Bunbury is the perfect getaway for tourists visiting Perth, located just over an hour and a half drive away. With beautiful beaches and coastal landscapes, there’s plenty to do on your day off. Whether you’re looking for family-friendly activities or more adult pursuits, we’ve got you covered with our list of things to do in Bunbury.
Did you know that Bunbury has Australia’s largest inland sea? To learn more about this area, visit the Maritime Museum at Victoria Quays Marina or go diving with Bunbury Scuba Centre! If it’s a sunny day, then head down to the beach and enjoy some time swimming in one of Western Australia’s most beautiful environments.
Bunbury is a small coastal town on the southwest coast of Western Australia. It’s best known for its beautiful beaches and relaxed lifestyle. With so much to do in Bunbury, you’re sure to find something that suits your interests – whether you prefer to relax or have some fun. So what for dinnerMarket are you waiting for? Come explore Bunbury!
The cosmopolitan city of Bunbury is renowned for its wild but friendly bottlenose dolphins, which you can meet at the shoreline or out in the bay aboard a dolphin watching and swimming tour.
It’s also the setting of many maritime legends and the northern gateway to Australia’s South West – one of the most biodiverse regions on Earth, where world-class wine, pristine beaches and forests of timber giants can all be enjoyed in a single day.
Hitting the Kwinana Freeway and Forrest Highway south of Perth, you’ll be beside the blue waters of Koombana Bay in under two hours. Regular charter flights from Perth will get you to Bunbury in the blink of an eye. If the idea of arriving by sea appeals, Bunbury is also included in the summer itineraries of many Australian cruise packages.
To meet Bunbury’s friendliest locals, make a beeline for the Dolphin Discovery Centre. Here, on the shores of Koombana Bay, a dedicated interpretive centre and interaction zone allows visitors to encounter some of the 100 plus bottlenose dolphins who frequent its calm waters. Stand knee-deep in the shallows and wait for them to come to you, or join a tour for a viewing or swimming experience.
At nearby Mangrove Cove in the Leschenault Estuary, nature lovers can get a glimpse of what the coast looked like 20,000 years ago with a walkthrough of Western Australia’s southern-most mangroves.
Golfers can swing by one of three internationally-renowned courses, and young families will find more animal encounters in the region’s wildlife parks.
In the nearby Ferguson Valley lies a veritable feast of award-winning wines, fresh produce, local crafts, dazzling spring wildflowers, beautiful tuart forests, meandering waterways and captivating historic country towns.
Those in search of dawn-to-dusk buzz should head for Bunbury’s ‘cappuccino strip’, waterside restaurants and the bright lights of the Entertainment Centre. Earning its reputation as a cultural hub, Bunbury’s event-filled calendar features opera, drama, comedy and the work of renowned Australian contemporary artists.
The accommodation options offer just as much choice, from well-appointed beachfront resorts to city motels and budget-friendly chalets, caravan parks and backpackers.
What to do in Bunbury
Our first stop was picturesque Ferguson Farmstay, a function centre for a lot of weddings and boutique accommodation. It’s a 45-hectare property sitting on top of the hill, taking advantage of the views across the valley all the way to Bunbury and the coast.
Kalyra and Savannah got to hang out with some farm animals – always a treat for the kids. They fed the goats and pigs, kangaroos, and chickens. And then had a pony ride. It was Savannah’s first one, and she jumped off, asking if we could buy her a pony!
Cottages to rent: Peppermint Lane Lodge
Down into the rain-forested valley are beautiful cottages to rent at Peppermint Lodge, for adults only. Kim, the owner, lovingly welcomed the girls in though for a vintage morning tea served in vintage on the shady verandah overlooking the mountain.
Kalyra and Savannah helped Kim feed the chicken and collect the eggs, which were put into a small bucket (filled with leaves) to be taken to the kitchen for the next day’s breakfast.
Australia doesn’t have many zany, quirky attractions or traditions. Gnomesville is one of them.
The gnomes started appearing to protest the building of the roundabout silently. Finally, they have kicked off the roundabout, and so a tiny gnome village was created for them just off the side of the road.
It now stretches some distance back into the forest and is covered with thousands of gnomes that have migrated from all over Australia and around the world.
I’d had enough after 20 minutes, but could not drag the girls away from traipsing through the alleyways of Gnomesville and discovering gnomes like those trapped behind the fence of the detention centre (cracked me up!!), flying planes, playing cricket, climbing logs and hiding in bushes.
It is quite entertaining. Don’t forget to take your gnomes with you when you go and leave a bit of your gnome spirit behind.
Gnomesville is located by the roundabout at the junction of Wellington Mill and Ferguson Roads, Wellington Mill, approximately 30 minutes drive from Bunbury.
