Within an hour south of Perth there are two coastal towns – Rockingham and Mandurah, which are both well worth visiting, and offer their own unique charm. They are both popular with locals and visitors as weekend retreats or a stop off if you’re heading further south.
40 minutes south of Perth by car, the safe, sandy beaches in Rockingham are ideal for aquatic activities, such as sailing, boating, windsurfing and fishing. The beaches are lined with parks and playgrounds for the kids, with a selection of cafes and restaurants nearby. Home of the beautiful Shoalwater Islands Marine Park, the many offshore islands are added attractions, with their sculpted limestone rocks, little coves and reef areas are ideal for diving, snorkelling and kayaking. Penguin Island lies in the Marine Park, where you can have the opportunity of getting up close with the world’s smallest species of penguin, the Little Penguin. You can watch feedings and learn all about them at the Penguin Island Discovery Centre, located on the island. There are also roughly 260 resident wild bottlenose dolphins in the Shoalwater Islands Marine Park, plus rare sea lions on Seal Island. Rockingham Wild Encounters offer a shuttle boat service to cross over to Penguin Island, plus a number of tours to swim with dolphins and visit the penguins and seals. You can also take in the stunning views while skydiving! Drop by the Visitor Centre at 19 Kent Street Rockingham, visit rockinghamvisitorcentre.com.au or call 9592 3464.
Less than an hour from Perth, Mandurah is a vibrant tourist destination with a relaxed holiday atmosphere and also a popular weekend getaway for locals. Mandurah is Western Australia’s largest and fastest growing regional city and is set against a backdrop of magnificent beaches and an estuary twice the size of
The first people to have inhabited the region were the Bindjareb people of the Noongar Nation, who named the locality Mandjoogoordap, which translates as ‘meeting place of the heart’. Today, the Peel Region is made up of the City of Mandurah and surrounding Shires of Serpentine Jarrahdale, Murray, Waroona and Boddington. With new tourism experiences complementing its superb natural assets, significant redevelopment and recently being recognised as WA’s 2017 Top Tourism Town, Mandurah has come of age, offering award-winning waterfront dining, aquatic adventures, world-class golf courses and plenty of places to shop. The city centre foreshore is home to an abundance of marine life including dolphins, pelicans, shags and black swans. In particular the blue manna crab which has become synonymous with the area and an annual festival is held in its honour during autumn. Mandurah is easily accessible by train from Perth with a regular fast service taking 48 minutes. For accommodation and tour bookings and information on what to do in the region, drop into the Visitor Centre at 75 Mandurah Terrace, visit visitpeel.com.au or call 9550 3999.
Mandurah is also a good starting point to explore the wider Peel Region, which is made up of the City of Mandurah and surrounding Shires of Murray, Waroona, Serpentine Jarrahdale and Boddington. In an easy half an hour drive from Mandurah you will discover beautiful wineries, winding waterways, charming country eateries, rolling green hills and tiny timber towns nestled amid the forest. There are so many unique experiences you can easily spend a week or more exploring Perth’s natural adventure playground.
Just 30 minutes south of Mandurah, you’ll find the largest thrombolite reef in the Southern Hemisphere at Lake Clifton – living fossils that have sheltered in these waters for millennia. Lake Clifton’s thrombolites are very fragile, so an observation walkway has been built for visitors to enjoy these incredible formations while protecting them from damage. Facilities include picnic tables, toilets and an information shelter.
In the region, you can climb the treetops in Dwellingup, pat the animals at Peel Zoo, take a drive through the stunning jarrah forest, go bush walking, bike riding or kayaking, visit art galleries or enjoy wine tasting. Stroll through the quaint town of Pinjarra and enjoy coffee and scones, or a country pub meal in any of the number of historic pubs in the region. See below for a selection of things to see and do, or visit visitpeel.com.au.