Follow the yellow bloom road of wildflowers near Perth

Japan has its cherry blossoms, Amsterdam flourishes with tulips, and Provence, France lights up with lavender fields. Here in Western Australia, we’re famously known as wildflower country. And rightly so.

FOLLOW THE YELLOW BLOOM ROAD OF WILDFLOWERS NEAR PERTH 

Spend a day wandering among the wildflowers

Japan has its cherry blossoms, Amsterdam flourishes with tulips, and Provence, France lights up with lavender fields. Here in Western Australia, we’re famously known as wildflower country. And rightly so.

WA has the most wildflowers in the world – over 12,000 species, with almost two thirds unique to WA, and there’s lots of ground to cover. What you see can vary each year depending on the weather, and given our bumper winter rains, this wildflower season could be one of the best yet!

The best time to explore this natural phenomenon

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Wildflower season in WA begins around August and goes right through until October or early November.

The mid-west towns of Moora, Morawa, Mullewa, Mingenew, Perenjori and Wubin are regarded as the heart of wildflower country, but what you might not know is just a short drive from Perth is where you’ll find some hidden and colourful wildflower hotspots blanketing the Peel region.

Right now is when the Peel region starts to bloom. As a biodiversity hotspot, you can expect to see a vivid display of colourful species including a wide variety of acacia and native orchids. And you don’t need to be a nature expert to appreciate how spectacular it all is.

Where to spend a day wandering the wildflowers

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While you can see WA’s wildflowers come alive with colour almost anywhere you go – roadside kerbs, bush trails, driving past paddocks and coastal dunes, the best way to get up close to nature is on a walking trail. And if a day trip is on the cards, the national parks surrounding Mandurah is your best starting point. They’re easily accessible – no equipment or 4WD access required, just a good pair of sneakers, a map, camera, plenty of water and snacks and you’re good to go!

You can explore on your own, or take it all in with an expert guide on a Salt and Eco Bush wildflower tour, with half-day or full-day tours available.

If you decide to go it alone, below you’ll find a few locations we’ve curated from our friends at RAC Travel. But if you want to know where the current wildflower hot spots are, we recommend downloading the wildflower tracker app when it becomes available – very soon we’re told! Sign up to find out when it’s released, but in the meantime, you can also check out the 2020 wildflower sightings as a rough guide.

Before you head off, we also recommend stopping by one of the nearby visitor centres for tips on which areas are in full bloom.

The Estuary Walk

Where: Len Howard Conservation Park, Len Howard Drive, Erskine, Mandurah

Distance: 6km

Walking duration: 2 hours

How to get there

Follow the Old Coast Road 5km south from Mandurah to Erskine. Turn left into Wattleglen Avenue, then right down Silverton Crescent until you’ll reach Len Howard, Conservation Park.

Wildflower species to look out for

Native wisteria, cowslip orchids, blue lace flowers, white myrtle sprawled amongst larger wattles, tuarts and paperbarks. The shores are likely to be lined with banksias, flaxes and rushes.

 

Beacham Reserve Walk

Where: Wanjeep Street, Coodanup, Mandurah

Distance: 2km

Walking duration: 1 hour

 

How to get there

This triangular park in Mandurah has paths around the outside and one running straight through the middle. Exit off Mandurah Road onto Coodanup Drive, then take a right onto Wanjeep Street until you reach Beacham Reserve.

 

Wildflower species to look out for

Bee orchids, spider orchids, donkey orchids and green hood orchids, banksias, wattles, native wisteria and buttercups.

 

Island Point Walk

Where: Island Point Nature Reserve, Southern Estuary Road, Herron

Distance: 4km

Walking duration: 2 hours

 

How to get there

Take the Southern Estuary Road and exit on Island Point Road. The tracks at Island Point Nature Reserve are designed for easy walking at any level.

 

Wildflower species to look out for

Spider orchids, enamel orchids, cowslip orchids, banksias, native buttercups and wisteria. The best time for viewing is late September – October.

 

Harvey River Walk Trail

Where: Corner Forrest Highway and Dorsett Road, Waroona

Distance: 2km return

Duration: 1 hour

 

How to get there

Exit Forrest Highway onto the Dorsett Road turnoff, where you’ll find the John Tognela rest stop. While it looks like a fenced-off area, the gate provides access to the trail.

 

Wildflower species to look out for

Cowslip orchids, spider orchids, wattles and Swan River myrtle. Keep your eyes peeled; you may even spot some fauna!

