An hour’s drive south of Perth, Mandurah is a city with lots going for it. There’s loads of water, thanks to it being perched between the Indian Ocean and the Peel-Harvey Estuary. And the pace of life is a little more relaxed than Perth – the city’s to-do list tends to grow by the month rather than the minute. Here’s a hit list of ideas and addresses to help you make the most of a weekend getaway to Western Australia’s largest regional city.
Hummingbird Waterside Cafe
A steak sandwich or smashed avo and feta? Satay chicken or a grilled chicken burger? A flat white or a glass of white wine? The sprawling menu at Carly Crouch’s waterside cafe on Mandurah Terrace has something for everyone, whether you’re looking for breakfast on the run or keen to make an afternoon of it over whatever craft beer is on rotation. In addition to Hummingbird’s original menu, dedicated vegan offshoot Hummingbird Plant Based is just up the road; you can order its plant-based dishes from the original Hummingbird space and they’ll be brought right to your table.
Ratatouille gnocchi. Pork belly with black-bean sauce. Jamon and rockmelon salad: Brittney and Jason Hutchen’s popular dining room takes inspiration from a variety of regions, but as the restaurant’s crab-inspired name and waterfront setting suggests, Redmanna feels like the sort of place you should be eating seafood. Barramundi comes with a Mediterranean-inspired vegetable ragout, the chilli mussels are served with garlic bread for mopping duty, and seafood towers – crayfish, crab, oysters and all – make staying for one more all too easy.
Stay at Seashells
It’s hard to know where to look when staying at these luxe, self-contained apartments (one-, two- or three-bedroom) and beach villas at Comet Bay. On the one side, there’s the hustle and bustle of Dolphin Quay and the Mandurah Ocean Marina, while the Indian Ocean stretches out in the other direction. Then there’s also an infinity pool on-site vying for your attention, not to mention all the in-house facilities pitched at leisure travellers looking for the pleasures of (temporary) life on the coast with all the mod cons. And when night falls, the surrounding city twinkles.
Mandurah is home to plenty of baked goods of note. The Pinjarra French Hot Bread Shop serves classic cakes and pastries alongside pan-Asian favourites (think banh mi and XO crab), while Miami Bake House remains a go-to for pies. Another place worth a spot on your rotation is this cafe on Zephyr Mews serving house-made Viennoiserie such as croissants, pain au chocolat and pain aux raisins. Macarons are Lily Paris’s other calling card. In addition to the sugary stuff, toasties and coffee are available.
Canoe, kayak or stand-up paddle the estuary
Fun fact: the Peel-Harvey Estuary is twice the size of Sydney Harbour, and it’s the largest, most diverse estuarine complex in south-western Australia. Translation: there are a lot of pockets for visitors to explore. From native bird life and dolphins to the mansions on the canals, the region’s waterways offer spectacular sights galore. A number of local companies offer canoe, kayak and paddleboard hire, lessons and guided tours.
The Peninsula Bar and Restaurant
All that paddling and pointing at glamorous homes sure does work up a thirst. Rehydrate with the locals at this foreshore bar and beer garden that ticks the boxes for laid-back pub vibes. Cheeseburgers, Cumberland sausages and a dedicated vegan menu seek to comfort rather than challenge, while the drinks list runs the gamut from craft and big-name beers to cocktails and a nice cross-section of primarily West Australian wines.
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