Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Bunbury

Seeing as Cameron, Rocky and I will be based here in Bunbury for another few months I thought it fitting to do a post specifically about Bunbury. Over the last few years of travel one thing seems to have kept consistent with us. Once again we have committed to staying somewhere for a period of time even though we had never been here before. In 2013 we were hired for a tour guide job in central Australia without ever having been there. The same happened last year when we worked a season in the wet tropics. 
 
Life is an adventure and we seek it out in any way we can including getting out of our comfort zone. This year not only are we facing winter instead of escaping it to somewhere warm, but we are also staying the furthest South either of us have ever lived, let alone for winter. We have already experienced the coastal southerly winds and they are COLD. Being a traveller though, we are lucky, and we live in a beautiful country. All areas are worth exploring, and experiencing.
Bunbury does seem to be a nice place to stay for a while. It could be referred to as a central hub. 2 hours North of Bunbury is Western Australia's state capital, Perth, and just over an hour South of Bunbury is the Margaret River vineyard region, and don't forget Bussleton that Cameron wrote about too which is only 45 minutes South or some of the national parks close by that we will write our adventures soon. There are plenty of day tours leaving from Bunbury to allow access to explore the region.  

You don't need to escape Bunbury to have a relaxing time. It is classed as a city, but it is a small city spread out city. It has all of the essentials, with a variety of shopping centres but without all of the hustle of a big city. It is coastal with a variety of swimming spots, the two most popular are Koombana Bay and Back Beach. There is farmland. There is bushland.

One thing about Bunbur I have noticed is that it is flat which is great for walking, riding a bike or even roller blading. Being from Newcastle which was a city built on one giant hill, I think it is great! When learner drivers do their driving test, they all go to the same hill for their hill starts. 

The City of Bunbury has made use of this flat advantage by having many and a variety of walking tracks and footpaths throughout the city. Some also have board walks that extend over the water, reeds, and mangroves. On some of the walks there will be a sections that you see the city or suburban areas, but they change quickly back to suddenly to be surrounded by nature again, the noise returning to a natural sound of birds chirping, frogs croaking, and wind rustling. At the information centre there is a a small booklet that has the walks and maps in there. If you ask the locals on things to do you will probably here 'The Tuart Walk' or perhaps 'The Mangrove Board Walk'. Our favourite walk though is along Back Beach, just feeling the sand on our toes, the wind in our hair, and listening to the ocean.

There is a fair bit of wildlife to be seen at Bunbury. During some of our walks we have seen some unusual and pretty looking birds. Bunbury Wildlife Park is in town where you will see native Aussies such as kangaroos, emus and cockatoos. If you have not had the opportunity to see these animals that are unique to Australia, or if you have children it is worth a visit. Feeding the animals is always a delight for the children.

Dolphins are also a common site here in Bunbury, so much so that there is a Dolphin Discovery Centre. The centre itself is a mini aquarium with a variety of small marine life. There is information about dolphins, and the animals they help to rescue. Feeding the animals occurs a couple of times per day to which visitors are invited to watch. Entrance to the centre is valid for three visits. If you are feeling a bit more adventurous they run an eco cruise all year round, (times of the day change depending what time of year you are visiting). During the summer months of October to April, swim tours are also run. I haven't been lucky enough to see the dolphins yet at Koombana Bay, but I am not a morning person and I am told by the staff at the centre that they are more likely to be present in the morning. But I have seen many dolphins over the years in different parts of Australia.

Just down the road from the Bunbury Wildlife Park and across the road from the big swamp is the Accessible Playground. It is quite large, but the best thing about it is that children in wheelchairs can have just as much fun here as their siblings and mates. I have seen this attempted before, but quite often the only point of inclusion is a wheelchair friendly swing with nothing else. However the Accessible Playground has a variety of activities that a child in the wheelchair can enjoy with others, and that is something that is very important in a child's development, to be able to play with their friends not just play alone because they are confined to a wheelchair. It is great to see.

Bunbury is a great place to raise children, explore nature, relax, or use as a central gateway for other close by regions and so far we are enjoying our time here. Happy travels. Jeni