The face of Bunbury has changed in an incredible way. Once seen as just an industrial port, Bunbury has received an injection of edgy boutiques, intimate wine bars and top-notch restaurants, mostly thanks to a group of hip, young entrepreneurs who decided to transform their city into a place they wanted to work and play.
Bunbury’s art scene, while always a strong part of the community, has been enhanced with the recent Re.Discover Bunbury street art initiative, where a series of murals painted by renowned street artists have revitalised the city centre. These murals add to a collection of impressive public street sculptures, the regional entertainment centre which champions performing arts, and the Bunbury Regional Art Gallery; the only ‘A’ class regional gallery in Western Australia.
Situated on a peninsula, Bunbury is known as the City of Three Waters and as such, it’s an aquatic playground. There’s rumbling surf of the Indian Ocean to the west, the calm waters of Koombana Bay and the tranquil Leschenault Inlet. Surfing, stand up paddle boarding, canoeing and boating are all very popular.
The stars of Bunbury’s marine scene are undoubtedly the wild, yet friendly dolphins that interact with people in Koombana Bay. These gentle creatures visit the shores in front of the Dolphin Discovery Centre, delighting visitors who wade into the water to meet them.
Another prominent feature of Bunbury’s waterways is Mangrove Cove, where you can stroll the boardwalk to get close to the 25,000-year-old Leschenault mangroves. There is also a walk trail and viewing platform at the Big Swamp Reserve, which allows interaction with a diverse range of wetland flora and fauna, including over 30 species of birdlife.
Top things to do in Bunbury
- Get closer to Bunbury’s dolphins on a swim tour (November-April) or a cruise to experience these intelligent creatures. Be sure to check out the new ‘Digital Dolphinarium’ and the touch pool while you’re at the centre.
- Catch a show at BREC – the newly refurbished Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre has an impressive line-up of comedy, opera, dance and music throughout the year.
- Discover some the historic buildings. Venture into the King Cottage Museum (1880), Rose Hotel (1865), and St Mark’s Church (1842) - the second oldest church in Western Australia. Admire the 1860’s architecture and workmanship evident in the Old Post Office and Courthouse.
- Take a stroll around the streets to spot the street murals. You can pick up a map from the local visitor centre. There’s plenty of cool cafes and boutiques along the way if you need a rest!
- Join a dive or snorkel - the Lena dive wreck offers a fascinating view of marine life, and is suitable for snorkelling and diving. Caught fishing illegally, the vessel was sunk as a dive wreck just 3 nautical miles off Bunbury in 2003.
- Meet Australian native creatures at the Bunbury Wildlife Park. There’s wombats, kangaroos, emus, reptiles and birds.
- Visit the Bunbury Regional Art Galleries, located in a distinctive pink historic building. These are the largest regional galleries in WA and house international and local exhibitions of sculpture, painting, woodwork and blown glass along with a wide range of arts and craft.
- Visit the prehistoric basalt rock along Bunbury’s Back Beach at Wyalup Rocky Point, which resulted from lava flows thousands of years ago.
- Enjoy a scenic walk through Maiden’s Reserve, where you’ll discover natural tuart forests where kangaroo paws, tuart spider orchids, ringtail possums, bats, echidnas, bandicoots and kangaroos reside.