Preview: WA Day Festival & Signature Dish Cook Off

WA Day

The hotly anticipated 2017 Celebrity Signature Dish is being held at the WA Day Festival, at Elizabeth Quay on Sunday 4th of June. As well as the nail biting cook off, you’ll find something for everyone at the festival – especially us foodies!

WA Celebrity Signature Dish

The 2017 WA Celebrity Signature Dish cook-off will see four Perth personalities put on their chef’s whites to represent four West Australian food regions for Buy West Eat Best.  You’ll see:

  • Mark Gibson (Today Tonight, Channel 7) for Mandurah and Peel
  • Rayne Embley (popular Perth mummy and lifestyle Blogger) for Southern Forests
  • Justin Langer (ex- Australian Cricketer and WACA Head Coach) for Swan Valley
  • Pete Curulli (Radio personality from Mix94.5) for The Kimberley

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Come on down at 1.30pm on Sunday to cheer them all on and see who can create the winning West Australian signature dish with the wonderful fresh produce from all around WA. My money is on Team Peel! I’m excited to be involved as one of the social influencers and I am supporting the Peel region.

Meet Team Peel

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Mark Gibson, award winning journalist from Today Tonight (and presenter of the action packed “Minute To Win It” on Telethon), is the personality that’s representing Peel and Mandurah. Mark tells me that he’s a bit of a foodie and likes to cook up a storm at home. Let’s hope he’s been practicing his dish! Here’s a few questions I had for Mark…

Favourite thing to do in the Peel region?

I should say visiting my sister because she lives on the canals in Halls Head.

Heading out on a boat spotting dolphins would have to be a close second.

 

Most delicious item of Peel produce to cook with?

The crabs are delicious and so plentiful, but we’ve decided to use Harvey beef for our signature dish.

Mmmmm, slow cooked Harvey beef!

 

Why should foodies consider their next holiday in the Peel?

Because the Peel region is full of great places to eat, or if you feel like renting a house and cooking up a storm, there’s so much amazing produce (and wine) to choose from.

 

Chef Kenny McHardy from Manuka Woodfire Kitchen in Freo has been mentoring Mark with his Harvey beef dish and there’s not many people better qualified to cook a chunk of meat to perfection than Kenny. At his popular restaurant Manuka, the woodfire oven is the hero in their kitchen and their only form of cooking too! That makes for some delicious and tender meat dishes… I really need to check it out next time I’m in Freo, I have heard many amazing things about Kenny’s food.

The Peel region is rich with fishing and agriculture – the Blue Swimmer crab’s are a particularly famous local delicacy. Farms in the area offer a variety of fruits (apples, pears, plums, strawberries) and vegetables (beans, cabbage, pumpkins, radishes, sweet peas). There’s also lots of quality meats, honey and wine produced in this wonderful part of Western Australia.

I can’t wait to see what Mark cooks up on Sunday – Good luck to Team Peel!

What else is happening at the WA Festival?

The festival kicks off from 10am on Sunday 4th and Monday 5th of June and you’ll find something for everyone – especially fun loving, foodie families! There’s a lot planned to showcase and celebrate the very best of WA – food, wine, markets, live entertainment and activities for kids.

And best of all the WA Festival is a FREE event!

Food Trucks – For something tasty, head to “International Eat Street” to enjoy a bite from one of the many food trucks. There’s cuisine from all around the word – representing the state’s multi-cultural heritage. And of course Elizabeth Quays, bars, cafes and restaurants will also be in full swing.

Family Fun – The “Play in WA” area is packed with activities that the kids will love – WAFL footy activities, the Inflatable WA Museum will be there, apron colouring for your Little Chefs, pan for gold with the Perth Mint, a WACA cricket clinic, a virtual aquarium and much more!

Makers Markets (Sunday) – local artisans will be selling their wares under the Centre Stage Big Top. It’s a brilliant place to find a unique gift or to treat yourself.

Swan Bells – The Bell Tower is holding an open day on WA Day, which is a wonderful chance to discover the swan bells. There will be Free Entry all day on Monday.

State of the Art (Monday) – the SOA festival is an all ages music event. Popular WA acts like Karnivool, Gyroscope, Katy Steele and more will be on stage from noon till late.

