Your Ultimate Guide to Mandurah
1st August 2023
Mandurah in a nutshell
Mandurah, WA’s largest regional city, is less than an hour from Perth. Originally known as Mandjoogoordap – ‘meeting place of the heart’, the city is known for its chilled out atmosphere, beautiful seaside location and abundance of water-based activities. There are heaps of things to do in Mandurah for all ages, making it perfect for a weekend escape from Perth.
Initially inhabited by the Bindjareb people of the Bibbulmun Nation, Mandurah was a place where people lived off the land; catching fish, and collecting berries and fruits from the region. However, in 1831 – only two years after the establishment of the Swan River Colony – a site was laid out for the establishment of a new town; Mandurah. It would be a small settlement, home to only few residents.
Maintaining its small size for over one hundred years, the town later boomed in the 1950s when it became a commuter belt city for people working in Pinjarra, Kwinana and Perth. Today, Mandurah is a popular day trip and weekend escape destination for those living in Perth, thanks its relaxed feel and its abundance of restaurants, bars, beaches and activities.
Your weekend getaway from Perth
You might not know that Mandurah has an estuary twice the size of Sydney Harbour! This charming little city really is all about the water. Set against a wonderful landscape of beaches, the city is known for its peaceful nature and fabulous marina. And not only boasting some of the best beaches in the region, Mandurah is also laced with canals, making it great for actives such as SUP boarding, kayaking, and boat hire.
Away from the centre, Mandurah also boasts wetlands of international importance, where birds flourish year round. You’ll also find the southern hemisphere’s largest thrombolite reef here. Plus, the sea is teeming with dolphins, which you might be able to spot from a kayak or boat.
Looking to just kick back and enjoy Mandurah from the shore? That’s okay too! Bring a fishing rod and some equipment to catch crabs, and you can easily spend a day by the water with the whole family, soaking up the natural environment.
Whatever you’re hoping to get from a sunny weekend escape from Perth, you’ll no doubt find it here. In this ultimate guide to Mandurah, we share some of the best things to do in the city and its surrounds. Plus, we’ll also talk about a few of the best restaurants, cafes and bars and suggest our favourites.
Read on to learn about all of the best things to do in Mandurah!
Things to do in Mandurah
Embark on a tour with Manjoogoodarp
In the local dialect of the region’s first people, ‘Mandjoo’ means ‘meeting place’ and ‘goordap’ means ‘of the heart’. The local name for Mandurah – ‘Mandjoogoordap’ – therefore means ‘meeting place of the heart’. Learn lots more about the region and hear its stories with the help of a tour from Mandjoogoordap Dreaming. Join your tour host on a unique journey through Mandurah and take away some lasting memories. You’ll take away lessons in bushcraft, hunting skills, bush foods, local plants and animals and much more. Learn about what people in Mandurah have been doing for thousands of years, and book onto a tour with Mandjoogoordap Dreaming!
Take a dip in Mandurah’s estuary pool
One of the best things to do in Mandurah is to visit the new estuary pool! Named Kwillena Gabi (dolphin waters) by the traditional owners, the estuary in Mandurah is home to lots of marine life. Thanks to a new pool here, you can swim within the estuary in a safe, child-friendly environment.
Opening only in December 2021, the new estuary pool is a fantastic new attraction to Mandurah. With a depth of 4.5 metres at one end and with much shallower water in other areas, this beautiful pool is suitable for little ones and adults. Ramp access to the water is available and there is a pontoon around the entire pool, making the water super easy to access. One of the most exciting things about Kwillena Gabi estuary pool is that there is no net! So, if you’re lucky enough you might find yourself swimming with a pod of dolphins.
Chill out at the beach in Mandurah
There’s no better way to enjoy Mandurah than by spending a day at one of its nearby beaches. Blessed with white sand, dunes and fabulous water, the beaches near Mandurah are idyllic and often not busy. Here are some of our favourite beaches in the region:
Located just next to Dolphin Quay, Town Beach is a scenic spot popular with locals. The sand here is white and silky and the shape of the beach is nice and curved, making for a beautiful setting. Head here for a family friendly beach option and for some nice swimming conditions.
Found a little further down the coast in Dawesville, Florida Beach is a lovely quiet spot where locals enjoy relaxing strolls. Bring the kids here to find some amazing shells! As a long stretch of sand, this beach is perfect for a walk and to escape from the busier areas in and around Mandurah.
Madora Beach is a fabulous local beach. Most often uncrowded, it’s the perfect place to take a walk or to sit and enjoy sunset. Featuring new viewing platforms, this beach is great for photography too.
Hire your own boat
One of the best things to do in Mandurah is to take to the water and witness the scenery from the surface. Whether it’s a luxury option or just a dinghy, get yourself on the water with the help of Mandurah Boat Hire. Choose from pontoon boats, luxury Sun Tracker-style boats and dinghies and enjoy scenic views as you roll through the canals.
