Mandurah has many protected waterways, national parks, and nature reserves that are home to various species of marine animals, birds, and wildlife. Shannon Lawson from the Mandurah Mail spoke with local tour operator Salt & Bush Eco Tours about their Mandurah Eco-educational non-for-profit.
Salt and Bush Eco Tours owner Jamie van Jones and her partner, Sebastian have a passion for the environment which is evident in everything they do.
Not satisfied with simply running an ecotourism business, they have now decided to share their knowledge and love of nature with the wider community by starting a not-for-profit.
“We thought we needed to do something more than just our business,” Jamie said. “We started Swanlandia Inc., which is all about ecology education. It’s inspiring the next generation of environmental stewards.”
The name comes from Swanland which was an early name suggested for Western Australia, and the term Landia which has the urban definition of ‘A fictional relationship to a non-fictional place’.
“Our mission is to connect people to the natural world through fun and educational experiences,” Jamie elaborated. “We believe that if you experience nature in a way that opens your eyes, then as you learn more about it, you fall in love with it and will want to conserve and protect what you love.”
Jamie and Sebastian say running Salt and Bush Eco Tours and working as naturalist guides for the last seven years around the world, they have seen first hand the positive impact experiences in nature can have on people. They wanted to make that accessible to youth.
Salt and Bush Eco Tours and Swanlandia Inc. are run as a hybrid-eco-enterprise.
“Both our business and not-for-profit have the same aim of sharing about the natural world in fun and educational ways,” Jamie said. “We just have different methods of achieving it. We are going to have 10 percent of Salt and Bush Eco Tour’s profits go towards funding programs for Swanlandia Inc. programs.
“We are also applying for grants locally, to help grow our not-for-profit dream into fruition.”
The couple are currently awaiting the outcome of a grant application through the City of Mandurah which they will find out about in early May.
“Even if we’re not successful we’ll keep trying to find another way to go head, even if it’s smaller to begin with and we work our way up to what we want to eventually do,” Jamie said.
The first step will be to start a group called the Cygnets which will be for six to eight-year-olds. There will be fortnightly meetings with hands on learning such as finding out how many frogs there are in a local wetland by identifying their calls, then learning about their role in echo system. Similar to scouts, children will put their learned skills to the test in their own neighbourhoods to earn badges and progress through the program.
“We’ll cover all kinds of things, from birds to fungi and mammals,” Jamie explained. “We hope to grow as an organisation to offer programs to all ages. We believe citizen science is a great way to engage in nature and contribute to science. Bird surveys, biodiversity counts, or programs like the Western Ringtail Possum tally, which is on over the next month, are programs we will help people to connect to locally.”
Jamie and Sebastian have travelled to some of the most amazing natural habitats on the planet, such as Antarctica, the Arctic, Borneo and Papua New Guinea, but they say living in Mandurah still makes them feel blessed.
“We can see how lucky we are to live in Mandurah and be surrounded by the diversity of the wetlands, the coastline and the bush. It truly is a world-class place to live,” Jamie said.
Relaxed by Nature
Discover a diverse range of nature experiences in the Mandurah region
From the bushland to the waterways, the Mandurah Estuary and Peel Inlet is twice the size of Sydney Harbour and home to a unique abundance of wildlife, birds and marine animals that’s worth exploring.
Jump onboard a custom guided private nature tour with Salt and Bush Eco-Tours and you’ll be amazed by this biodiversity hotspot right on your doorstep. There’s plenty to delve into when you wander and discover the incredible surroundings on a bushwalking trail, paddle or sail on a kayaking adventure with a difference, go bird-watching or simply settle in for a peaceful evening of stargazing.
Discover plenty of great walking and hiking trails just waiting to be explored.
Hiking & Walking Trails
great walking and
hiking trails waiting
to be explored
Do you also know this feeling when you need to get away from it all, when it’s time to get out of that box that is the office, and the home, and the car, and take a walk or a hike? Well, we’ve got plenty of great walking and hiking trails here in Mandurah and the Peel Region, just waiting for you to be explored.
Mandurah and Peel Region’s Top Walking Trails
It might not be the quickest way to get around, but in the famous words of a Mr Ferris Bueller: life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
So slow down as you walk one of these idyllic tracks – while smelling those roses, as ordered, you’ll also find yourself coming across gorges, dense forests, wetlands and suspended bridges to hike up the excitement on these trails.
Please note to check https://parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au/ for updates on track conditions for those in national state parks before you put your sneakers on.
