While Perth and Broome may be lauded as Western Australia’s two most popular kids on the block, some of the state’s lesser known destinations are beginning to make a name for themselves. For travellers seeking an idyllic weekend getaway, the Mandurah and Peel Region offers an eclectic ensemble of restaurants, accommodation, and activities to suit any type of venturer.
Discover Australia’s very own answer to Venice in Mandurah thanks to its labyrinth of enchanting waterways, or explore forests and meandering rivers in more remote areas of the Peel Region. With each destination offering something unique, you can be guaranteed to find your patch of WA country splendour for a weekend getaway.
We all know that Western Australia is more than familiar with its fair share of sun, so when winter descends it can feel a little rough. But rather than fighting the winter blues, why not embrace the season with a weekend in a cosy ocean-front villa or indulgent bush retreat.
Lazy River Boutique
If the bitter chills have left you with a hankering for some comforting and elegant indulgence, a visit to Lazy River Boutique Bed and Breakfast may just satisfy your craving. Owners Liz and Steve had been working in the luxury international hotel market for many years, and in 2007 they transferred this experience and passion into the opening of Lazy River.
The stately house boasts four beautifully-appointed suites, with each coming with a jarrah-benchtop kitchenette, complimentary Wi-Fi, and a plasma TV. To unwind, make use of the spa bath and luxury products from Mount Romance and the Natural Olive Soap Factory. Set amidst a five-acre property with a lush orchard, guests can also experience activities in the surrounds including scenic river walks and fishing from the property’s private jetty.
The Sebel Mandurah
The Sebel has long been associated with quality accommodation, and The Sebel Mandurah is no exception to the rule. Situated on the glistening waterfront of the Mandurah Estuary, the 4.5 star hotel offers various room types and apartments, offering either panoramic estuary views or scenic canal vistas.
The upscale rooms come with Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs, and all are decorated with stylish and practical furnishings. Beyond the room, the hotel also provides a stellar line up of facilities which include an outdoor pool, and a spa centre if your perfect weekend getaway involves a pampered massage. Downstairs, the hotel complex houses a mix of cafes, restaurants and bars, so you don’t need to travel far if you’re in need of some extra entertainment.
Mandurah Quay Resort
If you’re hoping to have some quality one-on-one time with your loved one this winter, the tasteful independent villas offered at Mandurah Quay Resort might just be for you. Situated on the Peel Inlet Beach, the Quay Resort provides quality accommodation in the form of different villas. With various occupancy rates available, each villa includes a kitchen, reverse cycle air-conditioning, and a corner spa.
The resort also boasts a communal pool and spa, and the surrounding bird conservation area makes for an ideal walking destination hand-in-hand. For some outdoor tucker, make use of the provided BBQ and recline in the natural, serene surrounds for dinner. Otherwise, the hotel’s own restaurant, Mandurah Quay Waterside, serves reliable Australian classics including steak and schnitzel.
Mandurah is recognised for its sweeping ocean views, and at Seashells Mandurah you can experience all this beauty from the comfort of a high-quality apartment. Ideally positioned between the ocean and Peel Estuary, Seashells Mandurah offers a mix of luxury self-contained apartments, which come with flat-screen TVs, fully-equipped kitchens, and rich scenic vistas. For something a little more indulgent, why not book a beachfront villa and marvel at the spectacular ocean views from your very own furnished deck!
As well as offering quality apartments, Seashells Mandurah also has various communal facilities including an ocean-view hot tub, a heated outdoor infinity pool, and free BBQ access for those wanting to eat in. If you’d rather head out and explore, Seashells Mandurah is in easy reach of notable restaurants, galleries, and attractions.
Australia continues to pride itself on its culinary efforts and freshly-grown produce, and Mandurah and the Peel Region adhere to this with resounding success. Discerning palettes will be satisfied by carefully prepared dishes which evoke the true gastronomic spirit of this rural region.
Redmanna Waterfront Restaurant
Redmanna gleefully holds the coveted title of “Gold Plate Winner 2015 Best Seafood Restaurant in WA”, and with the precise culinary execution of acclaimed Chef Jason Hutchen it’s easy to see why. Specialising in modern Australian cuisine with a focus on seafood, Redmanna is an elegant à la carte restaurant, catering to various palettes.
Located on the foreshore of the scenic Peel Estuary in Mandurah, diners can appreciate the panoramic aquatic views as they settle in the glass-walled restaurant for a romantic dining experience with their beau or belle. Expert tip: the restaurant is locally renowned for its freshly caught crabs, prawns, and scallops, so dig in!
Catch 22 Restaurant
Linguistically speaking, a catch 22 is not normally synonymous with a positive situation, except when it comes to one of Mandurah’s most popular restaurants, Catch 22. Located on the town’s scenic Dolphin Quay, this gold plate winning restaurant offers a unique menu which intelligently blends local produce with modern Australian and international culinary trends. Reliable classics include the crispy pork belly with potato puree as well as the tasty lamb rump.