 

Wildflower season. It’s just another way you can be relaxed by nature in Mandurah. We’ll see you soon!

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Mandurah, I owe you an apology and here’s why.

Mandurah, I am sorry I doubted you. I’m sorry I ever overlooked you. As a Perth city slicker who thinks of day trips to Rottnest or the Swan Valley, heading to your water-wonderland for a relaxing coastal getaway or spontaneous day trip hadn’t sprung to mind. To think you are only an hour away by car or easy train ride, please forgive me for not popping out of my Perth bubble to come out and explore sooner.

Mandurah, I owe you an apology and here’s why.

You need to rethink and revisit Mandurah and here are 5 reasons why

By Julia D’Orazio for So Perth.

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Mandurah, I owe you an apology and here’s why.

Mandurah, I am sorry I doubted you. I’m sorry I ever overlooked you. As a Perth city slicker who thinks of day trips to Rottnest or the Swan Valley, heading to your water-wonderland for a relaxing coastal getaway or spontaneous day trip hadn’t sprung to mind. To think you are only an hour away by car or easy train ride, please forgive me for not popping out of my Perth bubble to come out and explore sooner.

I used to only think of Mandurah as a place to see dolphins galore, cruise countless scenic canals, and get your bib saucy at the much-loved (and crazy) crab fest, but there is so much more to see and do. WA’s second-largest city undergoing rapid change – and boy, is she looking fabulous.

Exciting new foreshore developments are in full swing, Insta-worthy street art erected, and plenty of scenic cosy social spots have emerged. Even locals are now more in tune with the extraordinary sights found in their own backyard, with a slew of adventurous tours and quirky experiences on offer to explore Mandurah’s natural beauty spots.

To give you a better picture of what’s on offer, here I share my top picks on the unusual and unexpected things to do in Mandurah.

Explore Creery Wetland Nature Reserve

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This may as well be Mandurah’s hidden secret – and that’s because it is.

A short drive from the main drag, a step in Creery Wetland Nature Reserve takes you far into the Mandurah wilderness you didn’t know existed.

The natural coop is recognised as a wetland of international importance and is the largest in South Western Australia. A magnet for waterbirds, the reserve is also frequented by 22 species of migratory shorebirds that travel as far as Japan to wet their feathers. So, if you are a bird lover, and want some fun with binoculars, then this is the sweet spot.

To get a better understanding of this biological hotspot, join a Ways To Nature walking tour and be blown away by the unique flora and fauna found on Mandurah’s doorstep. It’s a pleasant and informative way to reconnect with nature with tour guide Sarah leading the wildlife wander over boardwalks and seas of low-lying beaded samphire saltmarshes to give you a different perspective on what constitutes the Australian bush. And with the addition of seeing the silhouettes of the Darling Ranges out on the horizon, you’ll soon realise, with Sarah’s knowledgeable input, how magical Mandurah’s natural assets really are.

Check out what other tours are available with Ways To Nature.

Ride a BBQ donut boat

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Donuts, is there anything they can’t do? In Mandurah, the indulgent shapes are famously known as eco-friendly BBQ boats – and trust me, they are a treat.

No skipper licence is required to voyage these nifty Eco BBQ Boats down the city’s famous canals and waterways. These floating orange doughnuts are perfect for group gatherings (six and ten-seater options available) and each is equipped with a central BBQ and drink holders aplenty. It’s a different way to enjoy Mandurah, cruising down Mandurah’s famous waterways to the wafting smell of a snag on a barbie.

BYO eats and drinks are permitted onboard these self-drive hire boats. But if you are in proper holiday mode, you can call in the chef to create a lavish grazing platter of cured meats, cheeses, artisan crackers, fruits and more.

Make sure to bring the beats to create a sailing soundtrack for your round table crusade along Mandurah’s channels.

Check out what other tour and hire options are available with Eco BBQ Boats.

Jet ski your way to see dolphins at play

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Hopping on board a jet ski may be the most Mandurah way to see dolphins, but I can assure you, it’s also the most fun.

This niche wildlife encounter is an adrenaline-charged adventure, with you at the helm racing your way around the sheltered waters of the Peel Estuary to see friendly flippers. Just hold on tight!

Jet skis are a non-intrusive way to get up close and personal with dolphins, and if lucky, Mandurah’s happiest residents may even follow your jet ski trail slicing through the estuary’s calm waters. It’s all the better when the pelicans get a case of FOMO, flying high over your head, shadowing your journey.

