10 Secret Places You Need to Explore In And Around Mandurah.

Keep it secret. Keep it safe.

Wise words when referring to a formidable ring of power.

The same adage is true though when referring to those places off the beaten track, not yet totally discovered by the average Perthian.

There comes a time though when some such secrets need to be shared, as they are slowly but surely uncovered by more and more day-trippers seeking a retreat from the city.

Mandurah is one of those too-easily overlooked places that is bursting with equal measures nature and culture. But within this ‘secret’ place lies secret spots, and within those spots… actually let’s not get too far into what promises to be nothing short of secretception.

For now, come a little closer as we whisper softly the Secret Spots in and around Mandurah.

1. Lake Clifton and the Thrombolites

2,000-year-old Thrombolite Reef, Lake Clifton | Photo Credit: Russell Ord Photography

When we think of seeing the greatest natural wonders in the state, we think of huge road trips into our ochre red north or our lush south.

And yet, less than an hour from the city, lie some of the oldest life forms on the entire planet. The Thrombolite Reef in the pristine Lake Clifton is the largest in the southern hemisphere and date back at least 2,000 years. The rock-like structures lie just underneath the water’s surface and are, in fact, alive. They produce oxygen, which made all subsequent life possible millions of years ago.

Besides the incredible natural phenomenon, the boardwalk and surrounding flora make this a beautiful spot to visit, and when the sun goes down, attracts many an avid astrophotographer.

Our tip: The best way to experience the thrombolites is on a tour with Mandjoogoordap Dreaming, where George Walley will share with you the dreaming story of the thrombolites and other cultural knowledge and memories of the region’s first people, the Bindjareb people.

Mount John Road, Lake Clifton

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2. Herron Point

Herron Point and the Peel Inlet-Harvey Estuary. Photo Credit: Michael Bond

This is one of those camping spots you won’t believe you didn’t know about sooner. This beautiful hideaway is right on the Peel Inlet-Harvey Estuary, meaning that if you do decide to pitch up a tent, one of the first things your feet will touch in the morning is the sand by the bank.

Even if you’re not staying the night though, this is one of the best spots in the Peel Yalgorup Wetlands System, which was declared a Wetland of International Importance in 1990.

Even if you’re not staying the night, this is one of the best spots to view the beautiful Peel Inlet-Harvey Estuary, which at 136 sq km is twice the size of Sydney Harbour.

The campground is not pre-bookable and sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis for a maximum of two nights. There are 25 sites available and camping fees are payable to the on-site caretaker. It is pet-friendly and campfires are permitted at certain times of the year. Click here for an information sheet.

Herron Point Campground, Herron Point Rd, Birchmont

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3. Creery Wetlands

Photo Credit: Russel Ord Photography

The vast waterways of the region make up the Peel Yalgorup Wetlands System, which was declared a Wetland of International Importance in 1990.

One of its must-see spots is the Creery Wetlands, made up of a 29-hectare nature reserve that’s connected with a series of boardwalks and pathways.

The selection of trails and tracks surrounded by teeming birdlife and lush flora makes this one of the best secret spots outside of Perth for bushwalking and sightseeing.

Our tip: the best way to discover (or rediscover) what makes these stunning wetlands and the remarkable wildlife so special is on a guided walking tour with Ways to Nature.

This is one of the best spots in the Peel Yalgorup Wetlands System

Creery Wetlands Nature Reserve, Darwin Tce, Dudley Park

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4. Falcon Bay Beach

Photo Credit: Russel Ord Photography

With over 60km of coastline, there are certainly plenty of beaches to choose from in and around Mandurah. The beach that is much loved by the locals is Falcon Bay, just a bit north of the Dawesville Cut.

The curved bay protects the beach from southerly winds, providing calm waters perfect for families and water-based activities. It also has a reef area ideal for exploring or snorkelling at high tide, a pontoon offshore in summertime and the popular Falcon Bay Beach Cafe’ nearby.

Plus, with shady grassed areas, picnic tables, BBQs, a playground and toilet/shower facilities you’ll find it hard not to spend the whole day here.

Our tip: if you are keen to learn to Stand Up Paddle Board or how to surf, Star Surf has you covered. Offering lessons at Falcon Bay and other nearby beaches.

11 Spinaway Pde, Falcon

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5. Mandurah Bridge

Mandurah Bridge | Photo Credit: Dan Wilkins

This new bridge was opened in late 2017, and while its main function is as a traffic bridge for cars, it is quite the sight from below.

A footpath runs underneath and around the bridge, which is a gorgeous spot to walk by the waterside in the day, or even fish from one of the fishing platforms. But it is equally, if not more fun at night. The entire bridge lights up in hues of yellow, pink and blue, reflected in the dazzling water below and lighting the way for a night-time stroll you won’t soon forget.

