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.
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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