Bunbury Visitor Information
Looking for things to do in Bunbury? This city is the perfect family holiday location. Bunbury is less than 2 hours drive from Perth on Australia’s West Coast.
It is also the third largest city in WA with over 75,000 locals. Before we delve into things to do in Bunbury, lets look at it’s history and culture.
Before colonial settlement the the Indigenous Australian Noongar people were the landowners. European settlement began in the 1830s.
In 1829, Dr Alexander Collie and Lieutenant Preston explored the area. Lieutenant Governor Sir James Stirling also visited the area In 1830. Stirling established a military post in Bunbury. Later, Stirling named the city for Lieutenant Henry Bunbury.
Bunbury’s first European settlers were John and Helen Scott. The Scott’s also settled the area with their sons Robert, William and John Jr and step-son Daniel McGregor.
They arrived in the area in 1838. Bunbury was first mentioned in the Government Gazette in 1839. In its early days, whaling was one of the town’s biggest industries.
Bunbury Rail History
In 1884 the Government built a railway from Bunbury to Boyanup. The rail line was completed in 1887 and has been managed by the State Government since 1891. The Bunbury line was connected to the East Perth line in 1893.
This opened the area to visitors. The Bunbury railway station terminal allowed passengers to ride the train to Perth. The last train to use the station departed in May 1985. Despite this, the rail line is a major attraction in Bunbury today.
Things to do in Bunbury: Weather
Bunbury has a Mediterranean climate. Average temperatures in the summer months range between 27.3C in December to 30.1C in February. Bunbury’s record top temperature was 40.8C.
In Winter, average day-time temperatures hover in the high teens. 18.5C in June, 17.2C in July and 17.5C in August.
Mining, Agriculture and Fishing are all big players in the local economy. However, tourism is becoming increasingly important. Therefore, the retail industry is thriving. Also, the area has exploded with experiences for tourists. Lets take at closer look at 9 of those now.
Mangrove Cove Boardwalk
The Mangrove Walk In Bunbury winds its way around the Leschenalut Inlet waterway. This inlet also contains white mangroves. Bunbury is as far south as the white mangrove exist. White mangroves grow up to 800 kilometres north of Bunbury. The Bunbury white mangroves are a local conservation priority.
The ecosystem in the area is internationally significant. Biologists flock to the area to study the diverse flora and fauna. The vegetation is home to large numbers of native waterbirds.
During the Mangrove walk visitors can get info about the are via signs along the trail. Entry points are found at Mangrove Cove and also Queens Gardens. It isn’t a long trek and runs for just over 5kms. The walking surface consists of boardwalk and bitumen.
The highlight of the walk is Laughing Wave Lookout which is a great place to take photos of the area. The Mangrove Walk is one of the best things to do in Bunbury and it’s free.
Things to do in Bunbury: Dolphin Discovery Centre
This must be seen to be believed. The Bunbury Dolphin Discovery Centre works with private and government bodies to develop it’s attractions. As a result, they are both entertaining and environmentally sound.
The well-being of the centre’s wild dolphins are a major focus for the centre. Research is conducted on site, making the centre as important scientifically as it is to the local economy.
There are heaps of attractions for visitors at the Dolphin centre. As a result, I can’t list them all, but let’s have a look at a few.
Dolphin Eco Cruise
The Dolphin Discovery Centre’s Dolphin Eco Cruise takes 90 minutes. The cruise runs in Koombana Bay, a tourist hot spot. The boat provides a special viewing area. As a result, you can get close to the dolphins and stay dry. The Dolphins are friendly and interact with visitors regularly.
Swim with the Dolphins
Want to get closer to the dolphins? You can’t get any closer than the Swim with the Dolphins tour. This tour is seasonal and runs every day from November to April.
Visitors are accompanied by a guide into the waters of Koombana Bay. This tour sees guests swim with the wild Bottlenose Dolphins. However, interactions can’t be guaranteed. Regardless, water lovers will love this tour and the experience it provides.
There is so much more to see and do inside the Dolphin Discovery Centre. You will need a full day to take it all in. Put these tours at the top of the list of things to do in Bunbury during your stay.
Bunbury Wildlife Park
Another in a long list of eco adventures available in Bunbury is the Bunbury Wildlife Park. This family friendly park is the perfect venue for a kids birthday party or a BBQ with family and friends. The Bunbury Wildlife Park is located just 5 minutes from the CBD on Prince Philip Drive.
What sets the Bunbury Wildlife Park apart from others is the level of interaction visitors get with the animals. You will be up close and personal.
There are two walk-through aviaries on site. These contain local and exotic species of birds. The birds will fly to you and feed from the palm of your hand. Perfect for an avian selfie or two!
There are Red and Western Kangaroo’s that also love to interact with visitors. Especially visitors who have a bag or two of animal food. The Kangaroo paddock is a vast area that allows them to spread their legs and burn off the energy provided by guests.
The parks animal keeper joins park guests at 11am daily to discuss the animals. They also provide in depth information about how the park works. This is a must see experience for animal lovers and families. The Bunbury Wildlife Park is a family friendly activity for visitors in Bunbury.
