By: Fleur Bainger
Jurien Bay is a sleepy coastal town known for its playful sea lions and excellent fishing.
It’s the sort of place you go to chill out, take beach walks and ride along an evolving cycling trail – however, it's not short of adrenaline-inducing experiences either with its famous skydiving over the bay.
At a glance
|Distance from Perth||220 kilometres, two and a half hour's drive|
|Why go?||Swimming with sea lions, fishing for rock lobster and enjoying the local seafood. Plus snorkelling, skydiving, four-wheel driving, cycling, walking, plus the little-known glow-in-the-dark gallery and vintage motorcycle collection.|
|When to go||
Mar - May & Sep - Nov: Mild temps, gentler winds. The Easter Fair is on in Autumn, and the Indian Ocean Festival, which includes the blessing of the fleet, usually runs each November.
|How long to stay||Enjoy Jurien Bay as a road-trip stopover, or for a lazy weekend.|
|Need to know||The town has two petrol stations, public toilets at the marina and foreshore and an IGA supermarket. In town, mobile phone reception is good but it drops out either side. Jurien has two pubs and plenty of holiday accommodation. The Bay Bakery is popular for its pies. The Dobyn Park Foreshore has a good playground for children, free bbqs and there’s basic food at the adjoining Jurien Jetty Café. Markets by the Bay is held monthly, past the Caltex on Indian Ocean Drive. Stop in at the Visitor Centre for bookings and information.|
|Fast facts||Town population: 1,425
Indigenous people: Yued Noongar and Yamaji.
|Insider tip||Check out the glow-in-the-dark art gallery Sea Spray Art by Kiera opens at sunset, Wednesday-Sunday. Explore the works in the dark, as UV light illuminates aquatic scenes like ethereal, green x-rays. The best coffee is found at a pop up cafe called Bettyvan that’s at the marina every Friday and moves around the area.|
|Related road trips|
Top things to see and do
Swimming with sea lions
This is Jurien’s main drawcard, with hundreds of the world's rarest species of sea lion living on Jurien Bay Marine Park’s islands, rocks and waters. Three companies offer tours where you can snorkel with these playful and inquisitive creatures in the wild or elect to view from the boat.
Tours run daily, all year round, weather permitting. If you’re lucky, you may also spot migrating whales across the ocean.
The Jurien Bay Underwater Interpretive Trail starts about 25 metres off the old fishermen’s jetty. Look for the old wooden piles on the beach off Heaton Street, and swim to the artificial habitat, made of reef balls placed on the ocean floor.
Whether you fancy throwing some pots into the sea to nab a haul of rock lobster, or you want the challenge of fishing for the night’s dinner, Jurien Bay can cater. The ocean is ripe with eating species such as dhufish and pink snapper, while from December to April, you can seek out Spanish mackerel, dolphin fish and yellowfin tuna. Join a local fishermen on a charter boat fishing expedition – there are plenty to find online.
What’s believed to be the world’s biggest collection of vintage Vincent motorbikes is hidden in former rock lobster fisherman, Ian Boyd’s home. The collection has 44 of the rare bikes that are regarded as highly collectable and expensive, and 74 cycles in total, plus a number of sports cars. Call Ian to visit on 0407 993 347. Entry $10.
If freefalling towards the earth from 14,000 feet is your cup of tea, then connect with Skydive Jurien Bay. Gaze across the azure ocean dotted with rocky islands and see the reefs from above before landing on the sand.
The Turquoise Way cycling and walking trail
You can trace a mostly-flat, 13.5-kilometre path from Jurien Bay to Hill River, enjoying the coastal breeze and local scrub. In the future, the trail will be extended all the way through to Cervantes.
Sandy Cape Recreation Park
This beach camping area is found 20-minutes drive north of Jurien. Part of a marine sanctuary, it’s home to Australian sea lions, reef and a beautiful white sandy beach. Fishing is good here – aim to hook mulloway, tailor or whiting in the shallows.
You only need a two-wheel drive for Sandy Cape’s unsealed road in, but there are some fun four-wheel drive tracks in the area and you can drive on the beach when the tides are right. There are about 80 campsites and shared eco-toilets in the main campsite.
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It’s a 40-minute drive from Jurien Bay to Cervantes, which is the gateway to the iconic Pinnacles Desert. , You can walk along the 1.5-kilometre loop, or do it on two wheels via the cycle trail.
Once in Jurien Bay, either drive, walk or cycle around. You can hire bikes and snorkeling equipment from Jurien Bay Adventure Tours.
What to pack
Bring bathers, sunscreen and a hat, as well as shorts and t-shirts year-round, but pack jumpers and pants for the evenings and cooler months.
Watch out for wildlife on the roads at dawn and dusk on the way in and out of town. In the ocean, stingers are about in summer; they’re painful but not dangerous. There are no lifeguards on duty on Jurien’s beaches. The water is regarded as safe, but if you’re swimming across to the islands, watch out for boat traffic. Read more long distance driving tips before setting off.
Need a place to stay?
RAC Cervantes Holiday Park is a short drive from Jurien Bay - plus, RAC members save up to 20%* on accommodation.
Last updated September 2020
*Terms and conditions apply. Member rate varies according to season. See full website for details.