Our tip: Make sure you don’t miss the fantastic and fun photo opportunity at the eastern end of the bridge, right opposite Bar Therapy, where a giant blue manna crab is trying to nip people as they walk past.

cnr of Pinjarra Rd and Mandurah Tce

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6. Dawesville Cut

dawesville cut mandurah
Dawesville Cut

A rather big visitor to this spot has brought Dawesville Cut a fair bit of attention recently.

Remember seeing footage of a huge southern right whale coming ridiculously close to shore somewhere? Well, this is that somewhere.

Formally known as the Dawesville Channel, but “the cut” to locals, the 2.5km man-mind structure is perfect to walk along with your fingers crossed the whole way in the hope of seeing another 30,000kg local.

Local tip: Krista Nicholson from the Dolphin Research Group says she’s never once walked her dogs here without seeing a dolphin. Or enjoy stunning views over The Cut and watch the dolphins play as you relax with a drink and a bite to eat and drink at The Cut Tavern.

To view the Dawesville Channel exit off the Old Coast Road just before the Dawesville Bridge in Dawesville.

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7. Dolphin Quay Marina

Dolphin Pool, Dolphin Quay Marina | Credit: Russell Ord Photography

There are plenty of favourite “hang outs” around Perth. From the main “strips” of Leederville, Albany Highway or Beaufort Street, to the urban jungle of the CBD, and the real jungle of Kings Park, we Perthians just sort of loop around our fave spots in an endless cycle that founds our complaints of ‘nothing to do in Perth’.

Should we step out of that cycle though, and about 45 minutes south, many of us would find a spot that might as well be new for how often we overlook it. And once there, you’re sure to question why the heck that is.

Dolphin Quay is a sprawling urban village surrounded by water often visited by – you guessed it – dolphins. With all the restaurants, bars, arts and cultural hubs, boating tours and boundless activities, you could easily spend a whole day here with friends also stuck in the same Perth cycle. So get out there.

Our tip: for more fantastic and fun photo opportunities, make sure you feed the very hungry giant pelican on the Blue Gatehouse wall on the corner of Dolphin Drive and Spinnaker Quays. 

Dolphin Quay Marina, Zephyr Mews, Mandurah Ocean Marina

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8. Drakesbook Weir

Drakesbrook Weir, Waroona | Photo Credit: Russell Ord Photography

A ‘day at the beach’ is so last year. It’s time to get around ‘a day at the weir’. And why – or should we say weir– not? (We should absolutely never say weir not. That was a test.) Nestled in the hills of Waroona Dam, if you’re lucky enough to get to this great spot before the secret really gets out about it (our bad) you really will feel like you’ve got a hideaway to yourself.

With lush green grass and overhanging trees perfect for a picnic on the shore of the Weir, which is ideal for a spot of canoeing or kayaking, this will quickly become one of your favourite places to ‘get away from it all’.

Go uncover the natural history of the Weir with a short walk through bush until you find the rock face wall of the structure. There, you should be able to find a bronze plaque commemorating the discovery in 1942 of the first-ever known specimen of WA’s Noisy Scrub Bird. Should you ever see one of those little guys, you will thereupon be known as the ultimate discover of secret spots and things.

Weir Road, Waroona

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9. Lake Navarino

Lake Navarino

Be honest, even the name of this place sounds like a secret, hidden-away wonderland, and you wouldn’t be far from the truth. Lake Navarino is an aquatic playground which covers 145 hectares when full.

On top of this huge body of water, water skiing is very popular, while below, Rainbow Trout and freshwater marron reside for fishing. It’s one of those spots you won’t quickly want to leave. But should that be the case, the forest right next to Lake Navarino is home to a holiday park with caravan sites and self-contained cabins.

So you can say fare thee well civilization! (at least for the weekend).

Our tip: Make sure you visit Drakesbrook Fine Wines nearby to pick up some tasty local wines to enjoy during your stay at Lake Navarino Holiday Park.

147 Invarell Rod, Waroona 

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10. Secret snapping spots – Mandurah foreshore and Tuckey Lane

Heart Sculpture, artist Gary Aitken

When it comes to that “perfect” photo, it’s hard to deviate from the formula.

Whether it’s the perfectly symmetrical boathouse snap, a Hyde Park pic amongst the mountains of drying orange leaves, or a photo in the now not-so-Secret Garden – we’ve all seen these on Instagram.

Little do many Perth folk now, Mandurah has some serious Gram Game. The heart sculpture on Mandurah’s Eastern Foreshore is one such example, the swing mural (complete with an actual swing) in Tuckey Lane another.

Our tip: we are not finished giving you fantastic and fun photo opportunities yet. At the other end of the foreshore, just a short stroll away and just outside the Mandurah Visitor Centre are some of Mandurah’s friendly marine life just waiting to have a photo with you. 

Mandurah heart sculpture, Mandurah Eastern Foreshore near Redmanna Waterfront Restaurant 

Swing Mural, Tuckey Lane (off 5 Mandurah Tce) 

Mandurah Visitor Centre, 75 Mandurah Terrace