How the Locals like it – Myrianthe Riddy

I arrived in WA in 2016 with my young family in search of a sea change. I was instantly drawn to Mandurah because of its laid back vibes and beautiful waterways.

How the locals like it

Myrianthe Riddy,
Owner Mandurah Cruises

Less than an hour’s drive from Perth you’ll find Western Australia’s largest regional city. But it’s not the size that attracts visitors to this coastal town. Just ask Myrianthe Riddy, owner of Mandurah Cruises. She’s travelled and worked all over the world, but the place she chose to call home is Mandurah.

Myrianthe Riddy Visit Mandurah Board

I arrived in WA in 2016 with my young family from Qatar in search of a sea change. I was instantly drawn to Mandurah because of its laid back vibes, warmth and the natural beauty of its waterways.

My husband and I were looking for somewhere we could raise our children. After working many years in the oil and gas industry overseas, we wanted to shake up our lifestyle and have more flexibility to spend time with our kids.

We knew we wanted to run our own business. My husband had boating in his blood, and we love being on the water. An opportunity to purchase Mandurah Cruises was too good to pass up and we’ve been here ever since.

What I love about Mandurah is the sense of community and connectedness – regardless if you’re a resident or just visiting. Everyone here is so friendly and makes you feel welcomed, it’s just so easy and relaxing.

Mandurah’s waterways are twice the size of Sydney Harbour! It’s hard to explain the feeling when you’re out there, the waters are calm, it’s very peaceful and deserted (except for the dolphins). You get the sense you’ve been transported to another place.

I always feel safe taking my kids out on the water here. Living within walking distance of the beach is great too, and Mandurah has some great surfing spots that don’t get too crowded. It’s the best place to learn how to surf – the surf program here is first class.

Mandurah is home to around 100 bottlenose dolphins. They’re such a playful and friendly bunch that you’ll often spot them getting up to mischief while on one of our dolphin cruises. They especially love to surf alongside the vessel! I have a soft spot for Nicky. She’s the matriarch of the dolphins and the most recognisable due to her cut-off fin.

Although I love being on the water and the amazing beaches that stretch for miles, I do enjoy taking time out going bush, exploring the national parks and discovering the many walking trails. My favourite trail is at Island Point Reserve. It’s at the far end of the estuary and it’s a great area to explore – even after dark on a guided nocturnal walk.

If you had to pick a time to visit, come during the festive season. The city embraces Christmas like you wouldn’t believe. The Mandurah canals, or modern day Venice as the locals call it, come alive with Christmas lights. It’s an experience unlike any other, and I would go as far to say we’re one of the only places in the world where residents put on such a massive display on the water. We have thousands of visitors who come especially to see the spectacle every year on our Christmas Lights Cruise.

Mandurah has come a long way from being known as WA’s crabbing destination. The city is thriving with arts and culture, plenty of things to see and do and incredible natural encounters that are waiting to be explored.

MYRIANTHE’S TIPS ON WHERE TO HEAD OUT

The foodie scene here is constantly evolving and it’s hard to keep up! My go-to place for a coffee is Mataya. Without fail, I always order the gnocchi at Flic’s Kitchen and if I’m heading out with friends, you’re sure to find me at Bar Therapy. I also love the new distillery Little Stiller.

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How the Locals like it – Ian MacPherson

There’s nothing more relaxing than getting out on the ocean and in Mandurah being relaxed by nature is what it’s all about.

How the locals like it

Ian ‘Wooly’ MacPherson,
Owner Star Surf + Skate

There’s nothing more relaxing than getting out on the ocean and in Mandurah being relaxed by nature is what it’s all about.

Ian Wooly MacPherson
Photo: Dylan O'Brien

Local surfer Ian ‘Wooly’ Macpherson wouldn’t have it any other way. He’s been surfing in Mandurah since he was a little tacker.

If he’s not chasing the best break, he’s teaching others how to surf, coaching aspiring pro surfers and sharing tips on land at his surf shop – Star Surf + Skate.

Sure, the South West is known for its surf, but Mandurah has loads of popular surfing spots to rival, making it a perfect day trip for Perth surfers.