Get to Elizabeth Quay on public transport – with rail, ferry and bus stations all close by.

Find out more about what is happening at Elizabeth Quay’s WA Day celebrations here.

5 Fun Things to do in Mandurah & The Peel Region

There are so many fun experiences to be had in Mandurah and the wider Peel area. Whether you want to get your adrenalin pumping, or take a relaxing cruise on the canals, there’s something to suit everyone. Here’s my pick of the top things to do in Mandurah and Peel for Anytime Adventures:

Mandurah Cruises

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A boat cruise is the quintessential thing to do whilst in Mandurah! Mandurah Cruises’ modern boats take you for a tour around the estuary, marina and canals, seeing many sights along the way as well as pods of dolphins. It’s so exciting to get up close and see them swimming alongside a boat! Take a lunch cruise and treat yourselves to some fresh fish n chips on-board too!

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Find out more about Mandurah Cruises here.

 

Trees Adventure

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At Trees Adventure you’ll find tree top obstacle courses, in a safe environment. There’s a variety of flying foxes and tricky challenges, like suspended bridges, see saws, Tarzan ropes, climbing walls, swinging balls and cargo nets which test your balance and co-ordination. You’ll be swinging, leaping, climbing and flying through the trees! For spectators there are pathways that follow the fun obstacle courses which are suitable for the whole family (from 4 years old).

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More on Trees Adventure here.

 

Peel Zoo

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Peel Zoo is found on the banks of the Murray River near Pinjarra. The boutique zoo specialises in Australian native animals and some farm animals too. A ‘hands on” experience is what you can expect here – from handfeeding kangaroos, beautiful birds landing on your shoulder in the walk through aviary, patting friendly farm animals and holding a scaly snake – animal lovers young and old will love Peel Zoo!

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More on Peel Zoo here.

 

Mini Golf

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Take the tourist fun train over the bridge to King Carnival and challenge your family to a game of Mini Golf . The Adventure Golf course has lots of mini sand bunkers and water hazards – you might even get a hole in one like Little Chef did! Afterwards take a ride on the Ferris wheel, for a birds eye view of Mandurah!

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Walking Around Mandurah

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Mandurah is a very walkable place, it’s flat and there’s lots to see and do within a small area. Walk through the leafy foreshore park, where kids love the large playground and you might even spot some dolphins in the water! Have a coffee at one of the estuary-side cafes and treat yourself to a Simmo’s ice cream on the Mandurah Boardwalk.

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Walk a little further over the pedestrian bridge to Dolphin Quay. Browse the market stalls and stop for a bite to eat at one of the many marina side cafes and restaurants.

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There’s certainly plenty to do in Mandurah and the Peel region!

Thanks to Mandurah & Peel Tourism Organisation (MAPTO) we were guests of some of the abovementioned venues. Nothing is exaggerated or embellished. All words and opinions are my own.

 

A Weekend Stay at Seashells Mandurah

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Seashells Mandurah isn’t you average 4.5 star location… It’s a stunning beachside apartment retreat, which was our luxury base for our “Anytime Adventures” in the Peel region. Perfectly placed by the ocean, Seashells is seconds from the markets and cafes of Dolphin Quay and within walking distance of many of Mandurah’s main attractions.

As part of my collaboration with Buy West Eat Best and Peel Tourism, we were invited down to Mandurah for a weekend to experience what the Peel region has to offer a family of foodies. I was almost beside myself with excitement! Other than passing through Mandurah on the way to Margs (in the days before the Forrest Highway), I’d never stopped at the coastal city long enough to really explore what it offers.

The Peel Region – so close to home!

peelStaycations are becoming more and more popular with our busier lifestyles, tighter budgets and the realisation that WA has so much to offer locals. With a travel time of just over one hour, we were barely in the car long enough for Little Chef to ask “Are we there yet?”, before we arrived in sunny Mandurah.

Not only does the Peel region encompass Mandurah, but Jarrahdale and Serpentine to the north, Dwellingup and Boddington to the east and Waroona to the south. It’s a massive area with loads to see and do.

Staying at Seashells

Seashells is really well located next to the beach and also the popular Dolphin Quay, which is best compared to a mini Hillarys Boat Harbour. The friendly Seashells receptionist checked us in and handed us our room keys. As we headed up to the third floor, Little Chef practically ran down the hallway with his luggage he was so excited – and I wasn’t too far behind him!