Bunbury Regional Art Gallery
For those looking to add some art and culture to their stay in Bunbury the Regional Art Gallery is the place to go. This regional arts centre has six gallery spaces and also features a large range of exhibitions by local artists, as well touring exhibitions from around the country.
Bunbury Regional Art Gallery building itself is also an attraction. The building is known as The Pink by locals and is one of Bunbury’s oldest historic buildings. The building is a former convent.
The gallery regularly hosts works from local, indigenous artists. Gallery management also take a sense of pride in the contribution of the Noongar people and their work.
Regular art classes for adults and kids are also hosted by the gallery with session times and program details available here.
The gallery is located in the CBD of Bunbury and is a must visit for all arts lovers.
Things to do in Bunbury: Old Railway Station Bunbury
This is one of the great heritage buildings in Bunbury and worth seeing up close.
The history of the Old Railway Station is hard to ignore. The original station was built in 1880’s. It burnt down in 1904. The current building was constructed in 1905. It has stood the test of time. In it’s heyday the station was also the centre of trade and commerce in the district with most goods brought in by rail.
Trains ceased using this facility in 1985 however it continues to operate as a bus depot. It also houses the Bunbury Visitor Centre. Visitors can enjoy and examine the classic architecture still displayed here.
Located near the railway station is the Stirling Street Historic Precinct. In this area visitors will discover other turn of the century buildings. With their character still intact, these buildings form part of the Bunbury Heritage Trail that contains over fifty historical attractions.
Local history buffs will love a visit to the Old Railway Station, one of the most impressive things to do in Bunbury.
Things to do in Bunbury: Koombana Beach
Beach lovers must stop in at Koombana Bay. The Beach here is awesome.
This beach is one of few places in the world where you can enjoy an upclose encounter with wild dolphins. The wild bottlenose dolphins often interact with swimmers.
Koombana Beach is located around two kilometres east of Bunbury. As a result, it is convenient for visitors. The beach is wide and easy to negotiate by foot. As a result it is perfect for long walks and taking incredible photos.
There are also great views of boats from the nearby Koombana Bay Sailing Club. The restaurants and cafés of nearby Marlston Waterfront are a stone throw away.
There are many great beaches around Bunbury but none better or more convenient to visit than Koomana Beach. As a result, you need to add it to your list of things to see and do in Bunbury.
Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre
The Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre (BREC) is the arts hub of the South West. The centre combines culture and entertainment. Over 200 different shows per year are featured here.
BREC has been a part of Bunbury’s cultural fabric since 1990. Over half of the construction costs were raised by local fundraising.
The City of Bunbury now owns BREC. As a result, it is operated as a not-for-profit group, over-seen by the current board. In 2014 the centre was expanded and is now world-class. The board of the BREC claims it is the leading conference and events facility in regional WA.
As a result of this upgrade the venue has been transformed. The original 800 plus seat theatre continues to deliver large scale shows for locals and visitors. Newly built during the 2014 revamp, BREC also houses the smaller capacity “Cube Theatre” for small scale productions and events.
Topping off the facility is the Sky Bar and Wellington Suite which offer bay views. The area hosts a variety of corporate and private functions, conferences and events. The Cube Theatre and Sky Bar also host a live music program called Out of the Box + Into the Cube, which caters specifically to younger generations.
Check out the upcoming program for the Centre here. One of the best places to visit in Bunbury.
Things to do in Bunbury: Centenary Gardens
After touring the other sites of Bunbury, you might need a quiet place to curl up in the sun. Maybe a place to read a book (or travel blog) and also to get away from the hustle and bustle of tourist life. Centenary Gardens is the perfect spot to do that.
The Gardens are a peaceful haven. They are also located in the centre of Bunbury. Visitors can stroll through the gardens and view the floral display. Shade is provided by many old and well-maintained trees in the garden.
For those who love to snap photos there is a stone sculpture and water feature. There is also a large granite ball that defies gravity at the touch of a hand. Another attraction is Bunbury’s first public well. The well is over 100 years old and is now a tourist attraction.
The gardens opened in 1936. They marked the town’s centenary. The Centenary Gardens are a perfect place to unwind and relax. One of the more peaceful things to do in Bunbury.
Things to do in Bunbury: Marlston Hill Lookout Tower and New Lighthouse
Visitors looking for that perfect holiday snap will need to visit the Marlston Hill Lookout. It is the best location in Bunbury to enjoy views of the City. Once you get to the top there are 360-degree views around the city, including Bunbury Harbour and Koombana Bay.
The lookout replaced the original Bunbury lighthouse and was built for the bicentennial celebrations in 1988. It’s an easy climb to the top and only takes a few minutes. However, the view is worth it.
Not far from this lookout is the new lighthouse. It’s unique, chequered pattern is distinct. Also, the practical design proves useful. For instance, ships have reported seeing the light from the new lighthouse as far offshore as 27 kilometres!
The Lookout and Lighthouse combined make a great pair for those seeking the perfect holiday photo to end their Bunbury adventure.
Bunbury is a jewel in the Western Australian tourism crown. For more details on what to see and do while visiting Bunbury check out the “Things to see and do” page on the cities website.