1. Kitty’s Gorge Walk.
Location: Jarrahdale. Distance: 14km return
As the name suggests, this walk takes you across the rocky terrain of Kitty’s Gorge, following the Serpentine River to eventually bring you to the falls.
The story goes that Kitty was actually a cow who wandered away and was found months later down the gorge. Don’t be like Kitty. Prepare yourself for a five-hour walk of moderate difficulty, with some uneven ground and steep stretches of track.
From here, you can also access Baldwin’s Bluff, which is about 6km all up and offers extended views from the bluff.
A short, easy nature track looping around the wetlands, this trail offers bird watching spots and is connected to a reserve that’s perfect for a picnic.
From the carpark at the end of Glendart Ct, the short trail will take you to a bird hide just 2km away.
The trail is partly comprised of a boardwalk over the glistening wetlands.
For the more enthusiastic hiker, a longer walk along the Erskine Walk Trail of approximately 6km and a two-hour return is also available.
A fun track that crosses the Pinjarra suspension bridge, this walk takes you not just over the Murray River and its surrounding bushland but also through the historic town itself – making it a good choice for those not as keen for full-on bushwalking.
Experience the landscape whilst pedalling your trusted two-wheeler the best cycling trails.
Mountain Biking & Cycling
forest tracks and
Exploring those winding forest tracks or traipsing across suspension bridges really can only be done on foot, but you just can’t see the same breadth of landscape than when pedalling your trusted two-wheeler across Mandurah and the Peel region’s best cycling trails.
Get out there and away from it all by bicycle or mountain bike to explore and find all sorts of adventures. As mountain biking can be dangerous it is advised that you download the Emergency+ App before your next ride.
There are many cycling trails to choose from that vary in difficulty, but are sure to guide you through the most scenic places.
1. Murray Valley Trails
New to the Peel region is the Murray Valley Trails, 3 purpose-built downhill mountain bike trails are open and ready for action.
These are the first of over 25km planned trails for the Murray Valley network – a real coup for the region and caters for beginner, intermediate and advanced riders.
While the longest trail is 2.3km and for beginner riders – the moderate trail Boom Boom at 1.4km and advance trail Bam Bam at 1.3km definitely pack a punch that will challenge the most confident of riders.
2. Bridges Ride
Location: Mandurah. Distance: 4.5km.
One of the best ways to soak in all Mandurah has to offer, this 4.5km ride takes you around foreshore and canals, before taking you out to nearby Samphire wetlands.
On your 90 minute ride you will also come across Sutton Farm on Old Coast Road, a heritage listed site dating back to the 1860s.
3. Turner Hill Trail
Location: Turner Hill. Distance: 11km
Located between Pinjarra and Dwellingup, this track is strictly for off-road bikes.
The trail is marked as moderately difficult and will take one to three hours to complete.
However, there’s also a 5km short cut, and a much easier 1.1km loop for the kids (or the less confident biker).
4. Bridge Loop Ride
Location: Mandurah. Distance: 10km
You get to see the beauty of Mandjar Bay from both sides with 10km ride. Start at the Mandurah Visitor Centre and use our trail notes to discover the rich history of Mandurah along the way.
Stop at Samphire Cove, Sutton’s Homestead, Hall’s Cottage and the 3d art installation when you return to the visitor centre.
Allow approximately an hour of riding time for this picturesque bicycle trail and more to stop and admire the views along the way.
See highlights of Mandurah including the popular Mandurah Ocean Marina, and stop for a selfie at The Frame or at the Blue Gatehouse with a 3d art Pelican. There’s even a giant Rock Lobster to say g’day to, look out for it on your peddle into the marina.
This 12km stretch along the Mandurah Coastline is perfect for biker and walker alike.
Starting from Doddies Beach, there are boardwalk sections of this track and frequent benches for you to take that much-needed rest as you look out for dolphins in the stretching sea beyond.
8. Mandurah Sea Explorer
Location: Turner Hill. Distance: 11km
Location: Coastal Mandurah. Distance: 26km
Part of the Mandurah Bike Explorer trails, start this bicycle route at the Mandurah Visitor Centre and head for the coast – an easy bike ride from Mandjar Bay.
Take in Doddis Beach and head south towards Falcon Bay and if the weather is right and the sun is shining, stop for a dip along the way too. Download the Mandurah Sea Explorer map and pick a day to spend by Mandurah’s coastline.
