On a sunny day in Mandurah we enjoyed a sightseeing cruise with a difference… a fish and chip lunch on-board the “dolphin and scenic canal cruise” by Mandurah Cruises, which sail out of the Mandurah Boardwalk most days of the week. The calm inland waters of the Mandurah Estuary and canals make it a great introduction to boats for little ones or people that are prone to sea sickness.
The cruise was part of our May weekend staycation in Mandurah, and we’d been invited to enjoy a tasty lunch and cruise aboard Mandurah Cruises’ modern boat by Mandurah & Peel Tourism Organisation.
Firstly, we picked up our tickets from the ticket office found at the Mandurah Boardwalk, behind Dome Café. You can purchase tickets online from www.mandurahcruises.com.au or buy them in person from the Mandurah Cruise and gift shop at least 30 minutes prior to your departure time.
We boarded the boat about 20 minutes before departure, to ensure we got a perfect vantage point from our seats. There’s a choice to sit upstairs, which is quite open (and where the captain sits) or downstairs which is more enclosed. For the best views and chances of spotting dolphins, I recommend that you go to the front of the boat. The skipper will let you know when dolphins have been sighted over the loud speaker.
While Mandurah Cruises can’t guarantee dolphin sightings (they are wild creatures after all!), there are between 75 and 100 bottlenose dolphins in the area, giving you a pretty good chance. We’d only been moving for a matter of minutes before we spotted out first pod of dolphins! During our cruise we spotted two or three separate pods.
The dolphins are very friendly, seeming to swim towards the boat as soon as they spotted us. They playfully surf in the wake of the boat, as everyone (especially Little Chef) ooo-ed and ahh-ed with excitement. They really are beautiful creatures.
For an additional $12 per person, we enjoyed deliciously fresh fish and chips on board the boat during the cruise. Soon after the vessels sets off, we cruised toward the Mandurah Ocean Marina and briefly tie up alongside the jetty at Dolphin Quay where staff picked up piping hot fish & chips from Ninos.
We ate our lunch takeaway style, on our knees, while we cruised back to the estuary.
Chef and Little Chef ate traditional battered fish n chips, while I opted for grilled fish and salad. Man, this Gluten Free business is hard!! Though my grilled fish was so fresh and tasty I almost didn’t miss the batter.
There is a small kiosk on board, where a range of cold, hot and alcoholic drinks are available for purchase, as well as selection of sweet and savoury snacks. Next, we cruised towards the Venetian Canals, where we passed many luxury canal homes. There’s some seriously impressive houses and massive boats moored at their private jetties.
Keep your eyes peeled and you might even spy some dinosaurs!
We cruised through the twisting and turning canals to the world renowned Creery Wetlands and spotted a lot of its abundant birdlife. The lunch cruise lasts 90 minutes and there is an interesting pre-recorded commentary throughout – though I missed a lot of this when I stepped out to the front of the boat to see the dolphins.
Once back at the Mandurah Boardwalk, there’s lots of food options if you choose to cruise and not eat. You’ll find Cicerellos, Simmo’s ice-cream, San Churro Chocolateria, Dome and more. We thoroughly enjoyed the dolphin cruise and would recommend it if you’re two or one hundred and two!
Thanks to Mandurah & Peel Tourism Organisation (MAPTO) we were guests of Mandurah Cruises. Nothing is exaggerated or embellished. All words and opinions are my own.