Everything in the Mandurah and Peel region is within an hour of Perth CBD, lending itself to a richly rewarding day out or short break.
Peel region wineries are becoming recognised as some of the best in Australia, food in Mandurah has a local seafood flavour, and there’s an enormous range adventure activities and walk trails in the Peel region.
This guide helps you to make the most of your visit, with some of Mandurah’s best cafes and restaurants, and ideas for Mandurah and Peel region accommodation if you want to stay for longer than a day.
Making the Most of Mandurah
From Perth, you can either drive to Mandurah or take the train. Either way, it will take you just under an hour from Perth CBD. Self-driving is a great option if you want to stop off at Yalogorup National Park for a breath of fresh air and a glimpse of the extraordinary thrombolites, and perhaps to visit some of the Peel region wineries.
Food in Mandurah focuses on sea food, including the popular Crab Fest in March, so it’s worth researching the best Mandurah restaurants if food is your thing. Here, you’ll also find some fascinating indigenous history and public art. With a range of tours, attractions and eateries, you can easily fill a day.
Consider booking ahead with Mandjoogoordap Dreaming. On their tours around Mandurah, visitors get to hear stories and see places that deepen understanding of Mandurah’s roots - how the land was once used, the integration of European settlers, the cultural significance of the coastal plain, and the pivotal role of Mandurah’s waterways.
The Federation Heritage Art Walk sheds a different light on Mandurah, taking you through its colonial history on a stroll around the streets, heritage buildings and places of significance, with a focus on the artworks to be found along the trail. Drop into the Mandurah Visitor Centre to pick up information about this and other attractions in Mandurah.
A trip to Mandurah would be incomplete without a stroll along the foreshore to enjoy the hilarious pelicans. Dolphins are often spotted frolicking in the estuary, so keep your eyes peeled! This is a relaxing spot for a picnic if the weather is kind. Alternatively, try one of the best Mandurah restaurants or cosy cafes.
Another great option right on the water is The Peninsular, where you can relax with bar food in the beer garden or indulge in a restaurant meal with views of the Mandjar Bay.
For something a little different, try the imaginative, varied and tasty tapas style dishes at Flics Kitchen, or Silk Thai, the only Thai restaurant in town - both on Mandurah Terrace.
Among Mandurah’s best cafes is the Hummingbird, selling delicious brunch, lunch and drinks - a good place to find something to suit every member of the family. Also on Mandurah Terrace is Cafe 158, another good choice for families with hearty breakfasts, lunches and kids menu.
If you’re just after a coffee and snacks, Mataya is a funky little cafe one block back from the foreshore, which also sells local products in its courtyard markets. La Belle Patisserie & High Tea House, in the delightful canal area of Wannanup, is Mandurah’s best cafe for mouth-watering cakes and great coffee with a flourish of French provincial style.
Mandurah Kebab House is ideal for a quick refuel. Take your meal down to the foreshore and picnic with the pelicans.
Making the Most of Local Produce
Apart from sea food in Mandurah, the Peel region produces a variety of fruit, vegetables, honey and wine. You’ll find apples, pears, plums and strawberries in season, and the area is ideal for growing beans, cabbage, pumpkins, radishes and sweet peas. Vineyards produce a range of varieties, with chenin blanc and shiraz being two of the region’s favourites.
Look out for these products on the menu when you eat out, and stock up on locally produced food in Mandurah and Peel’s Sunday farmers markets before heading home.
Mandurah Boardwalk Farmers Markets are open every Sunday in Mandjar Square, selling fresh local fruit, vegetables, eggs, fish, bread and milk, as well as baked goods, honey, preserves and cheeses. Grab a coffee here and take your time to enjoy the live music and children’s activities.
If you’re heading to the beautiful forests of Dwellingup, plan your trip for first Sunday of the month so that you can visit Boddington Community Markets. Held beside the Hotham River, the markets bring together the huge variety of produce from the Mandurah and Peel region. There’s a range of delicious food served here too.
Peel region wineries include the wonderful Millbrook Winery in Serpentine Jarrahdale, perched right on the river. Others from a long list include Cape Bouvard Winery, Peel Estate Wines and Baldivis Estate, and for beer connoisseurs, there’s the boutique brewery, Three Rivers Brewing Company in Greenfields, open on Friday and Saturday.
Making the Most of Ocean, River and Forest
This region has everything except mountains! You can plunge into the ocean for diving, surfing and sailing; go jet skiing in the Harvey Estuary; play golf with panoramic ocean views; follow walk trails around the Peel region, or go zip lining in the stunning forest; or have an adrenalin-pumping whitewater rafting experience on the river - invigorating activities that make the most of our natural environment.
