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Bunbury is located a short 2 hour drive south of Perth and there are heaps of fun things to do to keep you entertained. This post lists 40 of the best things to do, to help you plan your own trip. This post will also provide you with accommodation options in the Bunbury area.
Located on the coast of the Indian Ocean, Bunbury has the South West corner of WA on its doorstep. Busselton is a further 40 minutes drive, Margaret River is only another hour. Inland you will find Donnybrook and Balingup on the Blackwood River only half an hour away.
Drive from Perth to Bunbury
The easiest drive from Perth to Bunbury is straight down the Kwinana Freeway until you pass Rockingham and Mandurah. Once you are on the Forrest Highway you will pass Preston Beach and Yalgorup National Park. Keep going until you get to Bunbury. It will only take about 2 hours.
Things to Do In Bunbury
There are so many things to do in and around the Bunbury area.
I have tried to include natural attractions, landmarks, cultural institutions, walks, fun activities, and a few things to do with the kids.
I tried to keep the driving and travel to a minimum, while still making the most of the surrounding area, so most things on the list will be an easy drive of 30 minutes or less.
This would have to be the Number 1 Must See for most people who visit Bunbury. It is similar to Monkey Mia in Shark Bay, but it is closer to Perth and less well known.
The Beach at Koombana Bay has an ‘interaction zone’. It is a public beach and it is free to visit the beach. We saw the dolphins while we were there, but they were quite far out and dint come right into shore. There is a notice board at the entrance to the Interpretive centre that notes the times that the Dolphins have come in. (TIP: most days they seemed to come in at around 9am, so I would try and get there early if possible).
There is also an Interpretive Centre, which has an entry fee. Adult tickets are $18 and children are $10 (a family with 2 children is $46). It is suggested that you pre-book and pay for your tickets online before you visit. Due to Covid, they have restricted visitor numbers and created session times to ensure everyone’s safety. We had pre booked our tickets but others were purchasing them at the counter when we were there and it was a long weekend.
The Dolphin Discovery Tour also offer some tours, including the opportunity to swim with the dolphins. There is a cafe on site and it is even possible to book functions.
Bunbury has a variety of beautiful beaches which are perfect for swimming, walking, exploring and beach combing. Here are some of the best, but you will find even more in the area.
Koombana Bay is famous for being the home of Bunbury’s wild dolphin population. It is a public beach and is free to visit, although the Dolphin Interpretive Centre has an entry fee (see point above for more information).
There is also a kid’s playground located on the foreshore.
The Jetty Baths
The Jetty Baths beach is close to Bunbury’s city centre. The beach is protected in the bay and is close to the jetty and the Bunbury Port. The water is nice and calm and is perfect for young children. There is a picnic area and playground as well.
Bunbury is spoilt with options and this is just another of them. A long sandy shore is perfect for long walks on the beach. It is located close to Maidens Reserve which offers lots of great walking trail options.
Bunbury Back Beach
Located on the south side of the city it is home to the Bunbury Surf Life Saving Club. It is right next door to Myalup rocks.
Wyalup Rocky Point
Wyalup Rocky Point is an area of cultural significance to the traditional owners of the land. The area was a Noongar burial ground and Wyalup means ‘place of mourning’.
The striking basalt rock formations are also of geological significance as it was formed as Australia, India and Antarctica pulled apart 100 million years ago.
Casuarina Point is on the northern side of Wyalup Rocky Point and is generally less sheltered than some of Bunbury’s other beaches with reasonable waves. The beach is not patrolled.
Located on the Leschanault Penninsula a 30 minute drive from Bunbury, Belvidere Beach is great for swimming, snorkeling and fishing. It also has 4wd access to the beach and is perfect for finding that beautiful secluded beach spot that Western Australia is famous for.
Bunbury Farmers Market
Located on the main highway into town, we have driven past the Bunbury Farmers Market many times on our way south. I have always looked longingly at it’s busy carpark, and we have always driven past as we have had our camper trailer hooked up and the busy carpark looked too hard to navigate.
As soon as we planned our own trip to Bunbury, the Bunbury Farmers Market was number 1 on my list of things to do. It did not disappoint. Everything we bought was fresh and delicious. We did buy a pre-packed noodle meal to cook up on our first night there.
We really enjoyed it and would definitely purchase something similar again. Once it was cooked up with some leftover steak from a previous meal, it looked like this.
Bunbury Wildlife Park
Bunbury Wildlife Park is a great way to entertain the family for the day or a few hours. It is open most days (except for Tuesday and Wednesday) from 10am until 5pm. Entry fees are reasonable at $11 per adult and $5.50 per child.
