Bunbury is the next coastal town of any size south of here and it only takes about an hour to get there, in our case with the children giving hilariously inaccurate directions from the back seat due to a GPS loaded with out of date maps.
On paper Mandurah and Bunbury may look quite similar as they are both small, picturesque seaside cities, have recently undergone enormous growth and have dolphins coming out their ears, but to us these little cities feel quite different. I'm no expert as I've only been to Bunbury once and it was only for one day, but sometimes first impressions hold up. So here are some of ours.
We liked Bunbury. It had a vibrant, humming, pedestrian-friendly city centre that reminded me of Nelson (in case you are unsure, that is a good thing). In Bunbury I effortlessly found a few things I have been unsuccessfully searching for in Mandurah for the past few months, including dishy shoes, mid century secondhand furniture and ... a dining table.
Then just to blow one of my major prejudices out of the water, my favourite thing in Bunbury is very, very pink: behold the Bunbury Regional Art Galleries.
The galleries are housed in a recycled convent building. The scary ladies are long gone but many of the building's lovely features remain,
including some very covetable signs.
Oh and we enjoyed the exhibitions too. My favourite was a textile art exhibition called Spin Cycle which consisted of many, many tea towels "artistically reinvented" by a collective of three women who produce work under the name Virginia Cunningham.
We did escape from the gallery and Bunbury, but from the little I've seen, I know I'll be back.