And the best time to hit the surf is now!

Wooly says ideal surf conditions occur between autumn and spring, with winter the best time due to large storms bringing swells to the WA coast.

We checked in with the local surfing legend to discover more about the Mandurah surfing scene and why we should all pick up a board and learn to surf.

I started surfing when I was around 9 or 10 years old at Avalon Bay. My parents’ property was a small stroll from Avalon and my mum was a swimmer, so we spent a lot of time at the beach during the 70s and 80s.

I started off on a ‘foamie’ – a small coolite surfboard made of polystyrene beaded-foam. I remember painting it with house paint so I wouldn’t get a rash. I soon progressed to a second-hand fibreglass ‘single fin’ board and found myself learning at the little rolling lefts of Falcon Bay.

Ian MacPherson

When I was 12 years old, I joined the Mandurah Board Riders Club and I’ve been a member pretty much ever since.

Surfing has made up a massive part of my life and has moulded me into the person I am today.

All the places I have travelled evolve around the surf and most of my work has been in and around the surf industry since I was a teen. The feeling of being submerged in the ocean, riding waves is unmatched anywhere in any other sport.

Mandurah has been good to me growing up and having the beach on my doorstep. The local community has been very supportive of my surf school and surf shop since we started.

Surfing is all about fun. Surfing increases your fitness, strength, balance and flexibility (we stretch before every class). Spending time in and around the ocean positively impacts your health and the more you do it, the more your confidence in the ocean increases.

Ready to hit the surf? Give it a go in Mandurah!

WOOLY’S FAVOURITE SURFING SPOT IN MANDURAH

My favourite spot is Geary’s – named after a City Beach surfer, Ray Geary. He built a shack there and at 80 years of age he still lives there today!

Geary’s a wave that doesn’t break very often and needs a big swell to start to work properly. It gets very crowded with keen surfers these days, but I have very fond memories of days out there as a teenager surfing with just a few mates.

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How the Locals like it – Maitland Hill

As an Aboriginal man, there comes a time when all the stories you’ve been told, and your connection to country and culture in your blood, just falls into place.

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

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

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

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

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

As soon as I arrived in Mandurah, I knew the pirate ship concept could work well here. From day one the reaction to the ship has been amazing.

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

My wife and I have lived in many parts of WA but we’re so glad to have settled in Mandurah. The locals are so welcoming and we always have our dog Pippa with us.

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

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.

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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How the Locals like it – Felicity Evans

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.

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.

Copy of Untitled 4

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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How the Locals like it -George Walley

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

George Walley,
Mandjoogoordap Dreaming

Bindjareb Noongar people have lived in this area for thousands of years. The footprint of cultural knowledge allows visitors to experience a number of tours and learn something amazing through my cultural knowledge.

Copy of Credit Michael Bond 105386 56

Our ancestors gave us the name, Mandjoogoordap and its meaning is “meeting place of the heart”. 

It is respectful to the land, spirituality and the people. This place is our heartland or kaaleepga and our names are more than names, they are concepts that have names within names which gives a true meaning of the human relationship with land and Spirit. 

For me, the thrombolites in the Yalgorup National Park are the most significant visitor attraction and they attract global interest. Thrombolites are the oldest known living bacterial life form, surviving after millions of years of existence. This rare and endangered natural feature is also very spiritual, playing a big part in our creation story. They act as a very visual link to the Aboriginal heritage of the region and when the wind blows, it is a very spiritual experience.

The waterways are Mandurah’s best asset. The co-existence of the waterways as a popular resource, and our most important Spiritual asset, reassures me that there will always be an opportunity to show visitors something special in many places around the area. I find that people who go on our tours are very respectful. I see a range of reactions and changed opinions. 

When people become aware of the amazing local Aboriginal culture, they often become emotional as their eyes open to something they didn’t know. Mandurah has become a more attractive place to visit in recent times. It has so much to offer and it’s great to see many tourism businesses making the most of the natural assets such as the waterways.

GEORGE’S TIP FOR A RE-CHARGE GETAWAY

Nanga Mill campsite in Dwellingup. It’s a place we can chill out and get back to nature. The land and the forest give you good energy.

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