Bunbury is a coastal city of 74,000 people (2018) in Western Australia. It draws many tourists who come to see the dolphins.
It's a little town with a big town attitude. Aimed at tourists, this place can seem to be 'closed down' in winter.
Bunbury is around 90 to 120 minutes south of Perth by car — depending on the route you decide to take, coastal or inland. The "Old Coast Road" has a lot of two lane roadway in each direction now, with multiple 'overtaking lane sections' as well.
It can be a stopping point to or from the Margaret River, very popular with the surfing community and wine lovers alike. It is also a good base for exploring the beautiful south west region — the mining community of Collie, the giant trees of Pemberton (where you can still climb to the top of one of the highest tree based fire lookouts -the Gloucester tree.)
- 1 Bunbury railway station (Bunbury Passenger Terminal), Picton Rd.
Both Transwa and South West Coach Lines run road coach services to Bunbury. Transwa only stops at the train station (see above), but SWCL buses go right into town. There are a number of local bus routes from the train station.
The Passenger Terminal serves as a hub for buses going to and from many destinations in the south west.
There is a bus service that runs around the city and surrounding suburbs, but do not expect regular (or even handy) transport. It's best to have a car or be prepared to shell out for a few taxis here and there if you have travelled down from Perth via the train service (which is very comfortable and reasonably priced!).
The three timetables (each covering a few routes) for the local buses can be found on the .
- Koombana Beach. A modest beach on Koombana Bay. This has a view of the port. It is a protected beach with no surf. There are wild dolphins in Koombana Bay, which you may be lucky enough to see close to the beach. The best time to go is in the morning.
- Dolphin Discovery Centre, Koombana Beach. Daily 7:30AM to 3PM. Themed fish and coral aquariums and a 360-degree Digital Dolphinarium. You may want to check if there are any dolphins around on the beach before you pay the admission. There are no captive dolphins at the centre. They run trips out to where the dolphins are, but these must be booked in advance. It has a cafe, and on the weekends, a sunset bar featuring local wines. 2 hr 45 min eco-cruise and interpretation centre: adult $63, senior $51, child $5.
- There's a good diving wreck called the Lena and you can dive on it with just your basic Padi Licence.
- Leschnault inlet is great for Kite Surfers and there are classes available.
Restaurants are concentrated along Victoria St.
- Simply Thai, 33 Victoria St, ☏ . Dinner: W-M 5:30PM-late; Lunch: Th F noon-2PM. Very authentic Thai food. Service can be a bit slow due to popularity. The flavour of the Tom Yum Goong is worth the wait. Mains $22-28.
- 1 Cafe 140, 140 Victoria Street, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com.
3 monkeys, Barbados, Exit & Fitzgerald's are the places to be on Friday and Saturday nights.
Accommodation is varied and can be a bit sparse in the peak times - especially around the horse racing carnival time. Plenty of the hotels and pubs offer basic accommodation - which is fine if you are only looking for a bed to sleep in and plan to explore the surrounds during the day.
The Lord Forrest Hotel is the largest commercial hotel and probably offers the higher end of the accommodation scale
- 1 Mantra Bunbury, 1 Holman Street, Bunbury WA 6230 (2 hours drive south of Perth), ☏ . Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 10AM. Opened in 2008 this boutique property is a full-service hotel. 64 deluxe and standard studio suites set within the heritage precinct of The Silos. It has a fully-licensed residential club lounge. Other hotel features include an enclosed year-round climate-controlled swimming pool and deck, a spa, tennis courts, landscaped gardens, health spa and off-street parking.
- 2 Dolphin Retreat (Bunbury YHA), 14 Wellington Street, Bunbury, 6230, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 8-10AM and 4-9PM.
- Busselton — A seaside town with a very, very long jetty.
- Collie — A small coal mining town surrounded by bucolic and natural beauty.