How the Locals like it – Maitland Hill

When people become aware of the amazing local Aboriginal culture, they often become emotional as their eyes open to something they didn’t know.

How the locals like it

Maitland Hill,
Kaarak Dreaming

As an Aboriginal man, there comes a time when all the stories you’ve been told growing up, and your connection to country and culture that’s in your blood, just falls into place. That was the moment I knew I wanted to start Kaarak Dreaming so I could share that Nyoongar knowledge, history and way of life.

Maitland Hill, Karaak Dreaming

Originally from Pingelly, I grew up around Boddington and Armadale and settled in Dwellingup about nine years ago with my wife Carol.

There’s just something really special about this place and we both love it. The wildlife, the location, everything. When you’re driving and you get close to town, it’s like you’re taking off layers of the city like you’d take off a cardigan. It’s such a great feeling.

Dwellingup sits in a very special part of Western Australia, in the hills that form the ancient Dreaming Trail that runs from Albany to Uluru. When I take people on tours, they can feel the spirits of the old people bless them in this place. The breeze will stop when I’m talking about the old times, the ancient times, and they know it’s the spirits.

A lot of people who book tours with us are from interstate and overseas. They love to camp and caravan by the river. All of them say they want to learn more about the natural environment; the flora and fauna. They’re really interested in things like bush medicine and bush tucker. They want to understand what it’s like to be Aboriginal and I love to share that knowledge.

I’m teaching them about the oldest living culture in the world. That’s important and I’m proud to do my part to cement our place in history and the present.

The main thing I want people to take away from a tour with Kaarak Dreaming is a connection to country – something they will feel any time they return. It’s about walking from two worlds – white and Nyoongar – into one where we all have the same connection. Dwellingup is a place you can do that.

Kaarak means red tailed black cockatoo and those birds always make their presence felt on my tours. Their call is something you’ll always hear when out in country.

As well as running tours, I am also an artist and there is endless inspiration around here. As well as teaching people about traditional Nyoongar art, I am also commissioned to create public art which I love because I get to identify a Nyoongar perspective of the area – what it means to my people.

Some things you can learn from a tour with Maitland

  • The Nyoongar six seasons and the traditional way of making a fire
  • Traditional artefacts and Nyoongar music, art and language
  • The connection to country; flora, fauna, bush tucker and bush medicine
  • Ancient Dreamtime stories and the Aboriginal history of the region

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How the Locals like it – Natalie Adams

When people become aware of the amazing local Aboriginal culture, they often become emotional as their eyes open to something they didn’t know.

How the locals like it

Natalia Adams,
Mataya Eatery

I’ve always moved around; working remotely, having a mobile office. I love new and different experiences and finding unique spots with creative energy.

Natalia Adams, Mataya Eatery

Returning to Western Australia from over east around six years ago, I visited Mandurah even though I hadn’t been for years and didn’t know anyone who lived there.

It had instant appeal – a bit of country and a bit of city, close to Perth and on the water. So, I bought a block of land and built a home.

With a change in location I started concentrating on what I wanted the next part of my life to look like; how to express and develop my interests.

I noticed there was a great opportunity here to develop Mandurah’s food culture and tie it back into the community.

Having worked in the agriculture industry for 10 years, I have a true understanding of what ‘paddock to plate’ really means and understand business and the value of local producers and growers so, despite having no background in hospitality, I started Mataya Eatery.

I recruited a really strong team and over our three-year journey to date, the response has been fantastic. Our philosophy is centred around creating fresh and equally wholesome food. We believe that life should be about balance, not one fad diet, style of food or ‘on trend’ product should ever entirely consume you. It seems to really resonate with all our customers whether they’re regulars or just in town for the day.

One of the things I’m most proud of is that we’ve been able to realise the vision of activating the space around Mataya with a weekend market. It’s fantastic to see the authentic connections between producers, consumers and the community. This is an eco-friendly and sustainable project we at Mataya Eatery believe deeply in.

We are a family and pet friendly eatery so we see a lot of day-trippers who are out and about to check out all the fabulous things Mandurah has to offer.

I’m so glad I made the move here. Not only can I grow my business passion, but I also get to indulge my favourite activities, right on my doorstep; long walks, camp sites that also welcome my dog, and a cheeky cider and great food along the way.

