Escaping Life on a Mandurah Dolphin Cruise

We find that when life gets all too much, a Mandurah Dolphin Cruise becomes the perfect remedy.

For me, whenever life gets stressful I want to escape.  I conjure up dreams of jumping on a plane to flee.  However life doesn’t always let you; there’s your partner, children, family, work and finances that just don’t allow you to fly off on a whim.

But if you look closely around there’s bound to be somewhere you can take yourself for a day trip and feel as though you have a taken a mini-holiday from life.

And that is exactly what I do!

After a particularly confrontational and stressful weekend, my son Lewis and I wake on Monday morning deflated and not ready to face the world.  By chance, a brochure from the Western Australian Tourism Bureau has arrived with the weekend newspaper.  The brochure offers a selection of places to stay and things to do throughout Western Australia including the Peel Region who’s aptly titled slogan is “Anytime Adventures.”

The Peel Region is approximately an hours drive south of Perth.  Easily accessible by car down the Kwinana freeway or by the public transport train and bus – we drive.

Prior to leaving home with a packed day bag, I make a booking for the lunchtime Mandurah Dolphin and Scenic Cruise directly through the Mandurah Cruises website.  I am a little concerned about our timing for the cruise as our mini-escape is spur of the moment.  We will only have an hour and a half to reach Mandurah, park, collect our tickets and board the cruise.  But I like the idea of the lunch cruise that includes a $12 fish and chip lunch and an extra half hour of cruising.  So I give the Mandurah Visitor Centre a quick call.  The staff member reassures me that if I miss the lunch cruise they will refund the lunch portion of the cruise and we can defer to the next cruise an hour later.

Making it to Mandurah with perfect timing, we board the Mandurah cruise vessel and find the only remaining seating in the downstairs section.  The staff onboard are VERY strict about numbers allowed on each level of the vessel and do not allow any more passengers on the upper open-air deck.  We join another small family of mum’s with their children at the eight-seater wood laminate table.  This ends up being perfect as they have a young boy a year older than Lewis who become friends for the day.  The other advantage of being downstairs is that we are not exposed to nature’s elements, perfect for today as whilst it is sunny the air is particularly crisp.  The lower level of the ferry is encased with large viewing windows that can be opened.  We are also able t stand outside on the small front and rear decks.

A Mandurah Dolphin Cruise offers a great day trip from Perth to escape the city

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Our Mandurah Dolphin Cruise

Our Mandurah Dolphin Cruise departs on time at 12noon pushing out into the calm teal blue waters of Mandurah Estuary.  Our captain runs through the emergency and safety procedures before advising us of the cruise format for the afternoon and reminding us that there is no guarantee of seeing dolphins as the dolphins are wild animals that swim through the Mandurah Estuary.

We sail past the iconic Peninsula Hotel, that sits Mandurah’s most expensive land and has been a popular place to meet for a drink for well over 60 years.  Chugging into the main waterway leading to the Mandurah Ocean Marina we get a sighting of a dolphin.  The dolphin appears to be alone, it is just gently swimming along with only a fin showing.  A little disappointing.

A dolphin sighting on the Mandurah dolphin cruise

A dolphin sighting

After cruising around the open waters of the estuary our captains accept’s defeat – no more dolphins 🙁 and heads towards the Ocean Marina to collect our lunch.  We see glimpses into the canals known as Little Venice that are surrounded by luxury apartments.

Little venice Mandurah canals on a Mandurah dophin cruise

Entrance to Little Venice, Mandurah Canals

Pulling up to the marina, a staff member jumps off the ferry to collects trays of fish and chips.  The fish is moist encased in a light crispy batter, the chips are golden brown.  Staff offer us salt, vinegar and tomato sauce (ketchup).  We can purchase a drink from the licensed bar.

Fish and chip lunch on a Mandurah dolphin cruise

Fish and Chips lunch

Entering into the Mandurah canals we see some of the most expensive homes in Perth perched along the waterfront.  Many of the multi-million dollar homes have their own dock, boat, jet skis and canoes.  It certainly looks like the life – if you can afford it.

luxury homes on Mandurah canals

Luxury homes on the Mandurah Canals

Those that can’t are fishing on a pontoon attached to the bottom of the Mandurah Estuary Bridge.

Seeing fishermen on a Mandurah dolphin cruise

Fisherman under the Mandurah Estuary Bridge

Further along the estuary almost into Collins Pool pelicans, shags, and seagulls sunbathe on the limestone rocks.

Birdlife on a Mandurah dolphin and scenic cruise

Birdlife on the limestone rocks

Then it’s time to sail back into Mandurah.  All on board are eager for another sighting of a dolphin.  The kids even have binoculars out.  But sadly it’s all to no avail.  There are no more dolphins today.

Whilst it is a shame that we didn’t see many dolphins on this cruise; it has been a lovely day trip.  We have achieved our goal of feeling as if we have escaped and travelled afar even though it really was just an hour south of Perth on a Mandurah dolphin cruise.

Top Trip Tips: On a Mandurah Dolphin Cruise



Phone Number

  • +61 (08) 9581 1242


  • You will find three-hour free parking on Mandurah Terrace outside the Mandurah Visitors Centre near the dock for the Mandurah Dolphin and Scenic Cruise
  • If you wish to catch the train and bus please refer to TransPerth for timetables and fares.
A Mandurah Dolphin and Scenic Cruise offers a great day trip from Perth to escape the city.

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Toddlers On Tour

Hi, I'm a Perth born and bred travel tips blogger/writer with 20+ years experience in airlines, hospitality and tourism. I love sharing my travel lessons learned to help you plan for travel with my travel tips for trips. Please follow along to receive all my travel planning tips and destination inspirations.

14 Responses to “Escaping Life on a Mandurah Dolphin Cruise

  • Excellent Tips and Good Source or information for any person who is travailing to Perth and who loves to cruise! I love Perth myself, Thanks.

  • Too bad there was only the one lonely dolphin. Our record for spotting wildlife is pretty poor – pretty sure if we were on board, even that one dolphin would have gone someplace else! 😉 Seems like a nice lunch cruise, none-the-less! Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard!

    • The lunch was nice Rob and Ann. I think that as long as the rest of the day trip is enjoyable you can always forgive the wildlife for not performing as you wish.

  • I’ve been out in the bay here, but not on a dolphin cruise. It’s such a pretty place and there’s lots of lovely places to eat on the pier. #theweeklypostcard

    • It was very pretty Laura. My Aunt use to live on the canals and as a child we use to canoe on them – so beautiful.

  • i always like taking opportunities to better appreciate my own backyard. Mini-breaks are important. this looks like a fun day out.

  • Ah traveling is always a great way to unwind and wash away any stress! I even do trips before I know something big and stressful is coming just so I can be ready to tackle 20+ kids! A dolphin cruise definitely seems like a great way to unwind!! I miss seeing dolphins when I used to live in Cali! Thanks for linking up with #TheWeeklyPostcard

    • Travel is the total de-stress remedy Lolo. The thought of 20+ kids is enough to make anyone’s stress levels rise 😉

  • Disappointing not to see more dolphins but the boat trip itself sounds like the perfect tonic to a stressful day and those fish and chips look great! #TheWeeklyPostcard

  • I love doing whale watching and have spotted dolphins a few times. They really are so fun to watch, I just love their energy. #TheWeeklyPostcard

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