9. Marrinup Cycle Trail
Location: Marrinup. Distance: 8km
North West of Dwellingup lies the Marrinup State Forest which is near the old Marrinup townsite and what remains of a prisoner of war camp.
Whether it’s the history, the beautiful flora and fauna, or the established biking trails you’re there for, this is an incredible spot in the Peel region to visit.
The Marrinup cycle trail is a purpose-built 8km track, starting and finishing at the old Marrinup campsite, with a slight detour taking you to the POW camp.
You can camp right on the riverbank in the heart of Pinjarra or Boddington, on the foothills of the Darling Ranges in Serpentine, amongst towering trees in Dwellingup or lakeside at Herron Point near Pinjarra and Lake Navarino in Waroona.
Camping in a national park or reserve is a great way to connect with nature. The campgrounds in the region, which are either on a first-come, first-served bases or booked in advance via https://parkstaybookings.dbca.wa.gov.au include:
Lane Poole Reserve
Instant relaxation is guaranteed at Lane Poole Reserve. You’ll just love this national park with nine different campgrounds within the reserve providing a range of facilities. Fees apply and a park pass is required to enter the national park. Except for Nanga Mill and Nanga Townsite, booking in advance is required.
Marrinup Townsite near Dwellingup is suitable for tents, has toilet facilities and is pet friendly. Camping fees apply and booking in advance is not possible.
Martins Tank Campground
Unwind and connect with nature at this beautiful campground near Preston Beach, right on the banks of Martins Tank Lake. The campsites at Martins Tank Campground are suitable for tents, campervans, camper trailers and caravans. Fees apply and you must book in advance.
Pinjarra, Waroona Oval (May to Oct only), Preston Beach and Drakesbrook Weir
Free Dump Points are available in: Mandurah, Pinjarra, Waroona and Boddington.
Experience Mandurah’s diverse range of nature experiences.
Natural Attractions & Tours
Discover a diverse range of nature experiences in the Mandurah region
The Mandurah region boasts a wealth of protected waterways, national parks, nature reserves and nature parks. See our top choices of what to explore on your next visit!
SALT AND BUSH ECO TOURS
Salt and Bush Eco Tours speciality bird, wildlife and nature trips can be land or water-based (from foot peddled kayaks) along the Ramsar protected wetlands of the Peel Harvey Estuary and Yalgorup Lakes – a truly unique way to be relaxed by nature.
August marks the approximate start of the Djilba the Noongar season, where the bush bursts into yellows and whites with many acacia species in flower. We also start to see the emergence of more variety of native orchids which is a highlight on our wildflower tours.
Find the best wildflower locations in the Peel Region on a guided private wildflower tour. Locate a diversity of beautiful flora and learn about how they thrive. Professional Naturalist guides will take you on a wonderful wildflower sojourn. To view wild flower tour options click here.
Stretching from south of Mandurah to Preston Beach, the park is known for its ten elongated lakes, beautiful tuart and peppermint woodlands and the ancient thrombolite reef at Lake Clifton. The park provides visitors panoramic views of the beaches, dunes and lakes, walking trails and picnic spots. It is home to a variety of native animals, birds and wildflowers that are prolific in season.
The 29-hectare nature reserve has a series of connected boardwalks and pathways with informative signage and bird-watching areas. Whether you are interested in birds, wildlife or just enjoy a stroll by the estuary, the area is a fascinating and enjoyable environment to explore.
Best known for the waterfall that cascades over a sheer granite rock face, the park abounds with scenic beauty and is a sanctuary for an array of plants and animals. It is a great place for bushwalks or a picnic by the falls.
The Murray River meandering through towering jarrah forest and valleys make this reserve, just outside of Dwellingup, an enchanting place to visit. Covering more than 55,000 hectares, the park offers plenty of space and options for a range of outdoor activities. Stay overnight at one of the many campsites or pack a picnic and enjoy a day trip exploring this stunning location.
Situated on the shores of Harvey Estuary, the reserve provides a lovely sheltered beach for swimming or bird watching and bush trails to wander. Salt and Bush Eco Tours offer a 2-hour walk around the area, where you can be guided for 3.5km and discover and share natures’ stories that exist in this amazing global biodiversity hotspot.
The Mandurah region is the perfect destination to immerse yourself in nature.
Animal & Wildlife Encounters
The perfect destination
to easily spot native
wildlife as you explore
by water or land
The fresh air, blue skies, pristine forests and stunning waterways of the Mandurah region make it the perfect destination to immerse yourself in nature. Wonder at the world-class natural beauty and easily spot native wildlife as you explore by water or land.
