I'm a writing student at Edith Cowan University, chocolate fanatic and mad hippie.
Published July 19th 2011
In my very nearly 26 years of life, I've managed to experience a large portion of this world. And one of the best pieces of advice I can give is this: don't be a tourist – be the anti-tourist. Don't go to all the major tourist sites that everyone flocks to – or do, if for nothing else than to snap a photo and proudly proclaim 'I was there.' but don't make it the be-all and end-all of your trip. Give yourself time to explore the hidden and lesser known wonders of a place; the nooks and crannies that locals take for granted, or are unaware of themselves.
This brings me to my second piece of advice: be the anti-tourist of your own city.
I moved down to Mandurah just over a year ago now, and like everyone else that's not from there, knew very little about the area. Mandurah has two claims to fame: King Carnival and the foreshore. And apart from these two locations, I had no idea anything else there existed – apart from plenty of converted holiday homes with boats in the driveways. Luckily, our humble tin roofed rental was just a minute's walk away from one of Mandurah's best kept secrets: Riverside Gardens Reserve.
The reserve runs along the Serpentine River, and is the perfect place for a family picnic, a kayak, or just a quiet walk. Access is via Redcliffe Road in Greenfields, where there is ample parking, public toilets (clean ones, too!) and a boat ramp. The reserve also boasts BBQ's, covered picnic tables, bushwalking trails, and a boardwalk that leads out onto the water and some truly spectacular views.
Weekends you might find a few boats out on the water, people fishing off the piers, or a family or two enjoying a picnic. More often than not though, your main companions at the reserve are the wildlife. Pelicans, Herons and other wetland birds abound; Kookaburras laugh from the tops of eucalyptus trees and galahs gather on the grass. A symphony of local birds is always playing.
So if you're a local, or even if you're just thinking of coming down to Mandurah for the day (and hey, with the new Mandurah line why wouldn't you? The 598 from the station drops you right at the reserve) it's the perfect place to spend a day getting reacquainted with nature.