Myself and a few others hired out a Limo for the day and took in the wineries of the South West, including the Ferguson Valley and Margaret River Region. True comfort and it was amazing the limo comes with a chauffeur (of course) who was also our tour guide. We took in Caple vale, which is a very nice wine, Leenwin estate, Evans and Tate and finally a chocolate factory. The price was $85 each per person for the day...
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.
Rocky Point is a basalt rock formation from an ancient lava flow with natural channels that allow the sea to surge creating fascinating wave formations.
It's particularly spectacular during stormy weather but please be careful near the edges. Unless you're a strong swimmer you don't really want to get a dunking here.
Situated on Marlston Hill, which over looks the city of Bunbury, is a spectacular tower where from the top, there are great views over the city and suburbs, as well as the port, harbour and the inland waterway of the Leschenault Inlet. The Dolphin Discovery Centre on Koombana Bay is also visible.
The tower was opened in 1988 and one of many Australian Bi-Centenial projects. Although not particularly tall as towers go, it is never-the-less worth the climb to take in a great view.
The dolphins aren't just seen at this bay, but we were told it's the most common place to see them, so that's where we went bright and early at 8 am...the beach in front of the Dolphin centre and its cafe.
We had to wait about an hour, but just as I was about to give up hope, they arrived, and the call went up and everybody on the beach (about 20 people) began to gather at the water's edge.
It's controlled, so you can't actually touch the dolphins, but then that's for the best, as they are still wild creatures.
Viewers had to form a line, in a little over knee deep in the water, with a volunteer in a half wetsuit at either end of the line, to make sure nobody stepped forward and tried to touch the dolphins.
Even in my shorts, I still got quite wet (too busy taking photos to notice some biggish waves coming in!) but it was just such an entrancing experience that I really didn't care.
The dolphins swam around us for about 15 minutes or more, and occasionally came within about 4 feet of one of the volunteers. We saw 3 dolphins in all.
A very special experience.
When you enter the dolphin discovery centre you will find a museum with some interesting stuff about the dophins and the local aquatic area. There is also a small theatre showing some movies about different aquatic animals. When we visited there was one on whales. You entry ticket is valid from one year, as they can't promise that you will see any dolphins. Unfortunetly for us both times we visited no dolphins came into the bay, but the volunteers were more than happy to have a chat and tell us about some of the dolphins that do come in.
At the Dolphin Discovery Centre you can discover more than you have never seen before! At random times of the day a dolphin or more will come into the bay to feed. While in the bay a member of the Dolphin Discovery Team will tell you as much as they know about that dolphin. Also you can buy tickets to dolphin watching which is simply magical!
Built in 1855, the limestone and shingle Bunbury Courthouse remains the oldest building in the Bunbury CBD and it is still in use today.
The building has been used as a courthouse, post office, bond store and police quarters before being used as a court administration building. Its role as a court finally ceased in 1984 when construction of the current courthouse was completed.
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)
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.
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)
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)
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)
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) ......
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)