We didn’t visit on our trip (we just couldn’t fit it in!) but have it on our list for when we next return.
Leschenault Penninsula Conservation Park
The Leschenault Penninsula is located 20km north of Bunbury. With water on both sides, it is a beautiful natural attraction that offers plenty of activities to entertain.
The area is known for its mosquitos and sand flies, so make sure that you bring your insect repellant with you. (It is worse on the estuary side, better on the beach side).
If you have a 4wd, it is the perfect spot for a bit of beach driving. You are able to access the beach from Buffalo beach.
If you drive down the beach you will be able to find a private patch of perfect beach to enjoy. If you have an awning on the side of the car, set it up for some shade.
Hike or walk
The peninsula offers 3 different walk trails of differing lengths. They all start from the Belvidere carpark, so check out the information board there to decide which is best for you.
Camping is also available on a first come first serve basis, however sites are generally available. Check the DPAW website for more information about availablility. It is $11 per adult per night and $3 per child. There is a toilet on site, but no shower.
Big Swamp Parklands
Big Swamp parklands is a wetland reserve which is perfect for walking or bird watching.
The boardwalk around the swamp is approximately 2.5km long and easy to navigate. It is also referred to as the Paperback Walk, because of the number of Paperbark trees in the area.
Kings Cottage Museum
Open between 10.30am and 12.30pm daily. Free entry. Not sure if t is still open or closed due to Covid19?????
Maidens Reserve offers multiple walks through bushland. Many have beautiful views over the Indian Ocean. The nature reserve is home to one of the last remaining Tuart forests in Australia. You can walk to multiple lookouts and there is a small picnic area with a kids nature playground as well.
Koombana Park is located opposite the Dolphin Discovery Centre (on the other side of Koombana Drive).
Take a stroll along the Mangrove Boardwalk, or climb the lookout for views over Bunbury.
Visit the Rose Hotel
A pub, restaurant and motel, the Rose Hotel is beautifully presented and family friendly. It has a large and interesting menu with typical pub grub with a bit of a fancy twist. We stopped in for a drink in the afternoon.
The floor near the main bar (not the restaurant area) was very sticky! It took me back to my night club years and I had the feeling that it might get busy on a Friday or Saturday night. Don’t wear thongs or a singlet if you go on a Friday or Saturday night though because you won’t be allowed in. There were signs stuck up at the entry points advising of the dress code.
Walk around Bunbury
There are a lot of options for walking in Bunbury and the Bunbury Council has created a map/ brochure with a number of possibilities. You can pick up a hard copy at the visitor centre or an electronic copy here.
The Collie River actually begins in the Northern area of Bunbury, in the Bunbury suburb of Pelican Point. The best place to get a kayak in the water is the Eaton foreshore. This is definitely the best way to explore this section of the Collie River.
Queens Gardens is located on the Leschenault Inlet (the opposite side to Koombana Park). It is home to a regular saturday market (1st and 3rd saturday of each month). It is home to a large and awesome playground.
Bunbury Visitors Centre
The Bunbury Visitor Centre has all the information about what to do in the Bunbury area. You can pick up brochures on the region, book tours and ask any questions you may have from the knowledgeable staff.
It is open most days from 9.30am until 4pm, except for Sundays and Public Holidays (10am to 2pm). If you can’t get there in its opening hours, and the information you are looking for isn’t in this post, you can try TripAdvisor for additional information.
It is centrally located in Bunbury’s CBD and has plenty of Caravan parking so it is a great place to pull up if you are just stopping by on your way somewhere else, or if you have checked out of your camp site and want to keep exploring.
Bunbury Regional Art Gallery (BRAG)
The Bunbury Regional Art Gallery is a free entry gallery with a range of exhibition spaces, many of which focus on the local art scene, including Noongar arts. The exhibitions and events change regularly so there is always something new to see and do.
The Bunbury lighthouse’s black and white checkered design create a striking landmark in the Bunbury area. The best place to view or photograph the lighthouse is from the Marlston Hill Lookout. The lighthouse is not open to the public and can only be viewed from the outside.
Marlston Hill Lookout
Climb the stairs to the top of Marlston Hill Lookout for views over Bunbury, the local harbour, the Indian Ocean, and the lighthouse. There are even more stairs leading down from the lookout to the street below if you want a good stair workout.
Sykes Foreshore Reserve
Sykes Foreshore reserve is one of the best things to do in Bunbury if you have kids in tow. There is an excellent playground which includes a variety of play areas to keep kids of all ages entertained.
