We set sail on a beautiful 30 degree day from the south of Perth city, Mandurah. It was gorgeous weather to be on the water. Our skipper, Robert welcomed us aboard the Dolphin Discoverer to begin our cruise around the Mandurah Canals and Marina.
Departing the boardwalk, our skipper tells us some historical facts and points out landmarks as we head out onto the water.
Port Mandurah is entirely man-made and took 13 years to build. It is the largest canal development in Mandurah and all the homes have waterfront access and also street. There are 10 separate developments of canals large and small around the waterways which make up the Port.
As the water slaps the sides of the boat we soar on over the water through the estuary. Keeping an eye out for dolphins, we sit back, enjoying the trip, listening to Robert's excellent commentary.
We leave the bustling estuary and head over to the Marina. Robert points out numerous boats as we head over to Dolphin Quay – a famous tourist spot with markets and restaurants.
There is a Port Bouvard cruise where the passengers are taken over to the Marina for a fish and chip lunch in the middle of their cruise. With the same sights seen on the one hour cruise, 1.5 hours is the duration of the cruise and passengers stay onboard while the crew goes and gets their lunch and then they cruise off, eating as they go. This is the Fish and Chip Lunch Cruise.
Robert tells us that quite a few of these homes are not actually regularly lived in and are merely holiday homes to the very rich. Many of these home owners build over two blocks of land to create larger and more spacious places in which to live.
Every winter there is a chance of flooding when the water levels rise. There is a water variance of about one metre, so Robert tells us that amongst home-owners, residents know to not have important and expensive items in rooms on the ground level.
Many home-owners actually build up and that can be seen as many of the homes are elevated with large levels of stairs up to the front door.
Sailing through the canals, children come out of their homes and wave at us as we pass. We wave back and head on to another street. There are streets in the canals, just as there are back on land. The big difference is that each home has a lovely boat docked out the front at their private jetty instead of a car parked on the verge. This is the life. These homes are amazing. Many could only ever dream of living in a house this luxurious.
Boasting One-Hour Dolphin and Scenic Canal Cruises, a Fish and Chip Lunch Cruise, a 5-hour Murray River and lunch experience, Crabbing and Eco Tours and Twilight Cruises, Bouvard Cruises offer a smorgasbord of trips to appeal to everyone, young and old.
As we pull into the jetty at the end of our cruise I reflect on a wonderful trip. We got to travel in style around the estuary, canals and marina amongst the birdlife and we even got to see dolphins swim beside us as we cruised on down the canals.
Aim to arrive approximately 30 minutes before the boat is due to depart for the best seats and to purchase tickets. First in best dressed for seats so arrive early to get a seat next to the window for the best view. You can purchase tickets on the jetty as you board the boat, at the Mandurah Visitor Centre, Simmo's Ice Creamery on the Boardwalk or at the Bouvard Cruise office, Mandurah Terrace.
See their website for more information, photos and a dolphin video.
All aboard the Dolphin Discoverer for an excellent family day out to see multi-million-dollar canal homes, birds and wildlife, the award-winning Mandurah Ocean Marina, the Creery Wetlands, excellent, informative commentary and a chance to encounter the dolphin life that make their homes in the water of the canals and estuary.
So whether you are looking for a place for a work function with a difference, a way to celebrate your birthday, a historical and informative new way to look at the place you live, or just some time out on the water with the family – Bouvard Cruises has something for everyone.
You may not be able to afford your own place on the canals, but you sure can enjoy this lovely area while being driven around on a luxurious boat on a fine summer's day. Not a bad way to spend a lazy summer afternoon in this writer's opinion.