I'm a freelance writer based in Perth, Western Australia, who enjoys writing about the things I love: travel, nature-based activities, the arts, spirituality and creative, fun activities for children.
Published October 5th 2013
Top Ways to Play on the Beautiful Peel Inlet
Located just one hour south of Perth yet a world away in ambiance, Mandurah is the perfect spot to slow down and connect with nature for exhausted city-slickers craving weekend rest and rejuvenation. If you find the breezy, laid-back vibe of Western Australia's south-west appealing, but can't afford the money or time to travel all the way down there regularly, a weekend escape to this lovely seaside city may be just what you're looking for.
Mandurah is a water-lover's paradise
Situated at the entrance to the Peel Inlet, Mandurah has been a popular holiday destination for Western Australians for generations. Its location on both the Indian Ocean and the sheltered waters of the inlet means that it's an ideal spot for all kinds of exciting aquatic activities, ranging from high adrenaline pursuits such as surfing, jet-skiing and wind-surfing to those of a more leisurely nature such as wildlife cruises or simply lazing on the beach. The range of water-based leisure activities in both Mandurah and the surrounding Peel region is simply staggering, and numerous companies hire boats and other leisure equipment if you don't have your own, and provide tuition if you've always wanted to surf, sail or dive but never got around to learning.
Boating enthusiasts invariably love Mandurah's waterways.
Whether you're old or young, rich or poor, a romantic couple or a noisy family, there's sure to be plenty of water-based fun that will tickle your fancy at beautiful Mandurah, Western Australia's foremost aquatic playground. As the days lengthen and our temperatures soar, Mandurah is definitely the place to be.
Mandurah is a top spot to relax and rejuvenate.
Canoeing and kayaking Whether you're into leisurely paddling on the Peel Inlet's generally-peaceful waters, would like to explore the river systems which empty into the inlet, or love the buzz of sea kayaking, the Peel region has something for everyone. While enjoying a relaxing paddle around the estuary or through the canals is a magical experience in the early morning or late afternoon, another great family outing is to journey upstream and explore some of the local rivers such as the Harvey, Serpentine and Murray Rivers.
The Mandurah Visitors Centre has some great information about local canoe trails, and can provide you with pamphlets detailing the features of various routes. If you don't have your own canoe or kayak, many places around Mandurah hire them out. Don't forget to get life-jackets as well. A couple of local hire companies are Kayaks 4 U, which is located on Mandurah's western foreshore or Ravenswood Adventures, which is ten minutes out of town in Ravenswood, on the Murray River. If stand-up paddle-boarding or ocean paddling is more your thing, why not get in touch with Mandurah Ocean Club, which holds regular group training sessions and races.
Houseboat holiday If energetic action sports aren't the way you like to chill, perhaps you'd prefer a more leisurely get-away. The tranquil waters of the Peel Inlet and the river systems which drain into it are perfect for a relaxing houseboat holiday. Surrounded by nature's beauty, you can relax on the deck observing native animals and birds, or perhaps enjoy a visit from some of the dolphins that live in the estuary. Houseboat holidays are suitable for people of every age, and are great for romantic weekends away, family adventures or groups of friends. While many people love to cruise around the open waters of the Peel Estuary, exploring the rivers by houseboat is also magical. For more information, take a look at Mandurah Houseboats' website.
Just 4 Fun Aqua Park If you're the parents of active children or are a big kid at heart, why not check out the Just 4 Fun Aqua Park, which is situated on Mandurah's western foreshore close to King's Carnival? Just 4 Fun consists of loads of cool heavy-duty inflatables that you can climb, slide and bounce on, providing hours of fun and games. As grown-ups can get a bit unruly when let loose somewhere like this there is a special knee-deep park for the littlies.
Just 4 Fun opens in December, and is the perfect venue for a Christmas party, birthday party or corporate team-building event. Find out more on their website.
Sailing Whether you're a yachtie or enjoy sailing smaller craft, the wide waters of the Peel Estuary are a sailors' paradise, and provide plenty of beautiful secluded spots to put down your anchor. If you're new to the wonderful world of sailing, West Coast Sail Training at Wannanup is a good place to go to in order to learn the ropes. For those with an attraction to more extreme sports, I've heard that there are some great spots for kitesurfing, sailboarding and parasailing in the area to pursue your passion. To find out more, make some enquiries from the locals when you get down there.
