western australia

Stopover in Western Australia

 

Qantas is now flying daily direct on the Perth – London route and people are making the most of the new service to take some time out and explore Western Australia.

For Australian passengers travelling to or from other parts of the country on the direct route, Qantas is offering a Perth stopover with no additional stopover fee, depending on fare type.

This is a fantastic way to break up the journey and see more than just Perth.

Only an hour south of the capital by train or car, Mandurah and the Peel Region showcases the best of everything that WA is renowned for including stunning beaches and waterways, unrivalled seafood, world-recognised golf courses, spectacular views, history and culture, wineries, breweries, shopping and adventure.

Mandurah is Western Australia’s largest and fastest growing regional city and is set against a backdrop of magnificent beaches and an estuary twice the size of Sydney Harbour.

It has recently been named Western Australia’s Top Tourism Town and is the perfect base to take day trips to explore the wider Peel Region. In an easy half hour drive you’ll find beautiful wineries, breweries, winding waterways, rolling green hills and tiny timber towns nestled in the forest.

Mandurah and the Peel Region is home to one of Australia’s healthiest dolphin populations which you spot on a dolphin cruise or while dining in one of the many waterfront restaurants.

Seafood lovers will rejoice in the number of dining options available from the great Mandurah tradition of a picnic fish and chips on the newly refurbished foreshore to ‘catch and cook’ cruises featuring blue manna crabs, native to Mandurah waters, and rock lobster.

If you enjoy a spot of fishing, you’re sure to land a catch in the Peel Region.

Mandurah boasts Western Australia’s own modern Venice, with a network of canals featuring luxury homes. You can hire a boat and cruise them yourself or join an organised tour.

If it’s a holiday with a difference you’re after, Mandurah is the only place near Perth you can hire a houseboat. Completely unwind and take in the views while slowly meandering down the Murray River or Peel-Harvey-Estuary for days at a time.

Travel Facts

Getting there

Mandurah is less than an hour south of Perth. When driving, travel the Kwinana freeway south, easily accessible from many points in Perth, and exit at Mandjoogoordap Drive. Trains and buses operate between the two cities and depart from the Perth city centre. www.transperth.wa.gov.au

Staying there

Mandurah and the Peel Region has a range of accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets. There is a choice of resort hotels, caravan and camping facilities, charming bed and breakfast accommodation, self-contained apartments, forest cabins and even houseboats for hire.

Getting around

Buses operate around Mandurah, but if you want to explore the Peel Region extensively you can hire a car or join a tour. Taxis and Uber drivers are also available in Mandurah.

When to go

The Peel Region can be visited any time of the year. Being on the coast, it’s spectacular in spring and in summer. But during winter, the scenery is amazing. You can find something to do all year around.

Further Information on Mandurah and the Peel Region visit www.visitpeel.com.au

Railway

Savour top food on railway journey

Pumpkin and Spinach Filo served with seasonal salad and Balsamic Dressing along with Caramel Mousse for dessert – I’ve never tasted railway food this good!

I’d boarded the Spirit of Queensland at Maryborough West the evening before bound for North Queensland and barely had time to settle when staff delivered Beef Medallion with roasted potato and veggies for dinner, directly to my seat.  

On picking up the cutlery, I was transported back more than 40 years to when I used a small pocket knife to cut a fruit cake to share with my travelling friend Rose.

Rose and I were the only passengers on the old wooden freight train running between Barcaldine and Rockhampton in Central Queensland.

Both daughters of railway workers, we were looking for adventure and chose the familiar transport. The fruit cake we brought with us was our only food.

Since then I’ve enjoyed many rail journeys, among them on Queensland’s Tilt Train, Spirit of the Outback, and Tasmania’s West Coast Wilderness Railway between Queenstown and Strahan.

However, before this month’s 17-hour trip from Maryborough to Tully, I’d never experienced long distance rail travel in Business Class. I’ve always taken Economy seats or, on overnight journeys, bunked in Sleeper Cabins.

This time I was keen to try one of the new RailBeds I’d seen on Queensland Rail’s website. Basically, a RailBed is a large set by day that converts to a flat bed by night.

They’re placed three abreast, two on one side of the aisle and one on the other. 

The RailBed Car had an airline feel to it with a trolley service for meals and complimentary drink upon arrival. A Club Car was nearby to purchase other drinks and snacks.  

I could watch movies on an individual screen and there was even a 24-Volt Power Point on my chair armrests to recharge my mobile phone.

Pressing an orange button above my seat alerted staff that I was ready for bed. They flipped the seat to convert it to a mattress and even made my bed.

A shower pack and towel was provided if I wanted to freshen up before turning in for the night. As with airlines, the Car’s lights were dimmed and curtains closed.

In the morning, I only had to press the orange button again and staff converted my bed back to a seat.

While the seat was quite firm and the footrest too far away for my short legs to reach, overall my first RailBed experience was comfortable, the service was awesome and the food absolutely terrific. All meals were included in the package price. 

For anyone travelling from Brisbane to Cairns and/or return, if you can spare a day to sit back and relax, choosing a Spirit of Queensland RailBed is an excellent alternative to an air flight.

Railway

Gordon River Cruises, Tasmania

World first for new Gordon River Cruises vessel

As the building of the new vessel for Gordon River Cruises on Tasmania’s west coast continues to progress, now is a great time to reveal an exciting world-first for the company.

The vessel will be fitted with both diesel engines and electric motors, meaning the operator can switch between one or the other or both, depending on the location of the vessel at the time and the prevailing weather conditions.

This will reduce fuel consumption and its impact on the environment.

In addition, and perhaps the most exciting, when the cruise enters the Gordon River, the diesel propulsion engines can be switched off, leaving only the electric drive.

This means guests on-board will enjoy a cruising experience like nothing that has ever been available in Tasmania’s world heritage area before – quiet cruising and completely in keeping with the values of this remarkable place.

Gordon River Cruises believe this is the first commercial passenger vessel of its kind in the world and is pleased to bring this experience to members, other Tasmanians and visitors to the island state.

The hybrid drive system has been developed by one of the world’s leaders in marine propulsion – MTU, based in Germany. Right now there is only one other vessel with this same drive package – a spectacular private yacht recently launched and cruising in the Caribbean.

The new Gordon River Cruises vessel is due to launch in April 2018.

For more details and to watch the video visit gordonrivercruises.com.au/2018.