I'm a Victorian freelance writer & photographer living in the Macedon Ranges north of Melbourne.
Published January 22nd 2014
Gateway to WA's Fabulous South West
Bunbury is one of those south-west West Australian towns that pioneered the State's agricultural, minerals and timber industries and today, situated as it is on the edge of the renowned Margaret River wine region, enjoys its status as a bustling port and sea-side tourist attraction.
Bunbury is both a major shipping port and recreational boating mecca
First discovered by the French explorer de Freycinet in 1803 it wasn't until 1829 that early Swan River Settlement colonists visited the area and established a military outpost. It was named Bunbury after Lieutenant William St. Pierre Bunbury who pioneered the early and torturous inland route from Pinjarra to the new outpost.
With its distinctive black & white stripes Bunbury Lighthouse overlooks the Back Beach
The third largest city in Western Australia and the commercial and industrial centre for the State's South West Region, Bunbury is 182 Kilometres south of Perth via the Kwinana Freeway and Forrest Highway. It's also home to the Port of Bunbury, the hub for world-wide distribution of the regions international exports of Alumina, silica, Mineral Sands and woodchips.
In 2012/13 the Port handled just under 15.5 million tonnes of cargo and hosted several cruise ships.
Marlston Hill Lookout provides expansive views over Bunbury and surrounding districts
Bunbury is home to the intriguingly named Bonking Frogs Winery which produces only Merlot and, just 20 minutes out of town, north on the old coast road you'll find one of the most family-friendly watering holes you're ever likely to come across. The Old Coast Road Brewery boasts 25 hectares of lakes & gardens, a 1,000 tree olive grove and large lawn areas great for keeping the kids occupied while Mum & Dad savour one of OCRB's handcrafted beers. With its restaurant, range of award winning beers, local wines and a great playground for the littlies the Old Coast Road Brewery is a hugely popular destination in the region.
One of Bunbury's greatest drawcards is the Dolphin Discovery Centre where visitors are afforded the opportunity to swim and interact with the local Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncates).
Bunbury's Dolphin Discovery Centre is a great spot to interact with these amazing mammals
The Centre offers a guided swim with the Dolphins in Koombana Bay, a one and a half hour dolphin Eco Cruise or a meet & greet in the Interaction Zone, in the shallows immediately in front of the Centre where a group of 10 dolphins frequently venture in-shore to mingle with visitors. But remember these are wild mammals and they may not have scheduled a meeting on the day of your visit. Interaction is more frequent in the months October to April.
Bunbury boasts an impressive number of places to eat & drink from award-winning restaurants, café's & coffee shops to a range of bars, pubs and clubs.
Accommodation in the district ranges from tourist parks to historic farm stays, resorts and quaint cottages.
For golfers the All Seasons Sanctuary Golf Resort offers a range of studio apartments with pools, tennis courts, restaurant & bar and, naturally, a spectacular golf course where 12 of the 18 holes feature challenging water hazards together with a total of 64 bunkers to trap the unwary.
Bunbury is a great base from which to tour all that the spectacular south west region of WA has to offer.