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As we stepped into room 307 – a two bedroom Ocean View Apartment, we were greeted by the spacious, modern kitchen and beyond that a magnificent view over the ocean. Poor Chef and Little Chef were given STRICT instructions to leave their bags at the door and not to touch a thing, till I took photos! Haha

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There was also a wonderful surprise on the breakfast bar – a welcoming gift from the Mandurah & Peel Tourism Organisation of some excellent Peel wines. How lovely. And even better – they are all whites/rosé so Chef will keep his mitts of them!

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I’m looking forward to cracking these bottles of vino from Millbrook open, as well as a very tasty drop I’m familiar with – the Drakesbrook rosella, which is an excellent rosé.

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The spacious living area has a comfy lounge which overlooks the wrap around balcony.

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When you’re not gazing over the sea, the TV has some Foxtel channels as well as free to air. There’s also dining table for four and a desk. I really love the décor, it’s very beach chic and all the rooms have very vibrant artworks too.

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The kitchen has everything you’d need to cook up a feast, with an oven, fridge/freezer, dishwasher and more. We were definitely having the weekend off cooking, but it was handy to have the kitchen for putting together our breakfasts. It would be perfect for longer stays.

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There’s even a laundry hiding away behind some of the kitchen cupboards.

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Our ocean view bedroom was dominated by a king size bed and had plenty of storage space and a safe in the wardrobes.

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The spacious ensuite was well appointed with a deep spa bath and rainforest shower, as well as good quality toiletries.

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Little Chef was in his own bedroom which he was stoked about, a twin room, which also had its own bathroom with shower.

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There’s lots of other room features, we found these handy:

–        Free wifi

–        Dining setting on balcony

–        Nespresso coffee machine

–        movies on demand

–        docking stations

–        hairdryer

–        safe

–        reverse cycle air-conditioning

 

At Seashells Mandurah there’s also :

–        Free, secure parking

–        A stunning infinity pool, spa and loads of sun loungers

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–        Barbeque and outside dining area

–        A floodlit tennis court

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–        Easy access to the beach

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That pool… what a stunner. The heated pool has a shallow (40cm) paddling area at one end for kids, a spa and a view over the ocean. If our itinerary hadn’t been so full, I’d have happily lazed on a sun lounger with a girly novel while the boys swam in the pool. You really don’t need to travel far to get that relaxed holiday feeling.

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My Suggested Itinerary For a Stay in Mandurah & Peel

You could use a weekend in Mandurah to relax and get away from it all or get out and about and check out the Peel region. Here’s what I’d suggest you pack into your weekend in Mandurah:

FRIDAY

o   Take a cheeky afternoon off work and mosey on down to Seashells Mandurah, found on the beach, for a 2pm check in.

o   Pop your bags down and have a look around your beautifully appointed 4.5 star apartment, admiring the view from the balcony.

o   Then get your walking shoes on! Walk to Dolphin Quay (two minutes away) and over the bridge to Mandurah Boardwalk (an easy 10 minute stroll) for dolphin spotting with Mandurah Cruises on the estuary and canals – don’t forget your camera! Read more on our “Fish n Chip” lunch cruise here.

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o   Walk around Mandurah, have a coffee or Simmo’s ice cream in the foreshore park. Take the tourist fun train over the bridge to King Carnival and challenge your family to a game of Mini Golf – you might even get a hole in one like Little Chef did!

o   Head back to Seashells to freshen up, then enjoy a delish dinner. There are many dining options close by, my tip is to check out Flics Kitchen, where we had a very enjoyable dinner of share plates and scrumptious desserts. Read more on our tasty dinner at Flics Kitchen here.

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SATURDAY

o   Start your day with a hearty breakfast marina side at Café Moka, just a two minute walk from Seashells at Dolphin Quay. Check out these pancakes – demolished by Little Chef. Read more on our scrumptious brunch at Café Moka here.

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o   Then head out for the day to explore the Dwellingup area of the Peel region. For the thrill seeking, zip lining at the Trees Adventure obstacle course is a whole lot of fun for the whole family! Read more on our visit to Trees Adventure here.

