Bunbury is Western Australia’s third-largest city, with a population just behind Mandurah’s. 175 kilometres south of Perth, Bunbury is located at the south of the Leschenault Estuary, and was established in 1836 on the orders of Governor James Stirling. Greater Bunbury encompasses the areas of Capel, Dardanup, Harvey, Yarloop and Boyanup.
Bunbury is now one of the state’s largest urban centres. An outlet for the export of timber, wool, dairy products, wheat and fruit; as well as a hotspot for surfing and boating, it’s clear why so many call the city of Bunbury their home. Here are a few key things that make the city of Bunbury so special.
History of Bunbury
The original inhabitants of Greater Bunbury were the Indigenous Australian Noongar people, but the city of Bunbury was officially founded in 1843 and named after Lieutenant Henry William St. Pierre Bunbury, who had explored the area extensively. By the mid 19th century, Bunbury was well-established as a cargo port, and a railway line connecting Bunbury and Perth was completed in 1893.
Things to do in Bunbury
Visit the Dolphin Discovery Centre
The Dolphin Discovery Centre on Koombana Drive was established in 1994 to allow tourists and community members to interact with, understand and enjoy the group of dolphins that regularly visit the Koombana Bay dolphin zone. Today, the centre continues to grow and increase its resources to further establish itself within the tourism industry, and to continue to care for and conserve the Koombana Bay dolphins.
The centre is open seven days from 8am to 5pm, and is open every public holiday except for Christmas Day.
Catch a show at the Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre
The Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre (or BREC) is one of Western Australia’s leading performing arts venues. It hosts over 200 events each year, and welcomes over 60,000 visitors each season. Owned by the City of Bunbury, BREC is operated as a not-for-profit organisation. After recent funding from the Royalties for Regions program, BREC underwent an expansion in 2014 and is now able to provide world-class service for all sectors of the Bunbury community.
Some event types you can expect to see at BREC include musicals, cabaret, stand-up comedy, film festivals, circus, classical music, ballet, plays and international touring productions.
Explore the submerged Lena dive wreck
The Lena was sunk as a dive wreck in late 2002, and is now situated only three nautical miles from the Bunbury coast. A team of volunteers and local dive industry workers made the vessel diver-safe and environmentally clean so it was ready to be explored in December of 2003. Today, the Lena provides a unique diving experience for all levels of divers. With wide internal spaces and carefully plotted entry and exit holes, the Lena is not only safe and comfortable, but contains some special features that are sure to thrill more experienced divers.
The Lina will continue to develop as a thriving reef system, and is a magnet for visitors and residents to the city of Bunbury to get up close and personal with this unique ship in such clear waters. You may be lucky to spot baldchin gropers, Samson fish, Port Jackon sharks, stingrays, leatherjackets, cuttlefish, snapper, dhufish and dozens of varieties of small reef fish which are perfect for underwater photography.
Stock up on local produce at the Bunbury Farmers Market
Located at the corner of Vittoria Road and the Australind Bypass, the Bunbury Farmers Market has been growing and selling local fruit and vegetables since June 2003. Depending on the season, between 70% and 90% of the market’s fresh produce comes straight from local growers, meaning you’re guaranteed to stock up on the freshest goods that the entire suburb of Bunbury has to offer.
The market is open daily from 7:30am to 6:30pm, and slightly shortened hours on weekends and public holidays.
Annual events in Bunbury
Bunbury Beer & Cider Festival
The Bunbury Beer & Cider Festival is a weekend-long festival that celebrates Western Australian-made brews on the waters’ edge in Bunbury. As well as an array of delicious drinks, the festival also includes an arcade, sideshow alley, lawn games, ping pong, DJ sets and tasty eats. Be sure to book tickets in advance, as the event is known to sell out.
South West Multicultural Festival
Drawing in excess of 5,000 people each year, the South West Multicultural Festival is a celebration of the South West region’s multicultural community. It features demonstrations, market stalls, performances, interactive workshops, food options, dancing and music – all of which contribute to the region through its expansive range of cultural diversity. The festival is free to the public, and has been operating for over ten years.
Groovin’ The Moo
This annual travelling music festival takes place in Hay Park, Bunbury each year, and features a line up of outstanding Australian and international musicians and bands. Held in April, the event attracts thousands of teens and adults to the Bunbury region.
SHIFT Youth Festival
Aimed at those between 12 and 25, the SHIFT Youth Festival combines live music and interactive activities, and is organised by the City of Bunbury’s Youth Advisory Council. The engaging event is a great opportunity for local youth community members to interact with artists, scientists and musicians from the region.
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