Mandurah's Dolphin Marina
Jet skiing For fast and furious fun, you really can't beat jet skiing, and with its vast expanse of calm water, the Peel Estuary is a jet skiier's paradise. If you don't have your own jet ski, several businesses in town hire them out and conduct escorted tours, including Nautical Adventures and Stag Watersports. On their brochure, Nautical Adventures claims to have the world's most famous extreme jet ski self-drive tours, so if you're a bit of a thrill-seeker at heart, this one may be for you. No experience is necessary.
One of Australia's fastest-growing water-sports, dragon boating originated in the Pearl River delta region of southern China, and these unique vessels are one of a family of traditional paddled long-boats found throughout Asia, the Pacific and Africa. These days, throughout the world, dragon boat races are a popular competitive sport which rely on the strength, agility and cooperation of team members. As their name indicates, for competitive events contemporary dragon boats are adorned with traditional decorative features such as dragon heads and tails. If you're interested in dragon boating in Mandurah, either as a spectator or participant, a good group to contact are the Mandurah Dragon Boat Club.
Take a cruise
Mandurah and the Peel region offer a range of different aquatic environments, and locally-run cruises are a great way to experience their various features. These range from short one-hour dolphin and scenic canal cruises, to longer excursions such as heritage tours, eco tours and cruises up the lovely Murray River. Lunch cruises, twilight cruises and Christmas light cruises are also extremely popular with tourists and locals, alike. Mandurah Cruises is a great spot to shop around for cruises, and they also have a delightfully eclectic gift-shop choc-a-block with lots of cool things such as dolphin souvenirs, nautical themed products and pirate gear. They also provide charter boats for all types of functions, including weddings, birthdays, Christmas parties, hens' and bucks' parties and corporate events. Take a look at their website to find out more.
Taking a cruise is a great way to explore Mandurah's waterways.
Hire a boat or pontoon
If you want to have fun on the water but don't have your own boat, do not despair. There are plenty of places in both in Mandurah itself and further afield where you can hire all kinds of boats, from basic runabouts to more flashy vessels, and even pontoons, where you peacefully laze, watching the world go by as you slowly make your way around the waterways. Two places to check out are Mandurah Boat and Bike Hire at the south end of Ormsby Terrace, or Blue Manna Boat Hire, which is situated at Mandurah Ocean Marina.
Hiring a boat is another way to explore Mandurah's spectacular waterways.
Diving and Snorkelling
A lot of us would love to learn to dive but never seem to have the time when we're busy with all our everyday duties. A short break in Mandurah provides a great opportunity to make your dream a reality, and two local businesses that provide expert dive training are the David Budd Dive Academy at 3 - 4 The Plaza, on Mandurah Terrace (phone them on 08 9535 1520) and Mandurah Dive Academy at Shop 1, 17 Sholl Street (call 08 9581 2566). However, if you don't feel ready yet to start a diving course, many of Mandurah's beaches and waterways are great to explore with goggles, snorkel and flippers.
If you're like me and simply enjoy relaxing on a warm sandy beach, there are plenty to choose from in the Mandurah area. Close to Dolphin Quay, Village Beach is a lovely sheltered family beach right next to the marina that's very popular with young families. There's also a lovely park close by when the kids tire of the water.
Village Beach - Mandurah
Out on the open ocean, popular Mandurah beaches include Town Beach, just a short walk from the city centre, and Avalon, Blue Bay, Doddi's, Falcon Bay, Melros, San Remo, Pyramids and Silver Sands Beaches.
Cycle around the Peel Inlet
If you love the water but don't want to get wet, why not explore Mandurah's spectacular foreshore by bike? Cycling is a fun healthy activity that the whole family can enjoy together and Mandurah has many kilometres of trails that follow its beautiful waterways. If you don't have your own bike they're available for hire from several spots around town including Mandurah Boat and Bike Hire on Ormsby Terrace. For more information, have a look at their website or give them a call on 08 9535 5877.
There are cycle paths around most of Mandurah's foreshore.
Learn to surf
Surfing is another sport that many of us would love to try, and what better place to learn than Mandurah? Just fifteen minutes from Mandurah at Secret Harbour, The Big Wave Surfing School holds a range of awesome surf classes including ones for adults, children (they have regular weekend and school holiday programs) and even classes that the whole family can take together.
Although Mandurah is close enough for a day-trip from Perth, it's also a terrific and affordable option for a weekend getaway. All sorts of accommodation is available locally, from five-star resorts and waterside villas to caravan parks and backpacker hostels. For more information about Mandurah, including how to get there and where to stay, check out the Mandurah Tourism website.