People always get surprised when I tell them I am from Bunbury. “Oh, so you’re a country girl?” they ask. No, I never thought I was. Apparently, not hailing from a capital city makes you ‘country’. Sure, there’s a few farms if you go to the rural areas, but Bunbury is actually just as diverse as a capital city (plus, there’s no traffic!).
Bunbury is a small, coastal city located in the south-west region of Western Australia. If you love great shopping, food and lifestyle, but hate the traffic, then Bunbury is the place for you. It’s only two hours south of Perth, Western Australia’s capital city, and boasts beautiful beaches, wildlife and entertainment.
Bunbury has recently opened up a Timezone, complete with laser tag! This is the first arcade in Bunbury (ignoring the two measly pinball games at the bowling alley). There’s two ways to play: for tickets or for fun. Either way you have a great time, although playing for fun saves you money. However, when playing for fun you don’t get the satisfaction of collecting tickets! We usually play for fun, which means you only pay $30 and win or lose you can play for 1.5 hours. If you play for tickets though, be warned, you can run out of money quickly as each game can cost up to $2.20.
Bunbury’s Grand Cinema shows the newest movies at a decent rate. If you’re planning to go a few times, buy the Grand Card for $30 a year which will give you access to exclusive deals and cheaper tickets! I definitely recommend the Grand Card if you’re going to be in Bunbury a while, as you can save up to $12 per ticket.
The wildlife park is the home to many native Australian animals. Many of the animals at the wildlife park are usually rescued and will not survive alone in the wild anymore. The wildlife park has kangaroos, baby dingoes, owls, birds, reptiles and emus. Buy some animal feed and feed the birds or kangaroos as you walk through the park (keep an eye out for the peacock)! The wildlife park has a brand new playground, tourist store and a cafe – everything you need for a great day out!
Bunbury’s bowling alley is located across the street from a large shopping outlet, making it a great place to drop the kids when you want to get some shopping done! With Friday night disco games, competitive sport teams and an indoor jungle gym, everyone can have fun. I always enjoy the Friday night disco, as the flashy black lights and great music make for an amazing atmosphere. There’s a few arcade games and pool tables whilst you wait for your turn and a cafe for all your food needs.
Dolphin Discovery Centre
Head down to Koombana Bay for a swim and whilst you’re there check out the Dolphin Discovery Centre! They have interactive learning journeys inside and a small cafe, with access to some great underwater movies, facts and historical items. Pay to go for a swim with the Bottlenose Dolphins or join their ocean tours where they look for dolphins and whales! My favourite memories of Bunbury are touching the Bottlenose dolphins and swimming with them. This isn’t something you can do often, so definitely take advantage of it when you visit!
Bunbury Lighthouse Lookout
The Bunbury Lighthouse Lookout sits right on the peak of the headland. The lighthouse doesn’t always open, due to bad weather, but when it does open you can walk to the top and view Bunbury from the heights. Beware of the steep climb up the stairs, but it’s worth the view of the basalt rocks below!
Marlston Hill Lookout
If the Bunbury Lighthouse Lookout is closed, head up to the Marlston Hill Lookout. This one closes at night, usually around 8pm, but you can climb it to see the sunset and sunrises! Easier climb than the Lighthouse, but the view is just as worth it. Lookout over the Estuary, Bunbury town centre and the ocean. I have joined the exercised groups that run here, and let me tell you, those stairs are a killer when you run them!
Bunbury Farmer’s Market
I know you wouldn’t expect to see a supermarket on this list, but it’s here! Bunbury Farmer’s Market is my favourite place to buy groceries… and it’s the only place I go. I only visit Coles or Woolworths when I need household items like garbage bags or cat food. Bunbury Farmers Market boasts all local food, sourced from local farmers, and homemade meals. Start off by buying a coffee from the cafe at the start, or a smoothie from the juice bar near the fruit! At the market you can only follow the path, there’s no isles. Once you’re inside, follow the stream of people to make your way through the store, going past fruit, veggies, butchers, frozen section, deli and cheeses, milk, exotic cheese bar, bakery, peanut butter bar (where you crush peanuts to make your own peanut butter – fresh!), spices and herbs, nuts and chocolate and, finally, the florist. Once you have passed all this, you’re at the checkout! The Farmer’s market offers a wide range of food made in-store and testers all the way around, so it’s a lot of fun to go on a Saturday. Be careful though, it gets busy!
Big Swamp Walk
Head over to the Big Swamp (what a unique name) to take a walk around and through the mangroves. The Big Swamp is near the Wildlife Park and is the home to a large variety of birds. Follow the path around the swamp then use the wooden path to cut through the swamp for some nice, relaxing exercise. Watch out for mosquitos at dusk!
These are just a few of the top things to do in Bunbury, with many more that didn’t make the list!