Here are our insider tips of where to spot wild dolphins, kangaroos, emus and waterbirds:
Dolphins – regularly visit the calm waters in the centre of Mandurah and are a joy to watch while dining alfresco by the waterfront or just strolling along the foreshore. Some residents say that you are almost 100% guaranteed to see a dolphin at the Dawesville Cut as they have never once walked their dogs here without seeing a dolphin.
Kangaroos – graze on Melros Beach Reserve and Florida Beach Reserve in the late afternoon. You can also spot them close-up near the picnic area at Serpentine Falls National Park.
Emus – can often be spotted walking along the lake shores at Lake Clifton at Yalgorup National Park.
Black Swans – mass between October and March at Lake Pollard at Yalgorup National Park.
Red-tailed black cockatoos – are native to south western Australia and can be seen high up in the trees from the Emu Walk Trail that leads from Dwellingup town centre to the Forest Discovery Centre.
Visit our Wildlife Parks & Tours
Salt & Bush Eco Tours – Wildlife Nocturnal
Discover what happens in the Bush after the sun goes down. Salt & Bush Eco Tours have amazing insight into the local nocturnal wildlife. Take a walk with your head torches on and seek out the nocturnal animals that are waking up. Discover more about Western Australia’s amazing wildlife on a guided Nocturnal walk. For more information and other tours visit Salt & Bush Eco Tours.
Ways to nature
Come and explore the extraordinary wetlands and wildlife of the Peel-Harvey estuary in South West WA with Ways To Nature! Whether you’re a local looking to connect with nature in your city or a visitor wanting to discover the Peel region’s natural heritage – let Ways To Nature be your guide.
Ranger Red’s Zoo
Ranger Red’s Zoo is a privately funded, hands-on zoo and wildlife sanctuary, in a lush setting on the banks of the Murray River in Pinjarra. Visiting Ranger Red’s Zoo is a bit like visiting one of your own family, who just happens to have hundreds of pets. Get close to and learn about over 100 species of birds and animals that will capture your imagination, including: koalas, wombats, dingoes, exotic birds, snakes, reptiles, bengal cats, quolls, possums and owls! The walk-through aviary and Tasmanian Devils are star attractions.
The Tasmanian Devil breeding programme is of vital importance. This species is endangered in the wild because of an incurable facial tumour disease and Ranger Red Zoo’s breeding program contributes to the Tasmanian Devil’s long-term future.
Kids can also experience working at the zoo with the ‘Zookeeper 4 a Day’ program.
Cohunu Koala Park
Located in Byford, Cohunu Koala Park has a colony of up to 15 koalas which you can pay to hold. You can also hand feed the native wildlife that roams free in the park.
Caraholly Orchard – At this beautiful farmers market every Sunday you can hand feed the cows with apples from the orchard.
Midway Farmstall – Just off Forrest Highway, near Pinjarra Road, this is the perfect place to stop for delicious coffee and a bite to eat while the kids play with the farm animals.
Ferndale Springs Farm – Gain insights into a real working farm in Coolup. Mustering sheep, feeding cattle and eating damper and kangaroo are just some of the things you will experience here.
Bird life is abundant in Mandurah and the Peel Region which make it a perfect location for bird watchers and nature lovers.
Mandurah and the
Peel Region are the
perfect locations for
Situated at the northern end of the Peel Inlet, Mandurah is the key point in a chain of lakes and estuaries from Perth to Bunbury. These expanses of open water are a habitat for up to 100,000 waterbirds.
Localities such as the Creery Wetlands are recognised under International Agreements as key habitats for migratory waders. To the West is the Darling Range with its diverse Jarrah forest flora and habitat for native birds.
Bird life is abundant in Mandurah and the Peel Region which make it a perfect location for bird watchers and nature lovers. The bird life around the Estuary is just as impressive. Over 100 different species of native and migratory birds nest, breed and feed on the estuary.
The Peel-Harvey Estuary is classified as a Wetland of International Importance in 1990 by the Ramsar Convention.
Some of the best places to observe water birds are between the two Mandurah bridges on the shores, amongst the marshes and on the islands of the Peel Inlet. Here you will see waterbirds feeding, Darter, cormorants, yellow-billed Spoonbill amongst others.
Find our insider tips below for some of the best birdwatching spots in Mandurah:
Between the two Mandurah bridges the shores, marshes and islands of Peel Inlet provide excellent opportunities to observe waterbirds feeding. Get your binoculars and watch out for Darter, Cormorants, Yellow-billed Spoonbill (occasionally Royal Spoonbill) and Blackwinged.