If you’re in the mood for sharing, the extensive tapas menu makes for a fun and varied dining experience with friends. Feeling cheeky? Sample one of the restaurant’s signature cocktails, which all reference the rich and famous. Examples include the Mango Martini by Frank Sinatra and the Smokey Whiskey by John Wayne.
Yogi Contemporary Restaurant
While Mandurah might not have been considered the first port of call for an Indian restaurant, Yogi Contemporary Restaurant has built a steadfast reputation in the community – so much that it earnt the title of “Australia’s best Indian/Sub Continent Restaurant” at the 2014 Savour Australia Restaurant Awards! Adorned in brightly coloured red walls, this elegant locale combines a menu of traditional and more contemporary dishes suited to varied and discerning tastes.
Favourites include succulent tandoori dishes, spicy curries, and a tasty ensemble of potato and chick-pea oriented vegetarian options. If things get a little hot, wash the spice down with one of the skilfully prepared cocktails such as the Whisky Chill which refreshingly blends muddled mint and other exciting potions.
Mandurah and the Peel Region also boast a stellar line-up of local wineries, cellar doors, and enchanting watering holes. So be sure to start your weekend away in quaffing style and appreciate a good local drop.
Located in the scenic town of Jarrahdale, just 50 minutes south-east of Perth, the Millbrook Winery is a solid favourite in the Peel Region thanks to its quality wines and aesthetically pleasing surrounds. Nestled in the virgin jarrah forests, the boutique winery offers tasty blends including Chardonnay, Shiraz, and Cabernet Sauvignon.
As well as the tasting room, Millbrook Winery boasts an award winning restaurant that offers a modern Australian menu using locally sourced, organic produce. Not convinced yet? Millbrook Winery was recently recognised by Gourmet Traveller as one of WA’s top three restaurants, so you be the judge.
Nothing else quite speaks of Australia more than a relaxed Sunday afternoon sojourn at the local pub. The Quindanning Hotel is perhaps one of the most easily identifiable watering holes in the region thanks to its historic charm, lush gardens, and wide verandas. As winter descends, the internal jarrah-wood panelling and open fireplaces make for a toasty lock-in for the day.
Serving a range of on tap beers and regional wines, visitors can be certain to initiate their afternoon frivolity in quality surrounds. Remember the rule of not drinking on an empty stomach? Fortunately Quindanning also offers a counter menu, serving Aussie pub favourites like bangers and mash and chicken parmigiana.
Mandurah and the Peel Region boast a plethora of fun-filled activities to suit a variety of tastes. Whether you’re seeking an adventurous family day or you’d prefer a romantic coastal stroll for two, the area is certain to please any weekend traveller.
Watch the dolphins
Ever wanted to get up-close and personal with one of the globe’s friendliest animals? Thanks to the extensive waterways of Mandurah, the Peel Estuary and Mandjar Bay, you are likely to see schools of frolicking bottlenose dolphins as you stroll along the foreshore or sit in one of the local restaurants.
If a distanced view is not enough and you want to be part of the aquatic fun, why not hire a kayak or go on a dolphin cruise? As you float along the gentle waterways, you can encounter these beauties as they dart in and out of the water and show off in front of their excited fans.
Thrombolite Reef – Yalgorup National Park
Situated by Lake Clifton in the Yalgorup National Park, roughly 30 kilometres south of Mandurah, you’ll be amazed to discover the largest thrombolite reef in the Southern Hemisphere. Vast, untouched, and rich in Australian history, these living fossils bathe in the shallow waters, creating a unique and inspiring site to behold.
Spend hours perusing through the nooks and crannies of the reef, and take a glimpse into what life was like 600 million years ago. Stretching for an impressive six kilometres along the eastern shore of Lake Clifton, the scene makes for an idyllic experience that honours the spirit of the Peel Region.
Hoping to get a bird’s eye view of the Peel Region’s natural beauty and grandeur? Well at Trees Adventure, located in the Lane Poole Reserve of Dwellingup, you can do just that. A short 45 kilometres from Mandurah, the region’s newest attraction is an immense adventure playground suspended amidst the scenic pine and jarrah trees of the Nanga Mill Campground.
Embark on an exhilarating one kilometre flying fox ride through the treetops, and stop to take in the panoramic views at one of the many suspended bridges. Depending on how daring you are, there are over 80 different challenges, all of which vary between nine levels of difficulty.
If outdoor adventures seem a little too much for a weekend getaway, spend a relaxed afternoon strolling through the scenic wildlife sanctuary of Peel Zoo. Situated on the banks of the Murray River in Pinjarra, just a short ten-minute drive from Mandurah, the Peel Zoo is a boutique sanctuary which gives visitors a hands-on experience. As opposed to appreciating the animals from afar, you can integrate into the natural habitat with fellow felines, marsupials, and more.
With more than 100 species of birds and animals, the zoo allows you to hand feed furry friends, hold slippery serpents, or even meet eyes with watchful owls. Planning to settle in for the day? Bring some provisions and make use of the free BBQ facilities, but just be sure to protect your hamper, you’re competing with other hungry comrades!
Envisaging a weekend getaway this winter? Share your favourite destinations with us.