The three best things about living in Mandurah are the water, the water and the water! My family used to holiday here when I was a kid, fishing and crabbing, and when my stepdad got a job at Alcoa in 1972, we were happy to grab the chance to move here permanently.
My grandad was a cray fisherman out of Safety Bay and I grew up with salt water in my veins, helping him out whenever I got the chance. High school wasn’t really for me and I left early. I went and joined my grandad on his boat and have worked around boats and fishing ever since.
I’m a captain with Mandurah Cruises and spend my days taking tourists out for a genuine cray fishing experience. We take the pots out and set them, then we welcome our visitors on board and take them out and let them pull the pots and collect the catch. The crays are cooked on board and served with other fresh, local seafood as we cruise the waterways around Mandurah.
Our visitors learn so much about the region’s waterways, the lobster industry and the crustaceans themselves. The feedback is always overwhelmingly positive. I’m seeing a big jump in the number of tourists enjoying Mandurah, many of them from China. They seem to really appreciate our natural attractions and big open spaces.
Whether you’re here for a day or a week, from an hour away or half a world away, there’s so much for people to do. I’ve seen some big changes since 1972 when the population was just 6000 (or 6001 as someone graffitied on the welcome sign as they drove into town).
This place has a lot going for it. The hills are just 18 kilometres away, you’ve got the ocean and the estuary at your front door and more recent additions like Dolphin Quay at the marina and the Mandurah Performing Arts Centre give people more things to do.
It will be no surprise to anyone though that my favourite day in Mandurah is any day I’m out on my boat fishing. I’ve never had to buy seafood and I never plan to.
IVAN’S TOP SPOTS
- Fishing If you have access to a boat, Five Fathom Bank, just off the coast between Mandurah and Dawesville. From the beach, White Hills in Bouvard, where I’ve even seen people land dhufish.
- Crabbing My favourite spot is just off Southern Estuary Road at the very southern end of the Peel Harvey Estuary, by the mouth of the Harvey River. It has a nice barbecue area too. Make sure you use a good bait such as fish heads.
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