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o   After all that swinging from the trees, Pinjarra Bakery is a great stop for a quick and tasty lunch. A top tip – eat your baked goodies in Caldwell Park, by the Murray River, where there’s a fantastic playground for kids. Read more on Pinjarra Bakery here.

o   Peel Zoo, which specialises in Australian native animals, is a must stop for animal lovers! There’s many opportunities to feed and touch furry, feathered and scaly animals throughout the boutique zoo. Read more on our visit to Peel Zoo here.

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o   Enjoy chilling in your comfortable apartment, build sandcastles on the beach and laze by the infinity pool at Seashells Mandurah. Don’t forget your bathers, the pool is heated!

o   Cook up a storm in your well equipped kitchen or check out one of the many dinner options within walking distance at Dolphin Quay, Mandurah Boardwalk and the town centre of Mandurah too.

SUNDAY

o   Enjoy a lazy morning in your Seashells apartment, a coffee from the Nespresso machine and breakfast on your balcony, before check out.

o   Shop up a storm and find something unique to remind you of your Mandurah getaway at the Dolphin Quay Markets.

o   If you need another caffeine fix, my pick is DPM Cafe on Mandurah Terrace. They claim to have the best coffee in Mandurah and we agree that it’s pretty darn good! The fab Frisky Deer, a homewares and coffee shop, is a stones throw from Seashells too.

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o   Drive back to Perth via historic hills village of Jarrahdale. Enjoy a long lunch at Millbrook Winery, where most of the tasty produce is picked fresh from their garden each day. Don’t forget to grab a few bottles of wine from their cellar door before heading home. Read more on our stunning lunch at Millbrook here.

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We genuinely loved our time at Seashells, it was immaculate and would happily stay at any of their WA retreats again. More on Seashells here.

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The three of us loved discovering Mandurah and the Peel Region and absolutely recommend that you check it out – be it for a day trip or extended stay. It’s always the way, when something is so close to home, you tend to overlook it. Mandurah and Peel offers loads for foodies, families and pretty much everyone else! Find out more on what the Peel region has to offer you here.

Thanks to Mandurah & Peel Tourism Organisation (MAPTO) we were guests of Seashells Mandurah as well as some of the abovementioned venues. Nothing is exaggerated or embellished. All words and opinions are my own.

Thank you to everyone for making our Mandurah weekend so magical! Amanda x

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P.S. If I’ve missed your favourite Mandurah or Peel spot – let me know in the comments below!

Trees Adventure, Dwellingup

IMG_7654Now, maybe for the first time ever, I’m going to blog about something that doesn’t involve food. Well, there was a hot chocolate…Resized_20170514_101045.jpeg

As part of my collaboration with Buy West Eat Best for the WA Signature Dish Celebrity Cooking Competition, I’ve been exploring the “Anytime Adventures” that the Peel area has to offer. Peel isn’t just about the coast and Mandurah, it extends all the way east to Dwellingup, where Trees Adventure provides a tree top adventure obstacle courses at Lane Pool Reserve. Offering a variety of flying foxes and tricky challenges, the fun obstacle courses are suitable for the whole family!IMG_7616

When we arrived on a chilly morning I got to warm my hands on a complimentary hot chocolate (since it was Mothers Day!). There’s hot and cold drinks available from the kiosk as well as snacks.IMG_7659

Chef signed the forms and I was “photographer”, I’m not really much of an action woman! We arrived about thirty minutes prior to our allocated two hour session, to allow time for the boys got kitted out in their harnesses, gloves and helmets.IMG_7560

Next up was an introduction on how to use the equipment, including how to safely lock on and off the ropes with the clips. You’re always attached to the rope, which put my mind at rest that it was nice and safe for my boys!IMG_7561

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5 Top Foodie Spots in Mandurah & The Peel Region

Mandurah and the wider Peel area is home to great produce and some top foodie experiences. Relax by the water at a Mandurah café or restaurant and watch the dolphins swim by or head to the hills and enjoy a long lunch at a top winery. Here’s my pick of the top foodie spots in the Peel region for your Anytime Adventures:

Café Moka

IMG_7497Mandurah locals are very lucky to have the waterside Café Moka on their doorstep. Found at Dolphin Quay, the bustling café overlooks the marina, which is a lovely backdrop for a breakfast, lunch or coffee n cake. There’s a lot to choose from on the all day brekkie menu. Our picks are the flavoursome shashuka and the decedent pancake stack, complete with ginger bread and house made banana ice cream.

