Western Australia, Dolphins or Whales?

Mar 27th, 2011, 03:09 PM
  #1  
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Western Australia, Dolphins or Whales?

Hello,

I am starting to plan a trip to Western Australia for this November. We will concentrate on Perth and the southwest, and have about 9 or 10 days. I was considering doing either a dolphin cruise or a whale watching cruise. I have seen very few reviews of either the Bunbury Dolphin Discovery Center or the Rockingham Wild Encounters. I've read even less about the whale watching tours from Dunsborough. Does anyone have any experience with any of these trips? I'm not sure we would swim with the dolphins, but I like the idea of taking a boat trip rather than the beach encounter at Bunbury. Trying to figure out which (if any) would be worthwhile before mapping out an itinerary.

Also, is November too late for wildflowers? If not, what part of the region is best at this time of year? We fly in to Perth on Nov. 3.

Any opinions or recommendations appreciated. Thanks.
traveler318 is offline  
Mar 27th, 2011, 04:05 PM
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I can't tell you how refreshing it is to read about someone wanting to see dolphins somewhere other than Monkey Mia!

I've not done the activities you're considering, but dolphins are relatively easy to spot - in fact, you can often see them in the Swan River right in Perth. Busselton is another possibility.

I don't know how far south you plan to go, but Augusta and Albany are popular spots for whale watching trips too. It's considerably less crowded down there and I'd probably choose it over Dunsborough based on that alone. However, November is getting late for whale watching - the season generally runs from June-October.

Yes, wildflowers are still around in November, particularly in the SW of the state. Kings Park is a good place to see them too.
Melnq8 is offline  
Mar 28th, 2011, 07:58 AM
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Thank you for your reply. Not sure we'll make it all the way to Albany. It looks lovely, but I don't know that we have the time. We will try to get to Augusta, but I according to the Naturaliste cruise website, they do whale watching from there only June-Sept and from Dunsborough Sept. to Dec. Was planning on Busselton and Margaret River, so Dunsborough sort of seemed in between.

If we do decide to take one of the dolphin cruises and needed to spend a night nearby, is there something to recommend Bunbury over Rockingham, or vice versa? It sounds like Bunbury has a bit more in the way of accommodations, is that right?

Thanks again!
traveler318 is offline  
Mar 28th, 2011, 04:49 PM
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Rockingham is basically just another suburb of Perth, mostly residential, although it is a city in its own right.

I'd choose Bunbury over Rockingham, but I'd choose Busselton over Bunbury...Busselton is just 57 km south of Bunbury and much more interesting IMO. Be sure to walk the Busselton Jetty if you make it down there.
Melnq8 is offline  
Mar 29th, 2011, 07:29 AM
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Yes, we plan to go to the Busselton Jetty, as I read about the renovation and it sounds great. Will look into Bunbury. Thanks for your replies.
traveler318 is offline  
Mar 29th, 2011, 10:32 PM
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Is the Busselton Jetty open yet? The works seem to be going on for ages.

I swam with the dolphins last year at Rockingham. It was very well run and quite enjoyable but very cold. the were fantanstic with people who were nervous or of little experience.

We saw about 10 or so dolphins. It is a bit hit and miss as to how active they are. Also because they swim fast you need to get in and out of the water fast to keep up with them. The crew is very knowledgeable.

The leader of the tour has a motor that pulls them through the water and everone has a belt on and you hold onto the person in front of you with the lead tourist holding onto the leader with the motor. It is great fun but didn't really excite me having swum with manta rays at night in Hawaii. Others on the trip thought it was the greatest thing they had done.

If you are not keen on the swimming part, I would do a whale trip as you are likely to see both or at least dolphins at other places such as Mandurah.

The Bunbury doplin thing is not bad, but you will be standing in thigh deep water on rocks/pebbles so have something on your feet. You can hire waders.

The dolphins don't get really close as I think they do at Monkey Mia (not having been there).They are not there all the time but your ticket is valid for a month (I think or certainly multiple visits)

I agree with Mel, stay at Busselton. We did.
peterSale is offline  
Mar 29th, 2011, 10:36 PM
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Yes, the Busselton Jetty re-opened last month (finally!).

The dolphins at Monkey Mia do come pretty close, but it's a looong way up there - some 850 km from Perth.
Melnq8 is offline  
Dec 13th, 2011, 03:54 PM
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Just to report back, we did the Dolphin Discovery Center last month, and the dolphins did swim right up to the beach in very shallow water. However, we did wait around for them for at least two hours! They didn't show up until the sun came out, which happened after 10 a.m. The weather had been very blustery the prior two days, so no one was sure if they would appear.

You were allowed to wade in to knee deep and they got within just a few feet. First a mother and a calf, and then a lone adult. It was hard to photograph if you were on the beach, as all the volunteers and other guests stood in a line parallel to the shore. About five or six other dolphins were about a hundred or 150 yards out or so and jumped about while following near some boats. They swam around for quite a while.

The operation is a bit funky, but the volunteers were enthusiastic and nice, so in the end, we were glad to have done it.
traveler318 is offline  
Dec 13th, 2011, 04:15 PM
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Glad it worked out. Thanks for reporting back.
Melnq8 is offline  

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