St Aidan Winery for lunch
We stopped at Aidan Winery for a quick bite to eat – a tasty homemade soup and salad. The name derives from the district’s historic church that sits on its boundary.
It has a pretty outlook, and there is ample open space for the kids to turn around on.
We didn’t taste the wines or stay for long, but we recommend it as a place to check out on your visit to the Ferguson Valley. The cellar door is open every day except Wednesday.
Ferguson Falls Winery
Jo and I (and Craig) were ready for wine tasting by the end of the day. So we sat down to a platter of cheese with the owner, Peter Giumelli. He told us lots of stories of the region, which highlighted a warm and welcoming community focused on keeping that home-grown flavour and sharing it with the outside community to come and enjoy on a visit.
The outlook over the farm and vineyards offers a tranquil afternoon experience. We left with a couple of bottles of wine – a delicious drop that tells stories. My favourite was the Chardonnay Verdelho 2010.
Ferguson Falls Winery is opened on Fri, Sat, Sun, & long weekends from 11.00 am to 5.00 pm – or call Peter and Margaret to arrange a suitable time for your visit. A cafe for lunch had just been opened when we visited.
The Dolphin Discovery Centre
We wrote about our experiences visiting with the wild dolphins at Monkey Mia here. It’s probably the most famous place in Australia to have this experience. The only problem is, it’s a massive detour from anywhere to get there. We also found it too busy, and we were there in the quiet season.
We enjoyed the wild dolphin experience at the Discovery Centre in Bunbury more. This is because there were fewer people, it’s not far to drive from Perth, and we saw more dolphins. (but that’s purely a luck thing, so don’t base your decision on that, as the dolphins are wild).
The Discovery Centre also has more options than just a wild dolphin experience. Inside the centre is a wide variety of interactive exhibitions and talks. The girls loved learning more about octopuses here with the ranger.
They giggled their heads off when the octopus poked his head out of his aquarium home and spurted water over everyone. What an incredible real-life experience for them.
Nearby there’s a quiet and lovely beach just down the road from the Mantra. There are watersports to enjoy, a cafe and a beautiful beach to sit on. The water is calm for swimming.
We partnered with Mantra on our 18 month trip around Australia, and the Mantra in Bunbury made for a comfortable escape from our camper trailer for a few nights!
The apartments had beautiful views out over the water, and we had a delightful afternoon playing tennis together as a family.
For the first time in my life (after many attempts), I actually beat Craig in a game!! Kalyra was most proud of how I carved him up!
The Mantra is easy walking distance to town and the beach, AND we could see the local Moo brewery from our balcony. However, we did not test it as we had just come off a joyous festive season and needed a break!
Make Sure not to miss
Increase Your Intake Of Arts & Culture
Ease yourself in with Bunbury’s street and public art, the most extensive collection in regional Australia. Get your copy of ReDiscover and Outside the Box Street Art Map by Six Two Three Zero and find inspirational urban art and whimsical characters painted by leading WA artists on 20 electrical boxes scattered through the CBD.
Bunbury is also home to Australia’s best performing entertainment centre –the Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre (BREC); the Bunbury Regional Art Galleries (BRAG), the most extensive WA regional art gallery, Australia’s biggest music festival, and performing arts organisations, including the South West Opera Company and Philharmonic South West.
With legend festivals, mind-blowing art, or awesome warehouse music events, your cultural Charaka will be blessed.
Visit Victoria Street
Wander down one of Bunbury’s most-loved streets. Victoria Street is known for cute, independent shops, restaurants, small bars and great street-side people watching.
For dinner, market Eating House is a perennial, local favourite and a West Australian Good Food Guide Top 25 Casual Dining Restaurant. Foodies should also venture to the Marlston Hill Waterfront or East Bunbury near the Parade Hotel.
Swim With Majestic Wild Dolphins
Koombana Bay is home to a large population of bottlenose dolphins and serves as a resting area and breeding ground. A group of around 100 to 150 dolphins is regularly seen in the bay and surrounding waters.
Join the Dolphin Discovery Centre team for a private swim with wild dolphins in their natural environment. If you’re not keen on getting wet, take a 1.5 hour Dolphin Eco Cruise within Koombana Bay or pay a visit to their new $12M interpretative centre.
Find A Treddly
The city is eminently manageable by foot, but Bunbury is a great place to explore by bike too. Barbarians love the outdoors, so the city has a plethora of walking and bike trails. For an epic ride, take a Fat Bike Beach tour with Melo Velo.
Leaving their bike shop come cafe at 5 pm, the ride takes you into the beautiful Maidens, around an awesome loop and then back into the CBD along the beach. Bike hire is available at Melo Velo and the Bunbury Visitor Centre.
