Passport to the Peel: A day on the water with Mandurah's resident dolphins

I have always wondered, as a Mandurah local who was born and grew up here, if I would ever get tired of seeing our resident dolphins splashing about.

But I have decided it isn't possible.

There aren't many times I go out on the water and don't spot at least a couple of finned friends, and I get just as excited every time.

I think we all do, don't we? We point them out to friends, strangers even, and we stand around waiting for what feels like an eternity until they resurface.

So when the opportunity came up to jump on board only my second ever Mandurah Cruise, I jumped at it.

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I invited my best friend, Holly, along to experience the new dolphin and scenic marine cruise with me - a one hour and 15 minute voyage through the inland waterways.

With our boat scheduled to take off at 10am on Saturday morning, we couldn't help but stop by one of Mandurah's many exceptional cafes to enjoy a local brew.

We ended up at TODS where I knew I could get a perfect chai latte, boasting a blend of both sweet and spicy flavours.

It was great to see so many people sitting down to enjoy breakfast, taking advantage of the restrictions being lifted further across WA just hours earlier.

I couldn't start the morning without treating myself to a chai latte from TODS. Photo: Kaylee Meerton.

I couldn't start the morning without treating myself to a chai latte from TODS. Photo: Kaylee Meerton.

At the jetty, in the heart of town, we joined an array of locals and visitors made up of both young families and older couples, as well as our captain Shane, tour guide Tegan and deckhand Murray.

It was a cool and calm Saturday morning and the waters were perfect for cruising.

Within minutes of departure, an eagle-eyed fellow guest spotted a pod of about eight or nine dolphins jumping around in the middle of Mandjar Bay.

I had honestly never seen anything like it with my own eyes - they were flipping through the air in what felt like a show put on just for us.

The spectacle was met with "oohs" and "ahs" from on board the boat with everyone enjoying the tricks.

Tegan said that encounter alone would make us one of the luckiest tour groups of the day and there was a mutual feeling of gratitude throughout the boat.

But it didn't stop there.

As we entered Mandurah's iconic canals, framed with luxurious multi-million dollar homes, we were treated to another pod of playful dolphins twirling alongside the boat showing off their bright tummies. It almost felt like they were saying hello!

As if it couldn't get any better, just after making our way towards the Peel Inlet, we were joined by a resident dolphin mother and calf.

While they were a little hard to spot at first, soon they were hitching a ride with us and surfing the wake at the front of the boat.

Our tour guide Tegan taught us all about fishing for Blue Swimmer crabs and western rock lobsters. Photo: Kaylee Meerton.

Our tour guide Tegan taught us all about fishing for Blue Swimmer crabs and western rock lobsters. Photo: Kaylee Meerton.

Not only did we get a unique dolphin experience, we also learnt how to fish for blue swimmer crabs and western rock lobsters and had success catching some of our own in pots scattered about the estuary.

We discovered Mandurah's famous wetlands and used the on-board binoculars to spot pelicans, swans and plenty of other water birds.

We pulled back into the jetty about 11.15am, just in time to spot another dolphin duo splashing about in front of The Peninsula restaurant.

They must have missed playing with us humans while we were all in isolation!

Mandurah's Moreton Bay fig tree is one of many local icons to enjoy during a beautiful stroll through town. Photo: Kaylee Meerton.

Mandurah's Moreton Bay fig tree is one of many local icons to enjoy during a beautiful stroll through town. Photo: Kaylee Meerton.

Holly and I took the opportunity to go for a short stroll around the boardwalk and into the Mandurah Marin, soaking up the lovely weather and picture-perfect surroundings.

I couldn't think of a more perfect way to spend a Saturday morning in Mandurah.

The new Passport to the Peel series will highlight some of the region's best travel experiences as I start ticking off my never-ending local bucket list and play tourist in our great town.

We would love to hear about your recommended travel experiences around the Peel region. Email editor@mandurahmail.com.au with your suggestions.