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Read more on our breakfast at Café Moka here.

Millbrook Winery

IMG_8063A lunch at Millbrook Winery is not to be missed. Found in historic Jarrahdale, in the Perth Hills, the winery is home to a wonderful restaurant. Head Chef, Guy Jeffreys’ fresh produce philosophy means that you’ll have a unique dining experience each time you visit. Most of their produce is grown onsite by the chefs, in the huge vegetable garden, where many unique varieties of veg is found. The exciting food coupled with excellent wines and a beautiful vista from the lakeside restaurant, will make for a memorable meal.

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Read more about our lunch at Millbrook Winery here.

Flics Kitchen

IMG_7446Flics Kitchen is found on the bustling Mandurah foreshore. The Head Chef and owner, Felicity Evans, has created a tastebud tempting modern share menu. Her wait staff are warm and helpful. The drinks offering is well curated with wines, local craft beers and more. We really enjoyed each of the dishes we tried, particularly the sticky n sweet, twice cooked pork belly with crisp puffed pork crackle, crunchy peanuts and a rich chilli and lime caramel. We’d recommend that you visit the popular Flics Kitchen if you’re in Mandurah too – they’re open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

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Read more on our dinner at Flics Kitchen here.

 

Pinjarra Bakery

IMG_1343Pinjarra Bakery is a good place stop for a quick n casual bite to eat. The bakery has won a bag full of awards and we love their sweet and savoury baked goodies. Dine in or takeaway and eat by the Murray River.

Read more on Pinjarra bakery here.

DPM Café

We stopped for our morning coffee fix at DPM on Mandurah Terrace (found next to Flics Kitchen), where they claim to serve the best coffee in Mandurah. The teeny tiny café has a cool vibe and there’s seating outside for sunny days, overlooking the foreshore. There’s also a small selection of fresh bagels, croissants, raw treats and other yummy take away foods. The Geisha coffee really hit the spot!

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Let me know in the comments below if there’s anywhere awesome I should try on my next trip to Mandurah and Peel.

Thanks to Mandurah & Peel Tourism Organisation (MAPTO) we were guests of Millbrook Winery, Flics Kitchen and Café Moka. Nothing is exaggerated or embellished. All words and opinions are my own.

Flics Kitchen, Mandurah

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Flics Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

One thing I love about discovering a town I know little about, like Mandurah, is that I don’t have any preconceived ideas about where I should and shouldn’t dine. I’ve not been brainwashed by a multitude of foodie posts in my social media feeds. Flics Kitchen is just the type of place I would pick for dinner, if I hadn’t already been invited there by the local experts at Mandurah & Peel Tourism Organisation. We arrived early for dinner and we could see that the eatery is a funky morning café by day, which transforms to a buzzing restaurant in the evening.IMG_7432

Flics Kitchen is found on the bustling Mandurah foreshore. The Head Chef and owner, Felicity Evans, has created a tastebud tempting modern share menu. Her wait staff are warm and helpful. The drinks offering is well curated with wines, local craft beers and more. I just had to have a Mojito in Mandurah. It may be almost winter, but I was still keen to lap up the holiday vibe.IMG_7434

The dinner menu, as they say, is “kinda like tapas”. There’s boards and share plates packed with the best of WA produce from Exmouth prawns, Baldivis rabbit, Shark Bay Whiting and a Mandurah favourite – Blue Manna Crab.

We start with Flics Charcuterie board ($31), which is absolutely brimming with goodies! There’s a long list of delicious cured meats including San Jose venison and wild boar salami, La Boqueria Cabacero air dried pork neck, 18 month aged jamon, salami, salumi and more. We agree the pulled pork coquettes and the smoked pork, pistachio and mustard fruit terrine are absolutely delicious. On the side is a house made piccalilli, cornichons and sourdough.IMG_7444

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Fish n Chips on Mandurah Cruises

IMG_7068On 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.IMG_7178

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.IMG_7228

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.IMG_7080

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.IMG_7198

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