Stag Watersports offers jet ski hire and guided tours to suss out the spots you will most likely find dolphins fooling about. Tours are suited to all levels of experience, and whether you’re a beginner or a pro, you’ll have an epic time.

Check out what other tour and hire options are available with Stag Watersports.

Bike n’ boat your way around Mandurah

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Remember the Old El Paso taco girl solving all life’s problems with “Porque no los dos?”

Follow her lead and mix up your Mandurah sojourn with a little bit of column A and a little bit of column B with Mandurah Boat and Hire. The locally-run business has various transport modes – boats, bikes and SUPs – to let you explore Mandurah’s gorgeous waterways.

Make sure to tell your mates to come along as there is a wide range of self-drive boats to hire from dinghies, suntrackers, runabouts and pontoons in all sizes. If the occasion calls for it, private luxury pontoon charters – complete with ultra-plush seating – are also available and includes a skipper so everyone can sit back and relax.

Back on land, hop on two wheels to see a different side of Mandurah because there is a lot. Peddle past Mandurah’s iconic fig tree, be inspired with the colourful Mandurah Art Trails that are Instagram worthy, enjoy a slow ride past picturesque Venetian canals, and see the skaters flip their boards at the new world-class skatepark.

You’ll soon discover it may be a stop/start affair with many gorgeous sights worth putting on the brakes.

Check out what hire options are available with Mandurah Boat and Hire.

See where the wild things are

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When the sun goes down, the stars come out, and so do Mandurah’s endearing residents.

Put your head torch on and let husband and wife duo, naturalists Base and Jamie, lead the way through a set of roaming locations such as nature reserves and lakes to spot Mandurah’s unique nocturnal wildlife and star gazing sights.

This newly minted original tour showcases a side of Mandurah not many get to see – or even knew about – and it is so fascinating to become more aware of the city’s natural nightlife.

The expert tour guides will help you observe the tree-top antics of critically endangered western ringtail possums, brushtail possums, and other wildlife skilfully hiding in the forest. You may even spot Mandurah’s mascot to rival Rotto’s quokkas, the quendas, best described as WA’s very own little bandicoots running along the forest floor. The nocturnal tour experience is dialled up a notch using night-time binoculars if your night vision fails you.

The tour encourages you to be mindful of the little things, and you may never look at nature the same way again soon after. From observing the amount of life to be found on a small patch of a big tree, spotting glow in the dark fungi, and watching spiders hastily unravelling their webs, this side of Mandurah almost starts to feel as if caught up in a David Attenborough documentary.

The naturalists also offer other eco-tours showcasing Mandurah’s natural assets sustainably and responsibly, from kayaking, bushwalking and stargazing tours around Island Point Reserve, Lake Clifton Thrombolites and beyond.

Check out what other tour options are available with Salt and Bush Tours

Whatever you decide to fill up your days with, rest assured, being surrounded by Mandurah’s pristine nature, you will feel zen. And as for me, I am now unapologetically a Mandurah fan.

There are, of course, many more ways to enjoy Mandurah’s great outdoors, and you can find out more here.

Originally published as ‘5 Reasons Why You Need To Rethink & Revisit Mandurah‘ by So Perth.

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Chasing dolphins and rainbows on a whimsical winter’s day on the water

It might seem strange to hit the water in winter, but if you want to get off the beaten track and experience the purest and simplest encounters with nature, you’ll soon realise there’s no better time.

Exploring Mandurah’s waterways on the Murray River Lunch Cruise

Chasing dolphins and rainbows on a whimsical winter’s day on the water.

By freelance writer, wanderer & mum Magda Bartucciotto.

It might seem strange to hit the water in winter, but if you want to get off the beaten track and experience the purest and simplest encounters with nature, you’ll soon realise there’s no better time.

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If you haven’t discovered some of the hidden gems in your own backyard since the pandemic hit, then Mandurah’s spectacular waterways, which is twice the size of Sydney Harbour is the perfect place to start.

Mandurah’s picturesque waterways are a feast for the eyes all year around, but it takes on an extra special charm during the winter season. Sure, there’s a bit of a nip in the air, but it’s nothing a warm puffer jacket, scarf and beanie can’t fix.

It’s the time of year when the natural beauty, birdlife, wildlife and aquatic nature really come to life. And the experiences you’ll have with Mandurah Cruises are bountiful. They’ll show you a different side to Mandurah, exploring remote areas only accessible by boat that’ll genuinely make you feel like you’re a million miles away.

