The Channel 7 Mandurah Crab Fest, to be held in 2017 on March 18 and 19, is the largest free community event in Western Australia. Now in its 19th year, last year’s event attracted 120,000 locals and visitors.
Crab Fest showcases the best in lifestyle, location, culture and talent that Mandurah has to offer, and of course celebrates the native blue manna crab. Expect to find plenty of fresh food, entertainment, competitions, cooking demonstrations and more. Live music will be provided by Thirsty Merc and Justice Crew.
As with any good food festival there are exciting satellite events, this year including Dinner Under the Stars with Fervor, High Tea Under the Fig Tree, a progressive dinner cruise and the all-important Crab Boil.
I was recently invited for a sneak peek at Crab Fest, and to experience some of the finer things that Mandurah has to offer.
This was an overnight event, and I was a little concerned when I was told we were going camping. It’s something I’ve only done once before, and that was on Rottnest on the wettest December night in history…
I was relieved to find that our accommodation was provided by Soul Camping, a luxury “glamping” company who operate throughout WA’s south. Our home for the night was Henry Sutton Grove, right on the water.
Soul Camping cater for almost any size event, from a private getaway to a full-blown wedding. They provided us with an entire “bell tent village”, with a tent for each attendee and a communal one big enough for us all to relax in at the end of the day.
Everything is set up in your desired location, ready for you to walk in and drop your bags. Their “standard” package includes a queen-size airbed, white linen, doona, pillows, cushions, towels and so on. They even provide fairy lights and lanterns. Pick a deluxe package and you can get a bar fridge…
I have to admit that I was amazed by the quality of their product, elegance of the setup and overall comfort of my night’s sleep.
Starting at $180 per night, this is a fantastic alternative to an expensive motel room or uncomfortable caravan.
Our first activity was a dolphin-spotting and crabbing tour courtesy of Mandurah Cruises, who offer a range of scenic cruises daily.
Enjoying fish & chips from Cicerello’s for lunch, we had a most enjoyable afternoon travelling through the Mandurah canals, wishing we owned one of the expensive houses. The weather was glorious, and I can’t pretend this was a tough day at the office.
The dolphins didn’t disappoint, and we even caught a few crabs.
Everyone on board was given the opportunity to throw and pull in the crabbing nets, and the experienced crew were happy to offer instruction and lend a helping hand. Crabs caught are normally cooked and eaten on board, however ours were released back to the water.
Mandurah Cruises operate their Crabbing & Eco tour between November and April each year – see here for more information.
Returning to camp to freshen up, it was then time for the main event – a Crab Boil at a secret beach location.
Transport was provided by the crew from Adventure Offroad Training, who provide four wheel driving and defensive driver training for commercial, corporate and recreational purposes. During our picturesque and informative journey we were taught some of the essential points of off-roading, including how to correctly manage the air in your tyres and recover from being bogged.
Our final destination was Tims Thicket beach in Dawesville. Prepare to be jealous when you look at the pictures, because I can’t remember a more spectacular dinner setting.
The magnificent feast you can see below was prepared by Mandurah restaurant Flic’s Kitchen, who also provided some of the friendliest service I’ve experienced in a long time.
Liquid refreshments were courtesy of Mandurah’s Three Rivers Brewing Company.
Look through the photos below and you can see why this was a night to remember. My food highlight? The prawn-crusted pork belly, served with a chilli & lime dipping sauce.
The Crab Boil is a key event of the Crab Fest and will be held overlooking the marina at 6pm on Saturday, March 18. Expect a seafood extravaganza filled with crabs, prawns, mussels, clams, sweetcorn, potatoes and smoky sausage cooked by local venues.
Tickets are $80 each, see here for more information.
Heading back to camp, rather full and weary after our long day at sea (!), we were treated to a DIY hot chocolate courtesy of Decadent C’s, a family-owned chocolatier and cafe located in Barragup just outside of Mandurah.
Decadent C’s also provided a selection of delicious pastries and fruit for breakfast, before we all headed back to reality fuelled with caffeine from Mandurah’s DPM Cafe.
I worked in Mandurah for a year some five years ago now, and it was great to return and see how far it’s come. There’s plenty to see, do and eat, and the Crab Fest is the perfect way to re-acquaint yourself with Mandurah if you haven’t visited in a while.
So mark March 18 & 19 in your diary now, and visit the Channel 7 Mandurah Crab Fest website here for more information.