Nat’s top tips for visitors

  • Head out bush and go camping at Dwellingup or Waroona
  • Take in an amazing sunset at White Hill beach
  • Check out Frisky Deer Interiors and grab a little something special for yourself
  • And of course, check out the Growers and Makers Market at Mataya and grab a coffee and some beautiful, fresh local produce

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How the Locals like it – Jos Coufreur

When people become aware of the amazing local Aboriginal culture, they often become emotional as their eyes open to something they didn’t know.

How the locals like it

Jos Coufreur,
Artist

I grew up in the Wollongong area and have always had a passion for art.

Jos Coufreur

The biggest attractions were, and still are, the waterways; the rivers, the estuary, and the sea. Mandurah is also the perfect size, not too big but large enough that there is no need to go to the big city. Everything we need is here.

I started exhibiting my work at a very young age, just 13. When I was 17, my parents took the family back to Holland where I attended the Royal Academy of Art in Den Bosch.

I met and married my lovely wife Hilly and together we moved to New Zealand where we stayed for 26 years, raising four children.

One of our children moved from New Zealand to Perth and he convinced his younger sister to come over to. When she moved to Perth, she loved it so much that she convinced her younger sibling and so on until all four of our children had moved to Perth.

They then started telling us that we should come too. Of course, we didn’t need much convincing as all of our children were now in WA!

Hilly and I aren’t city people so we looked to settle somewhere either north or south of Perth. When we saw Mandurah, we were hooked! That was seven years ago and we still love it.

Mandurah is very inspiring when it comes to my art. I paint outdoors, or as the French would say, ‘en plein air’, with the local Mandurah Plein Air Artists. Each Tuesday. we go out and paint on location. If you see us around Mandurah, stop and say hello. There are so many beautiful spots to paint. Some of my favourites are Cooper’s Mill, Egret Point, Doddi’s Beach and Keith Holmes Reserve.

The foreshore, wetlands and rivers are things every visitor should experience. They offer so many nice spots for recreation or picnics. The foreshore in particular is one of my favourite spots. The view is great and there are always lots of people about enjoying it. It’s so nice to just sit and watch all the hustle and bustle or enjoy the peaceful bay.

Sailing is one of my great hobbies and Mandurah is perfect for that. Recently I’ve really got into taking road trips with the caravan and this is a great base from which to explore.

Jos’s top spots for coffee in Mandurah

I love my coffee!! Try:

  • Moka
  • Nourishing the Soul
  • Tod’s Cafe

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How the Locals like it – Ben Dougherty

When people become aware of the amazing local Aboriginal culture, they often become emotional as their eyes open to something they didn’t know.

How the locals like it

Ben Doughtery,
Pirate Ship Mandurah

In 2007 I came to Mandurah to visit my uncle. I had a 12-month working visa and the plan was to stay in town for a couple of weeks and then travel around Australia. Instead, I found myself staying in Mandurah for the full year and, after heading back to a few months of English winter, decided I wanted to emigrate and make Mandurah my home.

Pirate Ship Mandurah

I’m originally from a seaside town in East Yorkshire called Bridlington. I grew up on the water, working on a tourist pirate ship in the summers from age 11 and then on fishing boats in the winters.

As soon as I arrived in Mandurah, I knew the pirate ship concept could work well here but I was deterred by the low height of the bridges across the estuary.

What’s the point of a pirate ship without a mast to hoist the Jolly Roger? The idea stayed with me and in the end, we came up with a telescopic mast and the Pirate Ship Mandurah was launched on 1 December 2018.

From day one the reaction to the ship has been amazing. People who live on the canals stand outside dressed in pirate hats and waving swords and we have received the most thoughtful and lovely emails and even gifts.

During the summer, around half of our visitors are from overseas and interstate, many of them here to see friends and family. But we also have a lot of local customers too. Mandurah is perfectly located for people from the South West and Perth to catch up. We come across these groups all the time.

Obviously, the Pirate Ship Mandurah is a big attraction for kids but the adults really get into the fun and the dress ups too. We even had a family drive all the way from Geraldton one Australia Day because they wanted to go for a cruise.

All of our visitors are enthralled by the dolphins and Mandurah’s beautiful, clean water in general.

