Peel Region

May 1st, 2001 Features, Scoop Traveller

Things to do

Camp, canoe, bushwalk or picnic in the Peel region forests that embrace the Boddington, Dwellingup and Pinjarra districts. Experience nature close up in some of the most pristine forest in WA.

Visit Boddington and see the Lion’s Weir on the Hotham River. Take the kids and family because it’s a great picnic spot. Pack the car and go driving. There are plenty of forested spots to explore, and if you try some of the country back roads, they’ll lead you through some of the prettiest fields and farms this side of Margaret River.

The Dwellingup Forest Heritage Centre is a great place to learn all about conserving and enjoying the forests in their natural state. Ride a steam train through thick jarrah forest on the Hotham Valley Tourist Railway. Learn about the history of the area along the Murray River through the picturesque town of Pinjarra.

Take all your water gear to the Peel coast — or just hire (or buy) it all when you get there. Go crabbing in the beautiful shallow estuary that stretches down the coast. Get a boat tour out into the Peel Inlet and see the dolphins, even swim with them.

The local dive operators can tell you where the best diving spots are or take you there in organised tour groups — a much better way for the novice or traveller. The fishing is great in the estuary, off the beaches and from a boat in the inlet, and past shark scares in WA have been because of the abundance of fish close to shore.

There are plenty of restaurants throughout the coastal regions, and downtown Mandurah has a strip of shops and businesses that can cater to your every need. When the sun sets, the local nightlife rocks as much as in Perth, when you take the size difference into consideration.

About the region

Much closer to Perth than the southwest, but with a similar feel but a style all its own, the Peel is only an hour away by car, a lot closer than the vineyards and wheat belt but offering a taste of both.

We can only wonder what Thomas Peel’s intentions were back in the 1830s when he founded Peeltown and had only 50 people settle there. Whether it was for commercial gain by capitalising on land, an escape from Perth that could well have been harsh for early European settlers despite its beauty, or the experience of being captivated by the sun sinking over the Harvey Estuary as flocks of Corellas settled for the night in trees along the shore, he laid the foundation for a busy and successful community.

His countrymen went east into the thick forests and generated a local timber industry that prompted some of WA’s earliest economic growth. North of Perth there seemed nothing but desert, so the natural progression for expansion was towards the south west, and the Peel region was the first step on that journey

Nowadays tourism is the biggest general industry in the Peel, although the timber industry is alive and well and the discovery of gold and bauxite in the Central Peel have established one of the biggest sources of employment in the area.

The Peel district is home to over 40,000 people, and a lot more people are moving to stay rather than just visit, a decision made easier by the planned linking of Mandurah and Perth by a new freeway and train line.

The weather is a little cooler inland where the land rises up to the central plains, but the Peel lies in the same temperate zone as Perth, so expect hot summer days, cooler nights, and winters that only the most dedicated would swim in.

The Murray River and Bibbulum walking tracks both lead through the area, and in the Central Peel especially there are lots of waterways that are as nice to look at as they are to raft or swim.

Main page

For the smallest tourism region in the state, the Peel has amazing contrast. The coast is lined with clean, wide beaches butting up against the bush. Inland are some of the coolest, densest forests in the state, arm-in-arm with the fields and farms of the area.

The centrepiece is the Harvey Estuary, a body of water that stretches down the coast from the Peel Inlet (which was long ago opened artificially to the sea).

The Mandurah and Peel Coast areas are great for a quick getaway or to enjoy a day at the beach and a lunch of fish and chips. Inland, there’s a more laid back vibe. Take the family for some pleasant activities and a bit of sightseeing, or curl up in the fluffy bed of a guesthouse with someone special — any time of the year is beautiful.

The Peel has the best of both worlds — beaches and water sports and lazy days touring lovely forests and looking over wide fields of livestock.

The quaint, forested inland is dotted with farmstay and bed and breakfast accommodation and lots of sightseeing about the local industry and way of life. It’s quieter than its coastal neighbour, and more suits someone after an atmosphere to unwind in.

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