Bunbury is a city in Western Australia. 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.)
There are two trains per day in each direction between Bunbury and Perth; these are run by Transwa. The train station (called Bunbury Passenger Terminal) is about 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) from the town centre.
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 PTA website.
- 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. There is not much to see inside the centre, only a few display boards with less dolphin information than you could find out in a minute on Wikipedia. You may want to check if there are any dolphins around on the beach before you pay the admission, otherwise you get very little for your money. There are no captive dolphins at the centre. They also run trips out to where the dolphins are, but these need to be booked in advance.
- 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, ☎ +61 8 97919901. Dinner: W-M 5:30PM-Late; Lunch: Th-F 12PM-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.
- Cafe 140, 140 Victoria Street, ☎ +61 8 9721 2254, e-mail: 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
- Mantra Bunbury, 1 Holman Street, Bunbury WA 6230 (2 hours drive south of Perth), ☎ +61 8 9721 0100. Check-in: 2:00PM, check-out: 10:00AM. Opened in December 2008 Bunbury’s newest boutique property, Mantra Bunbury, presents a tangible vision of contemporary elegance and hospitality. This full service Hotel caters to business and leisure travelers as well as locals looking for an intimate getaway. Mantra Bunbury offers sixty-four superbly appointed deluxe and standard studio suites set within the heritage precinct of The Silos. Capture the historical aura of the Silos in the hotel lobby, the gallery featuring works by Leon Pericles and opening in March, 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, professionally managed state of the art health spa and off-street parking
- Dolphin Retreat (Bunbury YHA), 14 Wellington Street, Bunbury, 6230, ☎ +61 8 97924690, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 8:00am-10:00am and 4:00pm-9:00pm.
- Busselton — A seaside town with a very, very long jetty.
- Collie — A small coal mining town surrounded by bucolic and natural beauty.