My partner Anita and I are so happy to be raising our family here and often say to each other that if we were on holiday in the Greek Islands and saw canals and landscapes as beautiful as this it would be the highlight of our trip. We really try and remember every day that we are living in one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Ben’s top tip for family fun

Enjoy Mandurah’s waterways! Take a trip with us on the Pirate Ship Mandurah and spend the rest of the day on the foreshore with its great playground for kids and excellent coffee for the parents.

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How the Locals like it – Carl Wright

When people become aware of the amazing local Aboriginal culture, they often become emotional as their eyes open to something they didn’t know.

How the locals like it

Carl Wright,
Mandurah Boat & Bike Hire

My wife and I have lived in many parts of WA but we are so glad we’re now settled in Mandurah. The locals have been so welcoming, helped a lot by the fact we always have our friendly dog Pippa with us. In fact, many people we meet on our walks now carry treats just for Pippa!

Carl Wright, Mandurah Boat & Bike Hire

To us Mandurah is the perfect sized city. My favourite thing would have to be the waterways which are comparable to anywhere in the world.

Apart from being so beautiful, the varied water attractions around Mandurah, from the ocean to the estuary and the canals, means you can get out and enjoy them any time of the year. Too windy on the coast? Enjoy a leisurely kayak on the calm estuary.

We purchased Mandurah Boat & Bike Hire at the beginning of 2015 and moved here shortly after.  When we purchased the business we had 13 boats; we now have 26. Around 50 per cent of our clients are international visitors, 30 per cent from interstate and 20 percent from within Western Australia. Without doubt, the one thing they all comment on is Mandurah’s friendly dolphins and the beautiful water.

Our cycle hire is a popular part of our business with some beautiful cycle paths such as the Dawesville coast track and the ride from Mandjar Bay all the way to Safety Bay.

Closer to town, I really love the fact you have so many great restaurants, bars and cafes to socialise at, as well as the marina and the foreshore all within easy walking distance.

Mandurah is a perfect day trip destination from Perth but spending a few days here is just awesome. There is so much to do; go for a cycle, head out on the water in a boat or kayak, grab some lunch from a great range of restaurants and take in all the sights and sounds. Mandurah is far enough away to make you really feel like you’re having a break, but close enough to make it easy.

Carl’s favourite spot – Boundary Island

We’re able to beach the boat, take Pippa for a swim and throw the ball for her. Then we end the day with a spot of crabbing in the estuary just a hop, skip and a jump away.

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How the Locals like it – Justin Langer

When people become aware of the amazing local Aboriginal culture, they often become emotional as their eyes open to something they didn’t know.

How the locals like it

Justin Langer,
Mandurah Ambassador and Head Coach, Australian Men’s Cricket Team

I’ve had a connection with Mandurah since I was a little kid. To this day I love it and I am sure I always will. Our family had a house in Halls Head and holidays in Mandurah are where I got my first taste of catching blue manna crabs, King George whiting and cobbler. Those crabbing and fishing memories, along with Mandurah games of back yard cricket, are among those I treasure the most.

Justin Langer

During my cricketing career, my dream was to be able to buy a Mandurah house of my own. Fifteen years ago, I was fortunate enough for that dream to become a reality when we bought a house on the canals and it’s where I’m still creating special memories with my own family. We have four daughters and the tradition is continuing. They loving going to Mandurah and taking their friends and partners.

It’s my own piece of paradise and, even though I’ve been lucky enough to travel extensively, it’s, without doubt, my favourite place in the world. I love everything about it.

I have a little ritual every time I head to Mandurah. I buy some Red Rooster chips then, depending on the time of day, make a coffee or grab a beer and put the crab nets in off the back jetty as soon as I arrive. I instantly relax when I see the estuary and, when the crab nets go in, the holiday officially starts.

Thinking about Mandurah and that ritual is what keeps me going. I spent 300 days on the road in 2019 and just imagining myself there keeps me grounded and energised to keep working. It’s a powerful place.

Another thing I love about Mandurah is everything seems to grow incredibly well. I love my gardening and have the most spectacular lime tree, passionfruit and a host of other plants.

There have been a lot of positive changes in Mandurah since I first started coming as a kid. I remember I used to ask, “are we there yet?” a lot! Now it’s just a short one-hour drive from Perth.

The foreshore redevelopment, Mandurah Forum shopping centre, new bars and restaurants, Dolphin Quay, accommodation choices, the canal development, world class golf courses and, magnificent cycling and walking tracks are all fantastic additions. Mandurah has really been brought to life. It’s the perfect mix of old and new and you can’t get bored. It’s just beautiful.

