Bunbury, often named as the ‘City of 3 Waters’ is situated just 90 minutes from Perth and is one of the state’s largest regional cities. The laid back, seaside port city oozes a cosmopolitan edgy atmosphere, with a massive event calendar, boutique shops, street art and funky cafes dominating the CBD.
It is however, the waters that surround the city that are perhaps what Bunbury is best known for. Situated on a peninsula, the calm waters of Koombana bay and Leschenault Inlet contrast with the extensive waves of the Indian Ocean, to the west.
The marine scene offers the perfect opportunity for water sports such as stand up paddle boarding, canoeing, kayaking and boating, all of which are very popular for locals and visitors alike. The waters are rife with marine life and offer the chance to get up close with the majestically intelligent dolphin species through boating, snorkelling and diving tours.
Things to do
From water sports to music festivals, street art to heritage trails, there’s plenty to get stuck into within the region. See below a selection of 10 fantastic things to do in Bunbury:
- Watch a show at BREC, voted no.1 performing arts venue in Australia. WA’s leading venue for conferences, trade shows gala events and live entertainment has a huge array of events on offer throughout the year including Film festivals, comedy shows, dance performances, opera and live music.
- Explore the rich history and heritage of Bunbury and the surrounding areas on foot. The region is littered with meandering trails and hiking tracks for all ages and abilities. Pick up a map from the visitor center and immerse yourself in the stunning topography and wildlife on the Bunbury Heritage Trail.
- Take a cruise with one of the local tour companies to explore the stunning coastline. Don’t forget your bathers for that all-important swim amongst the dolphins.
- Enjoy a scenic stroll along the Mangroves Boardwalk where over seventy species of birds reside. If you’re lucky you may spot an adorable family of cygnets as the area is a favourite breeding ground of the Black Swan.
- Take in the views from Marlston Hill Lookout. Formerly a working lighthouse, this multi-level viewing tower boast 360 degree views of Koombana bay, hinterland and Bunbury Harbour.
- Pack a picnic rug, a few glasses and spend some time devouring the glorious local produce and wine. The Bunbury area has an abundance of farm gates, markets, cellar doors and restaurants, all offering delicious home-grown and fresh ingredients.
- Learn about the history of the region and browse the collection at Bunbury Museum and Heritage Centre. It’s full of fun, personal and interactive displays that are suitable for all ages.
- Pick up a map from the local visitor center and make your way through the streets to uncover the multitude of hidden murals featuring amazing street art from some of WA’s best known artists. There’s plenty of coffee shops and eateries so take a pit stop along the way to refuel.
- Hire a snorkel or join one of the dive tours to experience the underwater wonderland surrounding the Lena dive wreck, situated just 3 nautical miles off Bunbury’s coastline.
- See some of Australia’s native animals at Bunbury Wildlife Park including wombats, emus, birds, reptiles and of course everyone’s favourite, the jovial jumping joeys.
The Forrest Highway will get you to Bunbury the quickest – it is 172km, or a one-hour-and-45-minute drive – but it certainly isn’t as scenic as the picturesque South Western Highway, which is 186km or about a two-hour-and-ten-minute drive. Coaches run five times per day and there are two rail services from Perth to Bunbury.
Places to stay
Bunbury is known as the City of Three Waters with good reason – you’ll usually be on the beachfront or close to the beach when you stay in town. Out in the surrounding region, fresh country air and stunning views are plentiful. Lovely bed and breakfasts, bush retreats, cosy chalets and cottages blend well with the whole wine-region experience. The adventure camps and farm stays are awesome, especially if you are travelling in a group, or have kids in tow.