I’m often asked by friends, relatives and people thinking of moving to Australia, “Why did you choose Bunbury?” as if we have ended up in the underbelly of the world or at very least somewhere that might at best be considered a bit dodge, or ‘hicksville’.

Hiding my delight that I nurse a precious secret about a small town that calls itself a city and sits on the periphery of three waters I allow them their small triumph in thinking that they have perhaps caught me out, because why in heaven’s name would I really want anyone else to discover such an interesting and not too densely populated place to live which hits nearly all our pleasure buttons and daily needs?

But for Zigazag readers interested in a Western Australia holiday, or things to do in WA,  I’m  going to let you in on the ‘goss’, the local insights and little known facts about Bunbury which together add missing pieces to the jigsaw of the picture of this unique city – that only about 60,000 people call home.

Interesting Facts and What to Do in Bunbury

  • Although it’s termed a city, it’s more like a regional town to get around.
  • Crime and gridlock have not yet found a permanent place in Bunbury.
  • Bunbury’s named after Lieutenant Henry William St. Pierre Bunbury who carried out explorations in this area in 1836.
  • Around Bunbury you can swim with dolphins, see kangaroos, kookaburras, parrots and pelicans, spot whales during the winter months, walk and cycle many designated trails.
  • It’s a cosmopolitan, regional port with an interesting maritime history and is considered the second largest city in WA just 2 hours drive south of Perth on the new Kwinana Freeway.
  • The town features a ‘cappuccino strip’ of al fresco cafes in the main street.
  • The waterfront area has a variety of restaurants, cafes and bars.
  • Bunbury Farmers Market is a great place for fresh fruit and vegetables – open 7 days a week
  • It’s known as City of Three Waters because it’s situated on a peninsula – so expect a relaxed, outdoor lifestyle based around everything aquatic.
  • There are surfing beaches on the Indian Ocean, and there are calm shallow waters in Koombana Bay.
  • 100 bottlenose dolphins live in the blue waters of Koombana Bay. The Dolphin Discovery Centre offers an interaction zone for people to get close to dolphins in their natural habitat, either on shore or boat based.
  • Koombana Bay Sailing Club offers free Wednesday evening twilight sails in season for anyone wanting to ‘have-a-go’.
  • Try Outrigging, rowing or dragon boating in Bunbury on the ocean, the inlet, the estuary and the Collie River.
  • Leschenault Inlet is good for water based activities, such as, rowing, kayaking and crabbing.
  • In WA you can expect +- 3,000 hours of sunshine a year
  • South West Australia enjoys a temperate climate – +- 30 degrees in summer and 14 in winter.
  • To the south there are National Parks, and towering forests of Karri, Marri and Tuart trees.
  • Australia’s south west was chosen by Lonely Planet as one of the top 10 iconic regions to visit for 2010.
  • One of Australia’s Premier wine regions and surfing meccas, Margaret River, is within an hour’s drive away.
  • Bunbury is home to WA’s southern-most mangroves
  • Rare basaltic rock is found in the area
  • Award winning wineries are only a 15 minute drive from Bunbury centre.
  • There are three international golf courses nearby.
  • A miniature train-ride wends its way through park-land and forest – great for children
  • A small, but interactive wildlife park called The Big Swamp is minutes from the city centre.

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Tourist Information

Australias South West online, or the Visitor Centre Old Railway Station, Bunbury. Tel: 9792 7205.

Accommodation, Hotels

Mantra – superior accommodation overlooking Koombana Bay – www.mantra.com.au

Quest Bunbury Serviced Apartments – overlooking Koombana Bay – www.questbunbury.com.au

The Lord Forrest Hotel – Central city accommodation, some rooms with water views – www.lordforresthotel.com.au

The Lighthouse Hotel – ocean views – www.lighthousebeachresort.com.au

The Rose Hotel – Central city accommodation – www.rosehotel.com.au

All Seasons Sanctuary Golf Resort – set in landscaped gardens overlooking lake and golf course – www.sanctuaryresort.com.au

Boathouse Bed and Breakfast – overlooking the inlet – www.boathousebunbury.com.au

Caravans and Camping

Bunbury Glade Caravan Park – www.glade.com.au

Discovery Parks (Bussell Highway and Koombana Bay) – www.discoveryholidayparks.com.au

Restaurants we like

Aristos Restaurant – waterfront fish and chips – www.aristos.com.au

Ex-Tensions on the Beach – Back beach, fantastic setting, casual – www.ex-tensions.com.au

Grillboy Gourmet Burgers – beachside burger kitchen Koombana Bay – www.grillboy.com.au

Indian Ocean Lounge – authentic Indian cuisine – www.indianoceanbunbury.webs.com

Mash Brewing Bunbury – fab ocean views and micro brewery – www.mashbrewing.com.au

The Singing Chef’s Mexican Garden – centre point Bunbury, courtyard setting – www.thesingingchef.com.au/mexican

Natural Temptation Cafe – yummy vegetarian food – www.naturaltemptation.com.au

Casselas – sophisticated waterfront tapas and grill –  www.casellas.com.au

Nicola’s – Italian dining, city centre – www.nicolaristorante.com

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  1. yep! Bunbury is a great place to live! It might not be a tourist mecca, but we have everything you could need right here in Bunbury or within 1-2 hours drive. Perfect!
    I have certainly seen it grow over the 30-odd years we have been living here. It also has a thriving ex-pat community if you look at the range of multicultural performances at the Multicultural Festival in March. And a thriving arts community with world class changing displays at the Art Gallery.

  2. I would love to have seen Bunbury 30 years ago compared to today! Thanks for your comment, Jill.

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