Stag Watersports will take you out for jetski tour in Harvey Bay from Mandurah or Dawesville. Any level of experience is accepted, and you might get to spot some dolphins into the bargain! Nautical Adventures offers a similar experience from Dawesville, and will also take you out onto the open ocean.
If this is too much of a rush for you, leave the others to it and enjoy a round of golf while you’re in Dawesville. The Cut Golf Course is in a breathtaking location with 180 degree ocean views. This world class course was one of the Great Golf Courses of Australia in 2017.
Surfers should check out The Pyramids, Tims Thicket, Avalon Point and Falcon Bay. If you want to try your hand at sailing, Mandurah Offshore Fishing and Sailing Club runs free Discover Sailing days. Check their website for dates: www.mofsc.com.au/discover-sailing
Dwellingup Adventures offers whitewater rafting on the picturesque Murray River for groups of 10 or more. No experience is necessary and children aged from 10 are welcome.
Dwellingup is also the spot for zip lining through the forest with Trees Adventure. Imagine an obstacle course in the forest canopy that sends you swinging and zip lining through the treetops. It doesn’t get much more exhilarating!
Coming back down to a gentle pace on earth, there are some stunning coastal, river and forest walk trails in the Peel region. Here’s a sample:
- On the Halls Head Coastal Walk, you’ll see some wonderful views.
- The Erskine Nature Trail is a gentle walk or bike ride around the waterways of Mandurah.
- Marrinup Falls Walk Trail is delightful in spring with its waterfalls and wildflowers.
- Ranford Pool Walk Trail follows the Hotham River with a great spot for fishing and birdwatching.
- The Mundlimup Trail and Loop is a journey through the history of logging.
- The King Jarrah Track takes you through jarrah and banksia forest - this one is 18km but you can easily pick out short sections.
Making the Most of Wildlife
Mandurah is famous for the delightful bottle-nose dolphins that leap and play in the estuary. Sometimes it seems they’re fully aware of their audience and are deliberately showing off to make us smile!
To see these gorgeous creatures in their natural habitat, join Mandurah Cruises for a dolphin experience. If you don’t see them on the Dolphin Island Adventure, you cruise again for free! You’ll get to see an abundance of bird life too, including ospreys and those wonderful pelicans.
Alternatively, hang around the foreshore for a while and you’re likely to see a dolphin or two pass by. Sightings are extremely common, as there are almost 100 in the estuary.
Just outside Mandurah on the banks of the Murray River is Peel Zoo, housing over 100 species, including favourite Australian natives. Not to be missed are the fascinating Tasmanian devils. Peel Zoo runs a breeding programme for these threatened creatures, and is passionate about helping visitors to understand and interact safely with all its residents. This is a fabulous experience for the kids!
Out in the countryside, Bindjareb Park in Pinjarra is a 22 hectare nature sanctuary and home to some rare species, such as the red-tailed black cockatoo. Here you can learn more about the bush, hear dreamtime stories from the traditional owners and sample indigenous food - another great educational experience for children.
Where to Stay
The best way to experience the region is to stay for a few days, and there’s a delightful range of Mandurah and Peel region accommodation to choose from, including a beach chalets, self-contained apartments and houseboats.
Mandurah Ocean Marina Chalets are right on a protected swimming beach, within walking distance of Mandurah’s cafes and restaurants. If you prefer to get away from it all, Footprints architecturally designed beach shacks are within a short walk of the white sands of Preston Beach, and close to Yalgorup National Park.
Mandurah has some top end serviced apartments at Quest and Seashells. Quest Mandurah is right on the delightful waterways and close to town. Apartments are serviced daily, and guests have access to an outdoor pool and spa. Seashells Mandurah overlooks the ocean and has beach villas as well as apartments. This is real indulgence, with 4.5 star quality and a wonderful beachfront infinity pool.
Again on the waterfront, across from the grassy foreshore and next to the Mandurah Performing Arts Centre, is the 4.5 star Sebel Mandurah. This resort hotel has guestrooms, suites, serviced apartments and all the luxuries you could want.
And finally, Peel region accommodation that provides a holiday experience in itself. No experience is needed to sail a houseboat along the waterways and beautiful Murray River. Mandurah Houseboats will provide tuition before you set out, and each houseboat is equipped with a galley kitchen, shower, TV, DVD player, outdoor barbecue and even crab nets. You can totally relax, drift through the days, moor at restaurants and cafes along the way, and jump in for a swim whenever you feel like it.