For me though, the very best thing about Mandurah is still the water. Whether it’s the beach, the estuary of the canals, there is always something to do. You get the best of everything with so many water choices and it can be extremely restful or exhilarating. You can go swimming, boating, surfing, kite-boarding, jet skiing, kayaking, crabbing, fishing, catch squid and, see amazing marine life like dolphins and pelicans; it’s a piece of paradise.

There are some fantastic tours available to help visitors enjoy it all too now such as Mandurah Cruises’ Wild Seafood Experience. It really highlights what’s on offer in Mandurah. You get to catch crayfish and a chef prepares them on the boat while you cruise around before settling back to enjoy them for lunch.

Catching crabs with a scoop net is one of my favourite pastimes and it’s my earliest memory of the Mandurah foreshore. There’s nothing more fun! Just seeing that colour of the blue manna crabs in the water is amazing and you start salivating knowing how good they’re going to taste later. Don’t worry about playing in a Boxing Day Test, this is just as exciting!

When I was asked last year to be an ambassador for Mandurah, it was a complete no-brainer. I didn’t have to think about it for even a second. It’s feels like I’ve been saying positive things about Mandurah forever and it’s so easy to sell. I wish everyone could have the opportunity to experience it – Mandurah is pure gold.

Justin’s must-dos in Mandurah

  • Visit the beautiful beaches. My favourites are Avalon, Falcon and Pyramids. Take the dog for a walk along the sand and stay to watch a magnificent sunset
  • Explore the estuary either from the shore or out on the water. Dolphin spotting is a must
  • Go to Miami Bakehouse – there’s a reason it wins so may awards!
  • Try crabbing with a scoop net and experience the joy of catching your own lunch or dinner

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Mandurah is the ultimate aquatic and nature playground. Trip planning and experience making is easy with our 2021 destination information guide.

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How the Locals like it – Felicity Evans

When people become aware of the amazing local Aboriginal culture, they often become emotional as their eyes open to something they didn’t know.

How the locals like it

Felicity Evans,
Flics Kitchen

The thing I hear most from visitors is just how beautiful Mandurah is and I couldn’t agree more. It struck me when I returned home all those years ago and still does every time I go away.

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My family moved to Mandurah when I was 10. As long as I can remember I wanted to be a chef so, at the age of 16, I moved to Perth to start my apprenticeship. Once I’d qualified, I started on a path a lot of chefs follow and moved first to Melbourne, then Sydney followed by various other locations in Australia and overseas.

While that experience was fantastic and I learnt a lot, I think for most people there’s a time to come home and 13 years ago I came back to Mandurah. and bought a house.

The professional dream was always to own my own restaurant and four years ago I achieved that with the opening of Flics Kitchen on Mandurah Terrace. It’s been successful from the beginning and I’m extremely grateful for the overwhelming and continuous support from the local community from day one.

I think people were ready and looking for something different in the local food scene. Our farm-to-plate philosophy allows us to support and celebrate small local producers and farmers. If you enjoy food that is unique and different, you’ll love our modern menu which is continually evolving and changing.

We boast a diverse range of events throughout the year. Our most popular are Dinner in the Dark, Vegan and Truffle Degustations and our Native Dinner Series which showcases West Australian Indigenous produce hosted by a local cultural ambassador. New Year’s Eve we transform the restaurant into your childhood fantasy with themed events like Alice in Wonderland and Willy Wonka.

I’ve seen a lot of changes in Mandurah since first arriving here at age 10. The foreshore development is a stand out but the Mandurah Performing Arts Centre and Mandjar Bay Boardwalk, and Mandurah Forum are fantastic additions too.

I think my favourite change though, in more recent times, is the number of events and festivals that have popped up, particularly around the foreshore and the end of the terrace. They’re really exciting and fun and showcase all of the great hospitality offerings available in town.

I don’t get a lot of time out of the kitchen but when I do have some down time, I don’t think you can beat a walk with the dog on one of Mandurah’s beautiful beaches, a few vinos at Bar Therapy or a meal with friends at Silk Thai.

Flic’s favourite events to be involved in:

  • Running the Cabin Bar at Winter Wonderland
  • Top of the Terrace
  • Laneway Festival
  • Food stalls and bar at Crab Fest

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