Bunbury Heritage Trail
There are a few heritage trail options on offer in Bunbury and the surrounding areas. Head to the Visitor Centre to explore all the options and pick up a map. Then go for a walk around town and learn a bit more about its history. You can also access the Heritage Building Map here.
Ocean Drive is the coastal road which has multiple car parks and multiple points for beach access. You can take a drive and look out the window for a view or stop at one of the dining options looking over the water like the Hollow Beach Bar and Grill. We grabbed some Fish and Chips nearby and sat at one of the sheltered picnic tables looking over the water one day.
AJ’s Fish and Chips
We loved the fish and chips so much that I decided to give it its own heading. We can’t say its the best fish and chips in Bunbury (because we didn’t try any others) but it was some of the best fish and chips that we have had for a long time. There were some old school video games which Lala and El Enrique enjoyed playing while we waited for our order. We can definitely recommend AJ’s Fish and Chips in Bunbury.
Tuart Forest National Park
There are not many areas of Tuart forest remaining and this National Park protects a narrow stretch of Tuart trees. It is a great spot for a picnic or a walk.
There is a 1.5km Possum Spotting Night Trail which would take about an hour. Bring a torch and spot the endangered ring tail possums and the more common brush tail possums.
Geographe Bay begins just south of the City of Bunbury and stretches past Busselton towards Dunsborough. It is protected from the rough Indian Ocean and is quite shallow which makes it a great option for swimming and waterplay with young children.
Bunbury Museum and Heritage Centre
The Bunbury Museum is free to visit, although they do request a gold coin donation. It is open daily from 10am until 4pm (except Mondays). The museum focuses on local history and stories and includes both temporary and permanent exhibitions.
Bunbury Street Art
Bunbury is home to more than 40 large scale street art murals throughout the city. If you take a walk through the town centre you are sure to stumble across at least a couple. If you would like more information about what you are seeing, or want to see as many as you can, you can download a map through this link. You can also pick up the brochure at the visitors centre.
Explore the Shops and Cafes on Victoria Street
Victoria Street is the main shopping strip in Bunbury city. It is lined with quirky, independent shops which are perfect for browsing or finding a unique gift or souvenir. There are also plenty of cafes, restaurants and 3 or 4 pubs which would be great for a pub crawl.
Try a Local Cafe
I always turn to Trip Advisor to find the best spot to have a coffee or a meal. It is ranked in order based on reviews of others that have visited and you have the ability to read the comments, and sometimes look at the menu. Here is the link to Trip Advisors Top 10 Cafes in Bunbury.
Visit a Nearby Winery
The best little patch of wineries to visit near to Bunbury are located in the Ferguson Valley. There are 7 or 8 wineries within a few kilometres of each other. Some of these include the Hentyview Vineyard, Green Door Wines, and Ferguson Falls Wines and Cafe.
A unique attraction, Gnomesville is well worth visiting. It is a short 30 minute drive east of Bunbury in the Ferguson Valley. We visited mainly because we thought Lala would enjoy it, but I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it as well.
It takes over a huge area and everyone that has contributed has taken lots of care with their gnomes, often following a theme. It is surprising. It is funny. It is sprawling. It is entertaining.
Apple Fun Park
The largest kids playground (free entry) in Australia, the Apple Fun Park is located a 30 minute drive from Bunbury in Donnybrook. If you have kids, this park is well worth the detour.
The park is gated and has a variety of different areas which breaks the park into sections. There are public toilets, barbeques, shaded picnic tables and plenty of seats dotted around the park for parents to sit and supervise.
Located on the South West Highway, there are plenty of shop and cafe options across the road including 2 great bakeries.
Go Apple Picking (in season)
In case you were wondering why it is called Apple Fun Park (see above) it is because Donnybrook is the apple growing region of Western Australia and the home of the Pink Lady variety of apples (my favourite!) If you are there in season, I would highly recommend heading to a local farm and picking your own box of apples.
Where to Stay in Bunbury
Bunbury has many options for accommodation. As always if you are traveling in school holidays or on a long weekend, do your best to book well in advance as many of the options book out due to Bunbury’s popularity.
If you are caravanning or camping, there are 8 different caravan park options. Discovery Parks on Bunbury Foreshore is right on the water and would be in the best location compared to the others.
We stayed at Bunbury Glade Caravan Park in South Bunbury when we visited. It was a clean park with a great pool area and friendly staff. We enjoyed our stay here and would stay again.