Mandurah Harbour & Dolphin Pool
These are good areas to observe Caspian, Crested and Fairy Tern. In summer among the waders are Bar-tailed Godwit, Eastern Curlew, Ruddy Turnstone, Australian Pied Oystercatcher and Grey Plover.
Travel to Dolphin Drive, Mandurah
Len Howard Conservation Park
The park contains 60 hectares of bush on the north western shore of Peel Inlet and features a nature trail (Erskine nature trail) with boardwalks over wetlands.
Birds you may see on your walk include:
Waterbirds you may see on your walk:
Little Pied Cormorant
Pied Oyster Catcher
Travel to Len Howard Drive, Mandurah
Coodanup and Creery Wetlands
One of the Peel Yalgorup Wetlands System’s must-see spots is the Creery Wetlands, made up of a 29-hectare nature reserve that’s connected with a series of boardwalks and pathways enabling you to enjoy this unique ecosystem where over 130 different species of native and migratory birds have been spotted. Pelicans, the rare red tail black cockatoo, black swans and osprey breed and nest here.
From the shore you can see Boundary Island, a nesting place for Fairy Tern. The bay inshore of Creery Island supports large numbers of Bar-tailed Godwit, Eastern Curlew, Great Knot, Banded Stilt and Pacific Australian White Ibis and Yellow-billed Spoonbill who come here to feed from nearby breeding colonies.
Samphire Cove is part of the 29 hectare Creery Wetlands and is on the edge of the Peel Inlet. There are walking trails, information shelters and viewing huts and platforms for enthusiastic birdwatchers. The saltmarsh and shallow waters are an important roosting and feeding area for waterbirds and shorebirds which migrate to the Mandurah area every year from Northern Asia and Alaska.
The best way to discover (or rediscover) what makes these stunning wetlands and the remarkable wildlife so special is on a guided walking tour with Ways to Nature.
Salt and Bush Eco Tours speciality bird trips can be land or water-based (from foot peddled kayaks) along the Ramsar protected wetlands of the Peel Harvey Estuary and Yalgorup Lakes – a truly unique way to birdwatch.
Travel one kilometre east towards Pinjarra. Turn south along Wanjeep Street to Peel Inlet (Coodanup).
Lake Goegrup & Black Lake
These lakes are important waterbird feeding and breeding areas. You’ll find red-necked Avocet there throughout the year. Black Lake is a winter habitat for large flocks of Musk Duck.
Follow Gordon Road to Lakes, Patterson and Dunkerton Roads.
A visit to Mandurah wouldn’t be complete without the sighting of at least 1 dolphin.
A visit to Mandurah
wouldn’t be complete
without the sighting
of at least 1 dolphin.
The Mandurah dolphins that inhabit the Peel-Harvey Estuary and adjacent coastal waters are Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins. They are highly social creatures that can often be found traveling in groups of 5 – 15 dolphins or even higher.
The Mandurah dolphins that inhabit the Peel-Harvey Estuary and adjacent coastal waters are Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins. They are highly social creatures that can often be found traveling in groups of 5 – 15 dolphins or even higher. Females have large networks of female friends, whilst males form such strong bonds with one another that “alliances” can last a lifetime. Juveniles spend several years with their family learning everything from social etiquette to vital hunting skills. Mandurah’s inland waterways offer protection for birthing and an abundance of fish for feeding, making this area an ideal playground for dolphins.
Best way to watch dolphins
Whilst you can see dolphins in Mandurah all year round, the best time for dolphin watching is between September and May.
A dolphin cruise is a great way to see these friendly creatures and enjoy a scenic tour. The friendly, playful dolphins often surf on the wake of the boat, sometimes stopping to take a good look at the people on board!
You can hire a waterbike from Mandjar Bay and pedal your way through the waterways on your quest to spot a dolphin.
Or hire a boat, kayak or canoe and seek them out for yourself. It’s truly magical when they suddenly pop up right next to you to join you on your very own water adventure.
Best locations for dolphins spotting in Mandurah
You can spot Mandurah’s dolphins playing in the estuary, boat harbour, Serpentine and Murray River and in the Indian Ocean.
Whether you are on or by the water, it will be hard to miss our friendly locals. The Dawesville Cut, Mandjar Bay, Mandurah Estuary and Mandurah Ocean Marina are considered particularly good spots to see dolphins.