At the heart of the Mandurah culture and tourism scene is undoubtedly the water. This area is decked out with endless stretches of untouched coastline providing you with countless options for beach walks, surfing, swimming and fishing. The coast is also adorned with numerous limestone reefs that attract a variety of fish, making Mandurah the perfect spot for underwater adventures such as snorkeling or diving. But what makes Mandurah so unique is not the big blue Indian Ocean, it is in fact the estuary and small canal systems that weave their way through the city. These local waterways are perfect for boating, kayaking, SUPing, and spotting some famous Mandurah locals, such as the bottlenose dolphin.
One of the best ways to meet the locals and explore these famous Mandurah waterways is through the Dolphin Cruise. Here you can hop on a boat as it cruises through the calm inner waterways and gets you up close and personal with Western Australia’s largest population of Indo-Pacific Bottlenose dolphins. Over 120 dolphins are said to reside, feed, rest and play in this area and it is a true sight to behold as you get to enjoy these creatures in their natural environment. On the cruise you might also be lucky enough to see some other famous aquatic locals such as the Blue Manna Crab and the Western Rock Lobster. Another highlight of the Dolphin cruise is hands down the chance to see some of the multimillion dollar luxury canal homes as well as the wetlands where you can spot local birds such as the pelican, the osprey, as well as black swans.
Now if there are little ones in your group in need of some unforgettable holiday entertainment then the Mandurah Pirate Ship is a must. This custom built open air vessel also offers cruises through the calm local waterways. Equipped with an arsenal of props and activities your little one will be talking about this trip for ages. They will be able to dress up in full pirate attire as they sit by the massive ship's wheel, or peer out of a telescope. All the while the whole family can enjoy the views of the million dollar canal homes and the bottlenose dolphin sightings as they cruise along the waterways.
Next up on the tour is one of the ancient wonders located just outside of Mandurah. The Thrombolites are found at Lake Clifton and they date back at least 2,000 years. These rock-like structures under the water’s surface may seem a bit insignificant upon first glance but they are actually some of the oldest life forms on the planet. These living organisms even produce oxygen and they are the same organisms that made subsequent life possible millions of years ago.
Now a trip to Mandurah wouldn’t be complete without a stroll down the Eastern Foreshore. Here you can enjoy the simple pleasures of the seaside town such as the cool sea breeze, the salt filled air and the stunning views or the Mandjar Bay. Along the way be sure to stop in at Simmos Ice Creamery for a tasty treat. This sweet shop has been a WA icon for over 25 years and offers up over 60 mouth water flavors, needless to say a cup or cone from Simmos is a necessary accessory for strolling down the foreshore. There are also a number of emerging cafés and restaurants transforming the dining scene on the foreshore. Our personal favorite is Samudera, a once local bakery now transformed into an artisan food haven featuring a menu that focuses on wholesome foods and baked goods all prepared from scratch and baked on site in the historic bakehouse.
Now if that doesn't have your foodie taste buds in overdrive just wait till we tell you about Mandurah’s most famous annual event. Every year around March Mandurah will host a 2 day festival that attracts over 100,000 visitors and locals alike who are all keen for a taste of the true Mandurah. The annual Crab Fest is a celebration of the area's local waterways, fresh seafood, foodie delights, as well as local and national entertainment and performances. This is the largest free regional event in all of Western Australia and it perfectly showcases the culture, lifestyle, and talents that make Mandurah so unique. Most importantly the festival celebrates the iconic Blue Manna Crab which is a local favorite and the main attraction of this award winning festival.
So whether you are coming down for a quick day trip, a romantic getaway, a family holiday or a local rediscovering your own backyard you will not be disappointed by this laidback seaside oasis. From emerging foodie hotspots that are even starting to attract Perthians to untouched expanses of coastal wonders there is something here for everyone.