Taking the opportunity of a summer holiday day trip to Mandurah, I’ve hired a Bowrider Runabout from Mandurah Boat and Bike Hire. The drive from Perth to Mandurah takes less than an hour on the Kwinana Freeway and exiting at Mandjoogoordap Drive will lead you directly into Mandurah.
Driving a boat around the Mandurah canals and estuary isn’t as relaxing as being on open water. It’s a busy waterway system and even though you don’t need a Skippers Ticket to hire a boat from Mandurah Boat and Bike Hire, I’m glad I’ve got mine and know a few of the rules to keep things safe and friendly.
Less than a minute from leaving the jetty and while the kids are still laying down their towels on the bow lounge seats I spot dolphins ahead of us, just relaxing in the water in front of the huge Moreton Bay Fig tree at Stingray Point.
The tree was planted in 1930 and has been surviving well until in recent years too many cormorants have been nesting in the tree and the toxicity of their droppings has been burning the foliage.
After a slow chug through some of the nearby canals, admiring boats as big as houses and houses as big as castles, we head out to the estuary. At Boundary Island we cut the engine and drift up onto the beach. It’s a popular spot to stretch your legs and have a swim, although walking through the shallow water may result in undesirable interaction with the resident crabs.
Heading out into the broad expanse of the estuary the kids jump off the back of the boat and do a couple of laps of the boat before climbing aboard. We make our way back to our departure point at the same time as a lot of boats are heading back to various pens and ramps.
Many of the boats on the water are pontoon hire boats and look to have two or more families on board. Fully shaded and with plenty of seating they look perfect for a day on the water with plenty of room to move about. Typical of my ungrateful mob, I am derided for not hiring a pontoon boat so I nudge our bow into the wake of a passing boat, slip sideways and allow a nice amount of water to spray over the bow and drench the wretched children.
Before returning the boat we take another look in the canals and easily locate more dolphins. I idle the engine and let the kids spot them surfacing, taking bets on where they’ll surface next.
After we return the boat we walk along the boardwalk, admiring the public art on display, and enjoying some Cicerello’s fish and chips and Simmo’s ice cream before heading back to Perth.
It’s an easy day trip break that hasn’t broken the bank or left us completely knackered. I reckon we’ll be back again next year but I’m guessing we’ll be on a pontoon boat with friends. That’s fine by me.