The Best Things to Do in Mandurah, Australia

Lake Clifton in Yalgorup National Park boasts the largest thrombolite reef in the Southern Hemisphere
Lake Clifton in Yalgorup National Park boasts the largest thrombolite reef in the Southern Hemisphere | © s_porter01 / Getty Images
Western Australia’s second-largest city is even more laid-back than Perth. Less than an hour’s drive south, Mandurah is a city built around the water, from the canals that crisscross through the city to the estuary, the boardwalk and the marina.

There’s more than meets the eye in Mandurah, with plenty of things to do, from dolphin-spotting and boating to riding through the countryside on a steam train, joining an Aboriginal Dreamtime tour or discovering living fossils in Yalgorup National Park. Mandurah makes for a pretty exciting day trip or a great place to escape for a long weekend.

Take to the water

Natural Feature

Australia’s Venice, Mandurah’s inner-city canals are home to thousands of dolphins who playfully cruise through the waterways. Hire a boat, a jet ski or even a pirate ship, grab a SUP or a kayak, or jump on a tour and take to the water. The canals are especially popular at Christmas when the lights and decorations bring visitors from far and wide.

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Visit the Mandurah Boardwalk

The heart of the city, and a bit of a one-stop-shop, Mandurah’s Boardwalk is home to a wide array of restaurants, cafés, accommodation, bars, shops and boutiques, along with the Dolphin Quay, the Ocean Marina and the Mandurah Performing Arts Centre. Overlooking Mandjar Bay, where you can often see dolphins playing in the water, the Boardwalk also hosts the weekly Farmers’ Market, where you can pick up local produce and artisan gifts.

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Go on a Mandjoogoordap Dreamtime Tour

Originally known as Mandjoogoordap, or meeting place of the heart, the waterways around Mandurah were home to the Bindjareb people of the Noongar Nation for tens of thousands of years before Europeans arrived in the 1830s. Learn more about the history of the region by joining a cultural custodian on an interactive tour of modern-day Mandurah and uncover the secrets of Mandurah’s First People, including Aboriginal Dreamtime stories and ancient traditions that have been passed down through the generations.

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Hotham Valley Steam Train

Fancy a ride along the steepest railway in WA on an old steam train? Take a 40-minute drive from Mandurah to Dwellingup where you can climb on board a historic train for a two-hour journey back in time across the Darling Ranges. Settle in for afternoon tea with scones and cream, or opt for a five-course meal on the Restaurant Train in the evening.

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Halls Head Coastal Walk

Explore more of the coastline with this 12km (7.5mi) Indian Ocean trail. Start at Doddi’s Beach on Halls Head Parade and follow the track south to Seascapes or Falcon Bay. Perfect for walking or cycling, the Halls Head track has plenty of lookout spots where you can stop to take in the view, and catch a glimpse of dolphins, whales and seals.

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Visit Yalgorup National Park, Waroona and Pinjarra

Half an hour south of Mandurah, Lake Clifton in Yalgorup National Park has the largest thrombolite reef in the Southern Hemisphere. You’d be forgiven for thinking these living fossils were just stepping stones on the water, but they’re much more complex and interesting than that. After checking out the 15-km-long (9mi) reef from the boardwalk, go for a wander through the peppermint gums and tuart forests, before heading inland to the historic townships of Waroona and Pinjarra, home to Peel Zoo.

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These recommendations were updated on July 10, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.