Perth is near to the coast with many opportunities to see whales and dolphins so one of the half-day trips suitable for families with young children and senior will be the Mandurah Dolphin cruise. Mandurah is a city on the southwest coast of Western Australia and is about 1.5 hours drive away from Perth. Mandurah is known for its wildlife tours so there are a few tours to cater to a different interest.
As there was a promotion on Klook, I booked my tickets with Klook for SGD 42.15 and SGD 28.75 for children below 12 years old. The package also included lunch which you can eat on board. For the option without lunch, it will cost approximately SGD 11 lesser.
We took an Uber from our accommodation and it costs us SGD 240 as we had 5 pax and I had to order a Uber XL car. On hindsight, it would have been more hassle-free to get a tour inclusive of transport. On the way there, we were caught in traffic because of a forest fire and nearly missed our cruise which was designated to leave at 11am. I called the office at least 2 times to ensure we were on the way and when we arrived, we had to get the tickets from the ticket office which is at the gift shop and dash to the jetty which was 5 mins walk away.
The captain and crew of the cruise boat were extremely nice and friendly and once they noticed that we were the last few customers and there were 3 seniors in the group, they ran to our side to let us know to take our time as safety was more important. We were pretty embarrassed as the entire boat was waiting for us but they assured us that it was fine. The lower deck had seating enough for about 30 people while the top deck for another 10-15 people. For those who are afraid of the cold, it is recommended to stay on the lower deck during winter.
The view of the upper deck is generally better as you can view further ahead. From the upper deck, you can also step out to the external platform of the boat where you can view the animals up close. It can get pretty windy and wet if you decide to step outside but it is the best place to catch the best view of the dolphins.
As the captain drives off from the jetty, they passed us our lunch which is fish in chips in the box. The fish and chips were still hot and crispy when we settled down to eat our lunch. There was also condiments like tomato sauce, vinegar, salt and pepper available at the bar counter. You can also purchase drinks and snacks from the bar at any time of the cruise. The food was generally ok and nice just slightly difficult to balance the box on our hands while eating as there were no tables.
The captain will look out for favourite spots to drive the boat to ensure we all do get a view of the dolphins. A few of the spots includes the dock and the marina where the residents park their boats. The tour will continue through the canal showing us some of the most expensive canal houses which has their own jetty access to the river.
Some of the dolphins really like playing with the cruise boats and get really near. You need to get your cameras recording in order not to miss any moment.
I was out at the deck recording a whole series of videos before I could get some of these clear shots of the cute dolphins as they act very fast and can suddenly appear from a different spot after they dive into the water.
This is a gif my tour guide sent me to show how close the dolphin got to the boat.
Overall, the cruise took about an hour and the main highlight was the dolphins. If we did not see any dolphins, it would have been a rather boring and slow cruise. Personally, the cruise itself was not so bad but the 1-hour drive from Perth city centre was the painful experience which made me double think if the cruise was worth it.