For many, Bunbury is the gateway to the more famous tourist and wine centres of Busselton, Margaret River, Dunsborough, Augusta and Yallingup that occupy places around the Naturaliste and Leeuwin Capes south of Bunbury. Indeed at Augusta, the Indian and Southern Oceans meet.
The Margaret River region is famous not only for its great surf but also for its world class wines. The area is widely known as one of the worlds premium, boutique wine growing regions.
Almost all vineyards and wineries in the area are open to the public with sample tastings and cellar door purchasing available. One of the bigger Margaret River wineries, Leeuwin Estate, hosts one of Western Australias major cultural annual events, the Leeuwin Concert.
Bunbury is the regional capital with a large business and government services community both within its CBD area and various commercial centres scattered around the city. The CBD has a swathe of restaurants and cafs, making it a great place for a street side meal or coffee.
More recently a new urban renewal project at the citys northern edge has opened up a new and vibrant waterside area for the city. Dubbed Marlston Hill, this area is home to not only to upmarket restaurants and other eateries but also to the citys newest and most expensive real estate development.
Many restaurants are open early and close late, with the remainder open in the evenings from around 6pm and for lunch around 12-2pm. There’s a bevy of fast-food options both within the city area and in the Bunbury suburbs, and Bunbury is famous for its family-owned pizza stores in the city area.
Thousands of years ago Bunbury was subject to lava flows which resulted in both the unique basalt rock formations on the city beach as well as the present Marlston Hill and Boulters Heights, where today some of Bunbury’s most exclusive residential real estate is located. Bunbury is also home to Australia’s southernmost mangroves and the world’s last native Tuart forest is just south of Bunbury.
Theres also a wide variety of attractions. The city is gearing up to host a round of the Formula Nippon motor racing circuit, there is an indoor skate centre, ten pin bowling, the Grand Cinemas complex within the CBD area with the Bunbury Entertainment Centre alongside. Bunbury boasts a major aquatic and fitness centre with a smaller indoor pool located at Australind. You can get a good view of Bunbury and the surrounding areas from the Apex Lookout Tower at Marlston Hill or at Boulters Heights, right alongside the city centre.
Bunbury is home to up to 90 bottlenose dolphins and visitors can wade in Koombana Bay while dolphins swim amongst you or you can take one of the Dolphin Discovery Centre’s Swim with the Dolphins cruises. Bunbury is one of the few places where wild dolphins freely visit the beach and interact with humans and the Dolphin Discovery Centre provides a wide range of educational and interactive material so that visitors can go away having not only seen dolphins but increased their knowledge of this marine mammal.
Bunbury is a great place to live, and especially so for families. There’s plenty to do and there’s a wide range of education options, with government and independent pre-primary, primary and secondary schools as well as a TAFE College and a campus of Edith Cowan. There are several shopping centres, sporting grounds and major private and public hospitals as well as a number of medical practices.
Shops are normally open 8.30am-5.30pm Monday to Friday and 8.30am-5.00pm Saturdays with late night shopping until 9pm on Thursday. The Eaton Fair Shopping Centre in Bunbury’s north-eastern suburbs has extended trading hours 7 days a week. Banks only operate 10am-4pm Monday through Thursday and until 5pm on Fridays, although credit and building societies normally also open on Saturday mornings. There are a host of automatic teller machines and bank agencies dotted in and around Bunbury.
To get around Bunbury there are ample modern taxis, a public bus transport service and more recently a tourist tram that will carry you about the city areas and give you an explanation of the local sites as you go. The Bunbury Visitor Centre in Carmody Street near Centrepoint Shopping Centre will also assist with additional maps and local knowledge.
Bunbury Tram Tours provide a regular tourist transport and sightseeing service around Bunbury operating on a 1 hour shuttle basis. You’ll see Tram Stop signs right around Bunbury. Tickets are sold on a multi use basis with tram users being able to board and exit the tram at any of the tram stops during the day of issue. Tickets are available for sale from the Dolphin Discovery Centre, Tourist Information Centre and on the tram.
There are a number of Post Offices in the Bunbury area and postage stamps can also be purchased at local news agencies. Postage for a standard letter, anywhere in Australia, is 50c.