We planned a visit Dolphin Discovery Centre in Bunbury on our way home to Perth from a week holiday down south. I booked the 11am Eco Tour a week in advance over the phone and used the Entertainment voucher which gave us 25% off. The tickets allow you to visit the Dolphin Discovery Centre up to 3 times and access the Dolphin ‘Interaction Zone’ which is located in the shallow water in front of the centre.
The best time to have an interaction with the dolphins is early in the morning. To alert the visitors the dolphins are present, a bell is rung and everyone makes their way onto the beach. As we arrived at the Dolphin Discovery Centre at 9.30am the bell was ringing and the dolphins were in the water.
The volunteers invited the people into the knee-deep water in a line parallel with the shore so everyone could see dolphins.
It was very exciting to see them so close. The kids loved it and could not believe their eyes.
Throughout the day there are guided tours at the Dolphin Discovery Centre. At 10am one of the volunteers named Dave invited the people inside to show how he feeds the fish and octopus.
The first to receive breakfast was a cheeky octopus named Lago. Dave opened the tank and Lago quickly latched his tentacles around Dave’s arm. He then put on a little performance and Lago sprayed some water wetting almost all of the spectators. The kids found that really funny!
Dave also fed another octopus named Inky and a moray eel named Ely. Dave kept everyone amused as he was very entertaining, knowledgeable and funny.
Inside the Dolphin Discovery Centre, there is also a real dolphin skeleton, a 360-degree digital dolphinarium, 3D & 2D movies, various tanks with cray fish, clown fish, sea horses and even a shark.
There is also a souvenir shop and a coffee shop selling few snacks, drinks and ice creams. Outside there is a deck overlooking the sea and lawn with a playground at the far end.
There are also some colouring papers and colours available and some second-hand books on sale for a gold coin donation; all donations go to the Dolphin Discovery Centre and the research they do with Murdoch University.
At 11am they made an announcement to gather at the beach to board our boat for the tour. The tour guide explained a bit about the dolphins. There are about 100/150 wild Bottlenose dolphins living or visiting in the Koombana bay.
Within 10 minutes we spotted a few dolphins hunting fish and hearing them into a small section by some rocks. We also spotted some mothers with their babies. The tour guide also knew the names of few that we spotted on the day.It was exciting and beautiful to see these amazing creatures in their own habitat. The tour lasts about 1/1.5 hour.
The centre is a not for profit organisation and thrives on the generosity of about 100 volunteers; I must say they are all very friendly and very enthusiastic. When I asked if they were getting paid they replied the joy to see the dolphins every morning is their reward!
Tips and notes:
-There is one Eco-tour every day at 11am. I strongly advise booking in advance especially during school holiday periods. However, if it’s busy they will open other tours usually at 3pm but only if there is a request on the day.
-Remember to mention the Entertainment book voucher (if you have one) when making the reservation which will give you 25% off your booking for up to 8 people.
-There are also swim tours. Check their website for times.
-Pushchairs are not allowed on the boat but there is a pushchair parking at Dolphin Discovery Centre.
-Visitors are also welcome to stay at the beach and swim if they wish. If they are lucky enough some dolphins will visit to say HI!
-The tours are guaranteed. If you don’t see any dolphins they will 100% refund your money.
Admission to the Dolphin Discovery Centre
(Admission Tickets are valid for up to 3 visits)
$5.00 Concession / Students / YHA
$5.00 Children (4-14)
$25.00 Family (2 Adults and 2 Children 4 -14)
The Eco-Cruise includes the admission to the Dolphin Discovery Centre for up to 3 visits. The Eco-Cruise costs $49 for adults, $35 for children 4 to 14. A family pass (2 adults and 2 children) is available for $150. Using the Entertainment Book voucher will give you 25% the Dolphin Eco Cruise for up to 8 people.
For more information visit dolphindiscovery.com.au
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