So, I put my kids’ sea legs to the test, and the fab four set out on a relaxing half-day Murray River lunch cruise.

Because in Mandurah, we’re relaxed by nature.

9.45am – Check In

Without having to endure any groans of ‘Are we there yet’, we arrived in Mandurah within an hour’s drive from Perth. We headed to the Mandurah Boardwalk jetty on the marina, where we checked in with the cheerful and insightful crew (you’ll learn a LOT from these guys). The waters along Mandurah’s wetlands and estuaries are calm, so it was a great introduction for my kids who have never set foot on a boat before.

10am – Departure

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We promptly set sail from Mandjar Bay along the dolphin highway as it’s known, taking in some of the scenic spots such as the iconic Morton Bay fig tree from an awesome vantage point on the top deck of the vessel.

Along the way, we passed the striking Mandurah War Memorial. The large white pillars here commemorate the loss of life, the wounded and those that returned – and their ultimate quest for peace. The east/ west orientation of the works is designed to capture the axis of the sun on ANZAC Day. At dawn, the rising sun lights up the columns and create a temporary guiding light to the highest peak of the memorial.

As you head further out into the wetlands, the spectacular scenery offers many unique photo opportunities. You should always be on cue, as you never know what you might see – such as an osprey deep-diving into the water to catch a feed.

Soldier’s Cove is a common resting point for a myriad of birdlife. The local pelicans, known as the ‘boys of the estuary’ love to hang out here.

Quick fact: Did you know pelicans can hold up to 13 litres of water in their bills?

The Peel Inlet is renowned for attracting up to 100,000 migratory waterbirds, and as you cruise past the expansive Creery Wetlands you can understand why they choose this area as their nesting place. Some of these birds travel from as far as Siberia and Alaska every year. That’s around 25,000km!

11.30am – A step back in time at Cooper’s Mill

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Not far from the mouth of the Murray River we make a pit stop to check out the historical Cooper’s Mill, tucked away on the far western end of Cooleenup Island, which is only accessible by boat. Joseph Copper, a wheelwright and blacksmith began building it in 1846, but he died before completing it, leaving his sons to finish the job.

By 1850 the flour mill was up and running. It was originally powered by the wind before it was converted to steam power. The mill was very important to wheat farmers who would otherwise have to mill by hand.

While its location to us may seem odd, back in the day it made sense as it was easier to transport grain by boat. The mill has since been restored but still maintains its original charm.

12pm – Lunchtime

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With tummies grumbling it was time for lunch, which included a delicious spread large enough to keep you coming back for more. As you meander along the Murray River and back through the dolphin highway, you’ll no doubt come across some houseboats.

Renting out a houseboat is great if you want to explore the waterways at your own pace. These boats can sleep anywhere from 4 to 10 people at a time and come equipped with everything you need for a relaxing stay on the water.

Unforgettable encounters await

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One of the perks of cruising during winter is the chance to catch unobstructed views of a rainbow. Or in our case a double rainbow! With no buildings, houses or trees in your way, you can take full advantage of this picture-perfect moment.

 Mandurah’s waterways are home to a large population of bottlenose dolphins, which follow a feeding path along the shores on a daily basis, making encounters realistic and likely. During our cruise through the canals, we spotted a number of dolphins frolicking in the water, including a friendly pair surfing alongside our vessel.

Quick fact: Did you know dolphins can swim at a speed of up to 40km per hour when surfing?

Not only did we spot dolphins, but we were also treated to a seal sighting up close. The aquatic mammal was too busy to notice us though. It had just pounced on its prey of epic proportions – an eagle ray, which was an entertaining sight to see.

2.30 pm: At journey’s end

After enjoying some sweet treats on board, it was back to shore with our feet firmly on dry land. The kids had a blast. Us parents could relax and unwind. It was happy days for all! Next stop – sunset cruising!

If you’re looking for a unique way to connect with nature this winter, make Mandurah your pit stop for a quick day trip, casual weekender or laidback extended stay.

Holiday Here This Year

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Visitor Guide!

2021 Mandurah and the Peel Region Visitor Guide

The ultimate aquatic and nature playground. Start planning your Mandurah adventure today!

Enjoy an active weekend away – Visit Mandurah

Destination WA – Discovering the new Mandurah

Find more inspiration

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