Discover The New Face Of Public Art
A new majestic sculpture watches over Koombana Bay in Bunbury Geographe. Discover the Wardandi Boodja, a five-and-half-metre steel bust sculpture representing a Noongar face created by local artists Alex and Nicole Mickle of Safehaven Studios alongside design engineer Mike Kimble. More than a year in the making, the bust commissioned by the City of Bunbury was officially unveiled in February 2019.
Bend The Credit Card
No visit to BunGeo’s capital is complete without a little shopping spree. So go forth and explore the boutiques hidden in old warehouses, downside streets and more. Of course, as the South West’s shopping capital, you will also find an array of high street shops, department stores and more.
Chase The Views
Any itinerary should include the short but steep walk up to the Marlston Hill Lookout. It gives you a 360 view of the City of 3 Waters. Connected to Victoria Street by a timber stairway, it sits on the site of Bunbury’s first lighthouse.
For a rigorous climb, Boulters Heights between Wittenoom Street and Haig Crescent also offers fabulous city views. The newest vantage point in Bunbury is the Koombana Park Lookout which overlooks Leschenault Inlet, the Mangrove BoardWalk and Koombana Bay.
Snap a selfie-of-the-day in front of our much-loved checkered lighthouse, on top of volcanic lava formed millions of years ago at Wyalup-Rocky Point – it’s awesome at sunset or within the mysterious Paperbarks at Big Swamp Wetlands. Our kangaroos at Bunbury Wildlife Park aren’t camera shy either (ED note: we’re still working on the dingoes).
Find A Beach
The serene Koombana Bay is one of only a few north-facing Australian beaches, and with its new foreshore redevelopment, its popularity, particularly amongst families, is skyrocketing. Our resident dolphins love it too! On the other side of the CDB, Bunbury’s Back Beach is the place to go for bodyboarding fun, or for those who like clothing-optional head south to Mindalong.
The streets of Bunbury’s CBD are filled with history and mystery. From a school attended by former WA Premier Sir Newton Moore, the family home of Western Australia’s most famous pioneering family, impressive buildings built by a convict’s son, 80s inspired Alan Bond architecture, to sacred sites of our Noongar first settlers. Make sure you stop at the Bunbury Museum & Heritage Centre too.
Find Mangroves And Maritime History
Bunbury’s Mangrove Walk is a truly spectacular way to stretch your legs. The mangroves are a freak occurrence and the southernmost mangroves in Western Australia. Then, continue around the Leschenault Inlet, a serene waterway with a dual-use walkway that winds past the mangroves and toward a restaurant-fringed shoreline.
Cross over Koombana Footbridge, which celebrates the 13 shipwrecks of Kopmbana Bay. Finish up at the Marlston Waterfront Precinct – see the bust of French Explorer Nicolas Baudin and read about the city’s rich maritime history.
Get On A High
Get on a high with a Scenic Flight. A scenic flight with the Bunbury Aero Club is a guaranteed boast-worthy trip. It’s the best way to see the BunGeo, with 30 min or 1-hour options.
You can design your own flight plan or upgrade to a Trail Introductory Flight and learn to fly while you’re at it. Adrenaline junkies should try the Warbird Experience and experience the world of radials and aerobatics, piloted by a trained professional flight instructor.
Have A Water Adventure
Set sail for a day on Ocean West Charters – they have a range of options, including short bay cruises with the dolphins of Koombana Bay, to weekend holidays. Anchor for lunch, take a swim, or relax on the deck and soak up the sun.
Or, join a crew at Koombana Bay Sailing Club for their Wednesday night twilight sail. Next, cruise the Koombana Bay and the Leschenault Estuary on the Elandra by Three Water Cruises if a slower pace is more your style. Then, have a genuinely memorable undersea experience, diving on Lena Ship Wreck with Octopus Garden Dive Charters.
Finally, try the fastest growing water sport that’s also loads of fun. On the shores of Koombana Bay, WATSUP Hire Bunbury offers paddleboard hire. If you’ve mastered your SUP board and are ready for your next challenge, test your balance with SUP Yoga.
Immerse Yourself In Noongar Culture
Taste black apples straight from the tree and wash your hands with foaming wattle leaves on a Ngalang Wongi Aboriginal Cultural Tour. Local Noongar Tour guide Troy Bennell has made sure the tours are in-depth and honour his Indigenous heritage.
Stock Up On Fresh Produce At Bunbury Farmers Markets
This place is legendary, so much so, many of Perth ‘golden triangle residents travel the two-hour drive to shop at the Bunbury Farmers Markets.
Much of it is sourced from surrounding farms, the produce here is primarily organic and explodes with flavour. Grab gourmet pies, the most amazing local and French cheeses, hand-pressed juices to go, and oh so much more. Alternatively, whet your appetite at a wonderful bi-weekly ode to all things fresh and artisanal at The Bunbury Markets Queens Gardens.