There are hundreds of properties listed for short term rental in Mandurah. The homes vary from tiny studio apartments with beach views to sprawling three storey mansions on the canals, and the prices can vary from less than $100 a night to over $1,000 a night.
With many houses accommodating up to three families, a short stay home is a much more economical way to holiday than hotels, and are much more fun. But with so much choice how can you find the best place for your next holiday?
There are a number of sites which list holiday accommodation in Mandurah. Stayz is the biggest and easiest to use with over 200 properties listed, but there are also holiday listing on sites such as tripadvisor and gumtree.
The Stayz website allows you to search properties based on different factors, so you need to determine what is most important? Location, the number of available beds or price? You can also sort on availability so if you suddenly decide you need to get away tomorrow – you can find only the properties which are free.
Searching online allows you to save your preferred properties to shortlists, so you can easily go back and make comparisons.
Plan ahead If you want to find the perfect place for long weekend, Easter, Christmas and school holidays you need to plan well ahead. People fall in love with certain houses and book them a year in advance.
That being said, if you're prepared to live with uncertainty, you can nab some excellent last minute deals if you are happy to book only days in advance.
Make sure you know where you're looking Mandurah is now an easy one hour drive from Perth. It's far away enough to feel like you're on holiday (especially if you're on the beach or canals) and close enough that the drive is never a major issue. It has plenty of shopping centres, some great fish and chips, and even a restaurant which made it into the Good Food Guide with an impressive 14.5 stars: M On the Point.
But Mandurah is big and extends well beyond the city centre. Looking for holiday homes in 'Mandurah' might net you properties as far south as Wannanup or as far north as Madora Bay. We're talking a 15 minute drive, but it's worth considering if you were planning on heading into the town centre regularly. Use the map function on the Stayz website to visualise where your holiday house will be.
There is also a difference (both in price and style) between the early stage developments in Mandurah (ie Halls Head) and later developments (such as Dudley Park). As such there can be a difference of hundreds of dollars for a very similar house depending on what side of the bridge you are on.
Bucks Parties need not apply
If you are a large group of men celebrating a mate's imminent nuptials or a group of schoolies wanting to let loose, you might find a number of doors closed to you. This is not to say you won't be able to find a property owner willing to let you stay, but it's worth allowing a bit more time to find a suitable place. If a place is not available to schoolies or bucks parties it will be clearly labelled on the property description. No worries, there are plenty more to choose from.
Look for the extras goodies…
Whether you're on a budget or able to splurge, many properties offer inclusions and extras as part of the price. It's worth taking the time to read the descriptions to see what owners are offering to entice you to stay. Some places offer the use of bikes and kayaks, some provide a bottle of wine on arrival. Some houses will have pools and spas and some will have awesome extras like free arcade games and table tennis.
If you're down in Mandurah to fish then you will probably be looking for a place on the canals or beach front. Some properties include things like crabbing nets and fishing lines, but many don't, so read the fine print to see what you're getting.
… and for the extra costs
Make sure you check to see whether the cost of linen is included in your hire fee. Most places provide it as part of the hire fee, but there are some properties which charge extra per person for the use of sheets and towels.
Some properties also charge a compulsory cleaning fee per stay. These costs obviously alter the overall cost of your holiday so remember to factor them in. Almost all properties will charge a refundable bond, usually one or two nights equivalent. This will be repaid should you leave the property in good condition, but it's still important to factor it in when budgeting for your holiday.
Make sure all members of the family are taken care of
Do you have a small child and need baby gates and a portacot? Do you want to bring the pet dog? What about Granny who can't cope with stairs and needs a bedroom on the ground floor or the grumpy teenager who NEEDS Foxtel or they will just die!
Send an email or make a quick call to the property owner or agent and find out if these things are allowed or provided (if they're not mentioned online). The more things that are provided for you, the less you need to worry about.
If you have small children as we do, child-proof gates preventing access to the canals were a non-negotiable when looking for properties. It is sometimes mentioned on the site, or obvious in the photos but the best way is to check with the owner.
Pelicans and dolphins are regular visitors in Mandurah
The art of negotiation
Many of the owners are willing to negotiate on things like cost (especially for longer stays) and check-in and check-out times.
We were able to negotiate an extended check-out time from 10am to 6pm on our final day which obviously made a huge different to our long weekend holiday. As long as there are no other booking for the following day, you will find many owners are happy to negotiate and there is no harm in asking.
Get it in writing
It is better to be safe than sorry, so remember to get a contact number for the property manager or owner for when you are away. If you're particularly concerned, take photos of the property as soon as you arrive, especially if there is pre-existing damage, so you can avoid arguments later.
Read the contract and make sure you understand things like the cancellation policy and what happens if the owner wants to keep your bond.
Also if they are available, read reviews from other visitors as they are a great way to judge whether a place is good value and clean, and if they provide what is promised.