You might even be lucky enough to spot dolphins as you go. With Mandurah Boat Hire, you’ll also be provided with charts, maps and safety gear, which helps you navigate the water in the safest possible way. Sit at the helm, enjoy a cold drink and admire views all day. All you have to do once you’re done, is end your hire at the jetty and walk straight off!
Hire a bike and take a coastal ride through Mandurah
Mandurah is a great place to ride a bike. With accessible trails, flat surfaces and great signage, just about anyone can give it a go! Grab your bike from the Bike Kiosk and take to the trails for a morning ride, or something a little longer.
A great place to start when it comes to riding a bike in Mandurah is the 4.5km Bridges Ride. Taking you around the foreshore and canals, as well as to the nearby Samphire Wetlands, you’ll see it all with this quick ride. Alternatively, make your ride longer with the Bridges Loop, starting at Mandurah Visitor Centre and using trail notes to discover the rich history of the city.
Another great option for a bike ride in Mandurah involves a 15km route which takes you a little deeper in nature. Boasting views along the way, you’ll see Mandurah Ocean Marina, a giant Rock Lobster and Town Beach as you ride.
Spot dolphins from a water bike
We all know about boats, about kayaks, SUP boards, jet skis and so on. But have you ever heard of a water bike? Another way to explore Mandurah’s glistening estuary is to hire a water bike with Mandurah Cruises. Gliding across the water, you’ll be able to see Mandurah from a completely different perspective. On your very own sleek catamaran cycle, you’ll see all the sites of Mandjar Bay and you might even spot some dolphins. These high-performance water bikes can be hired for 30 minutes or an hour, giving you plenty of time to explore the area and get some unique exercise!
Take to the water in a BBQ Boat
Yet another glorious way to see Mandurah is by hiring a BBQ Boat. A BBQ Boat is pretty much exactly as it sounds! With a parasol overhead, a table and BBQ in the middle and seats around the outside, your eco-friendly electric boat is equipped with everything you need for a relaxing day on the water. Revel in 360-degree views and spot dolphins as you glide across the water. The donut shape of the boats give you a unique opportunity to socialise in your group whilst gaining beautiful views of the sparkling water. Don’t forget to pack the champagne!
Board a tiny train
If you’re in Mandurah with kids, you’ll be looking for a few things to keep them entertained. One such option is the Tourist Fun Train Company. Board the miniature train – the Big Toot – which runs along the eastern foreshore here and get some great views and laughs with your family.
Wander through Mandurah’s Dolphin Quay
Dolphin Quay is one of Mandurah’s most iconic sites. With food, drinks, live music shops and more, it’s a great place to enjoy a sunny day. Whilst stationed here for the afternoon, you’ll enjoy a perfect backdrop of the ocean. But if it’s a walk you’re after, Dolphin Quay is a relaxing place to do that too. A boardwalk as well as a small park and plenty of shade provides the perfect setting for a stroll as you get to know Mandurah. You could even stop for an ice cream on the way!
Spend a day at Amaze Miniature Park
Spread across four acres of beautiful gardens, Amaze Miniature Park is a good place to spend the morning with the family. Filled with miniature buildings, model trains, lego displays, a hedge maze, mini golf, pedal cars and much more, the park offers plenty of activities for half a day of excitement!
Whilst this place is undoubtedly for the kids, you might be interested to know that most of the model buildings are replicas of well-known historic buildings from Abingdon Village (the oldest continually inhabited town in England). They also replicate parts of the United Kingdom, Germany, and France. Bring your lunch and sit under the trees to enjoy a picnic, or visit the Tiny Teapot Cafe for a spot of lunch. Mini golf is free with your admission, so don’t miss out!
Go for a walk and explore the local nature
Looking for a walk a little further away from Mandurah’s city centre? There are endless places to choose from. One option for a quiet walk involves heading to Lake Goegrup. Walking along the boardwalk here, your 45 minute stroll has three viewing spots, benches, information boards and boasts heaps of bird life. Spot pelicans, ducks, ibis and more during your visit.
A second option for your walk is at Yalgorup National Park. Stretching from Mandurah to Myalup, the large national park is home to ten magnificent lakes which support native plants and wildlife including some threatened species. In fact, the area is an internationally recognised RAMSAR wetland system. The 6-kilometre Lake Pollard Walk is a common choice amongst locals, with its fantastic vantage points for birdwatching and relatively flat track. There are plenty of picnic tables here if you’re staying for the day.
Take the kids to Ranger Red Zoo & Conservation Park
There are lots of things to do in Mandurah when you’re visiting with kids, and Ranger Red Zoo & Conservation Park is just another thing to add to the list. Renowned for its massive walk-through aviary, up-close encounters with dingos and koalas and its Tasmanian devils it’s a wonderful spot to learn about Australian wildlife. There are well over 150 species of birds and animals here, including exotic birds, reptiles, spotted quolls, possums, owls and more. Whilst this might be another day out for the kids, you’d be kidding yourself suggesting it was only for them!
