It's rare to find a place that is totally dedicated to wild creatures and run almost exclusively by volunteers. Some of the volunteers are tourist attractions in themselves and I single out one such real gentleman - Ray (photo), who legend has it, was born at the beach with a dolphin as midwife. He is probably in his 70's and is a wealth of knowledge on dolphins and knows them all by name.
We arrived at the un-godly hour of 8am and were told by a volunteer that the dolphins were already in at the beach, so we hurriedly paid our money (discount for seniors) and rushed down to the beach, just to see the rear quarters of a couple of dolphins heading back into open waters.
We lingered around and chatted to a few of the very friendly volunteers (dressed in their red tee shirts) and suddenly a call went out that more dolphins were heading to the beach. We were quickly organised into a line and waded out into the Indian Ocean to about top of our thighs. It was a mother dolphin and her calf that slowly swam past and breaking the water with their fins. We were so close we could (if allowed) have touched these beautiful creatures. Our line of about 15 visitors were in awe at what we had witnessed.
After a dry off on the beach we were told about the famous "Koombana Bay Hilton" which is a shipping container for the volunteers - no doubt they tell stories about the visitors and their foibles.
After a quick beach side shower to get the sand off our legs, we visited the information section where we learnt much about the life cycle of dolphins in the wild - very educational displays too.
There is also a small cafe and a shop that sells all types of souvenirs with a dolphin flavour. Allow up to 2 hours to experience the Dolphin Discovery Centre.
Prices - $8 per adult, students and seniors and other concession holders $4 and a family pass for $20. There is also swim with the dolphins tours, suggest you see the web site for more details.
Skating for pleasure or for just for some much needed exercise is a fun way to spend an afternoon in Bunbury.
So put on you bladed boots and slip, slide and scoot!
4 TO 6 pm
Open to all skaters & a great birthday or party session with the coloured Lights - DJ - Games
$7 per skater
with DJ + Games - $7 per skater
10 am to 12 Noon
SPORT SAFE "SKATE SMART CLASSES"
12 to 1 pm -
1 pm to 3 pm
11 TO 1 pm
with DJ + Games - $7 per skater
2 TO 4 pm
with DJ + Games - $7 per skater
The Dolphin Discovery Centre is an educational attraction that is convemiently located near the Dolphin Interaction Zone at Koombana Bay in Bunbury.
The centre is open to visitors every day from 8.00am-4.00pm (Summer) and 9.00am-3.00pm (Winter).
They are closed for the Christmas break on the 25th December.
$9.00 Family of 2 Adults and All Children
If your accommodation is near the CBD you can easily walk there in about 15 minutes. But it may take a bit longer if you are tempted to gawk and dawdle along the beach.
During the summer months you could also catch the Bunbury Tram as the Dolphin Discovery Centre is along their Bunbury Tour.
Each morning some inquisitive local Bottlenose Dolphins swim up to the Koombana Bay shore to check out the humans that have travelled from far and wide to allow themselves to be studied by these curious marine mammals.
After anywhere from a half to one hour the dolphins have generally satisfied their natural curiosity and swim away again to get themselves a feed of fresh fish that are plentiful around the bay.
These underwater picture were taken with a Canon A70 digital with a custom built underwater housing.
Unfortunately the conditions were a bit murky on the day they were taken and the dolphins only get close enough for a pose if they choose to.
So you will need to be very patient to take your underwater shots but as you can see the dolphins do get close enough eventually. But then you will need to be extra quick taking photo's because they won't sit still too long.
There is plenty of time and opportunity for a close encounter with these friendly mammals of the sea.
There are plenty of volunteers who will shepherd you into formation so that everyone has an opportunity for an aquatic encounter of the dolphin kind.
If the beach dolphin interaction leaves you with a desire for more there is also the Bunbury Dolphin Tours which take you further out in Koombana Bay to their natural environment.
These tours are led by a marine biologist so expert commentary is guaranteed.
Two tours will depart in November commencing at 9.00 am and 12.00 midday. Two tours depart daily December to March at 8.00 am and 11.00 am. One tour departs during April commencing at 12.00 midday. All tours depart from the Dolphin Discovery Centre, Koombana Drive, Bunbury.
The tour cost is $115 for adults and children.
Just near the markets is a jetty with nice restaurants. The jetty is also a local hangout for catching crabs. We set the nets up one afternoon a caught a stack of blue crabs!!
Check out the travelogues below for all the fun :o)
My daughter showed me the place where she bought a gorgeous canvas painting of two ladies sipping coctails on the beach. Kelli said it was a pic of her and me! :o) I just loved it!!
So when we went past Splash Gallery, I had to stop and have look. And guess what?.... there was another canvas painting similar to what Kelli bought!!....So I had to have it!! :o)
This gift shop is just what I love!! Heaps of beach stuff! Loads of frangipani and Kombie hippy stuff!! I was in heaven!! :o) ......
There's a walking track right along the beach front to a lovely cafe.
We didn't bring our purses so didn't stop, but it looked like a great place for a morning coffee and cake right on the beach front :o)
After a nice swim in the lake we walked along the foreshore to the markets.
Bunbury markets are on every weekend and a great place to take the whole family. It is very busy so we didn't stay too long.....but just enough time to savour the atmosphere before building up a thirst to visit the local pub :o)
The beach in Bunbury is gorgeous!! Pure white sand and calm water. We didn't swim because there was a surf carnival on at the time and the beach was crowded.
But I did come back down early the next morning and had the whole beach to myself :o) Now that's something you don't see too often ;o)
I just loved the tree lined streets in Bunbury. This place has cute cafes, gift shops and quaint shopping malls. ....everything us ladies require on a little holiday ;o)
We headed into a tiny shopping arcade where Janine bought a new eyebrow ring.
I don't know about you, but when I first arrive in a town I like to walk down the main street and check it out :o)
Well in Bunbury there is an interesting fountain in the main street with two unusual looking charactors :o) It certainly makes for a talking point and quite unique :o)
Koombana Bay is inhabited by many dolphins. The Dolphin Discovery Centre was opened in 1994 to give visitors an opportunity to see and interact with the wild dolphins of Koombana Bay. There is an interaction zone at the beach where people can stand in the water and get close to them. The centre also offers boat tours and swimming tours. Unfortunately we did not have enough time to join the boat cruise.
These two websites have all the details and lots of photos (no need to repeat everything here):
However: The dolphins come to visit when, and only when, they decide to. You never know when and for how long. They do not come every day. According to what I read on the board where the recent visits were listed, they come about two or three times per week. You need good luck to see them. So plan enough time to wait. Chances are said to be best in the morning but you never know.
We were not lucky. We only saw one dolphin patrolling the beach from afar in the evening before.