Visit Lake Clifton Thrombolites
Mandurah’s nearby Thrombolites are one of the biggest attractions in the area, especially for geology fans. With a limestone colour and rounded shape, the Lake Clifton Thrombolites were built by organisms which resemble the earliest forms of life. The discovery of these rocks here, revealed to scientists the significance of micro-organisms in the environment and the history of life on Earth.
Whilst not everything is known about the rocks, one main theory is that they are created thanks to upwellings of fresh groundwater that is high in calcium carbonate. The tiny micro-organisms living in the water here are able to precipitate calcium carbonate from the waters, forming solid structures; or thrombolites. Visit Lake Clifton with the help of the board walks and return with some otherworldly photographs!
Cafes in Mandurah
Australians love to drink coffee, and cafe culture stands strong! That’s why, during your visit to Mandurah, you should pop into a cafe or two and try some local coffee and tasty treats. Here are a few of our favourite cafes in Mandurah:
Bringing a tropical feel to Mandurah, Mataya Eatery serves up wholesome breakfast, brunch and lunch using seasonal produce. You’ll find plenty of options and some funky treats you may not have seen before. Their acai bowls are great, as is the fresh bread.
Stop by Cafe Moka for a coffee and soak up the bright and breezy location. Views over breakfast of the beautiful wharf at Mandurah Quay shouldn’t be missed. Plus, breakfast items such as mushroom bruschetta, buttermilk pancakes and sweet potato latke are the best in town.
The Hummingbird Waterside Cafe
Right in the heart of Mandurah foreshore you can find The Hummingbird Waterside Cafe. Head here for nutritious and delicious foods as well as plenty of sweet treats. Its sister location only two doors up is 100% plant-based.
Restaurants in Mandurah
Lunch and dinner in Mandurah are well taken care of. Home to some locally inspired eateries but also some international cuisine, there’s a bit of something for everyone here.
Steak sandwiches at Brewvino are incredibly tasty, as are the crispy chicken wings and pillowy gnocchi. If you’re hungry and looking for some hearty food made with high quality produce, it’s here you’ll want to visit.
For a casual bistro style meal look no further than Pontoons restaurant located within the Atrium hotel, from wood fired pizza to burgers to aged steaks. With a bar it’s a great to relax for a drink or a meal, well priced too!
Boston Burgers does what it says in the name; it serves up incredible burgers. Famous for their smashed patties which rival Perth’s best, this burger joint has all the best burger options you can imagine as well as a cosy fireplace to keep you warm in the winter months.
Fans of Korean cuisine should head to Bob Jo for a guaranteed great meal. Located near the foreshore, you should totally swap your fish and chips for crispy fried chicken or flavourful japchae.
Bars in Mandurah
Perth might have some incredible bars, but Mandurah does alright too! Home to some great breweries and boutiquey bars, this is an up and coming spot when it comes to bar venues. Here are some of the best:
Little Stiller, situated on the Mandurah Terrace, offers a picturesque view of the Mandurah Estuary. The distillery produces two vodkas and four unique gins, all crafted onsite using locally sourced botanicals. In addition to their distillery, the boutique venue offers a tasting plate experience to try out their signature creations. Their menu also includes a selection of classic cocktails with a playful twist.
Brewvino is another perfect spot to unwind and enjoy a refreshing beverage or delicious food on the boardwalk while overlooking the Mandurah foreshore. Their lunch and dinner menu features fresh, locally-sourced ingredients and offers a variety of options to satisfy all appetites. Craft beers, tap beers, wines and cocktails are all available, making Brewvino a versatile venue for any occasion.
Three Rivers Brewing Company
Three Rivers Brewing Company is a small, family-owned and run microbrewery. Found in the beautiful Peel Region of WA, the philosophy is simple; create award-winning beers made from only the finest ingredients. Nearly all products conform to the strict German beer purity law, and only water, malt, hops and yeast is present in most of their beers. Head here for some honest beers and tonnes of flavour!
The Bridge is a comfortable tavern and friendly bar where people gather from the local community. Featuring a menu of cold beers, wines and cocktails, there’s a whole lot to choose from. You could also grab some share plates here too. The Bridge actually combines two building together, which have an interesting history. Granny Cooper’s cottage was constructed in 1862, whilst Sutton’s Corner Store which was built by Granny Cooper’s daughter and began trading in late 1929. Today, the community feel is just as strong!
Aus Weekend Escapes’ Top Hotel Pick!
Mandurah’s Atrium Hotel is without a doubt one of the best places to stay in the city. Iconic amongst the skyline of Mandurah, the hotel boasts a fully listened bar, swimming pool, saunas, a spa, barista, a restaurant, function rooms and stunning balcony views. Affordable at the same time as being conveniently located, the hotel is a favourite amongst visitors to the region.
Guest rooms at The Atrium Mandurah are modern, fresh and comfortable. Some rooms have been newly refurbished, with beautiful kitchens and minimalist furnishings. All rooms offer a refrigerator, air-conditioning, a private balcony and tea/coffee making amenities.
To book your room at The Atrium Mandurah, click here.