Busselton may be a small town in Western Australia, but it quickly grabbed my heart. Although small, there are so many amazing places to visit in Busselton and I couldn’t be happier we decided to go. We probably wouldn’t have gone to Busselton at all had a family friend not lived there and, to be honest, I’d never even heard of the place. But as soon as we drove into the town and saw the beach I knew it was going to be hard to leave.
Whether you’re in Busselton for just a couple of days or a week, there is so much to see and do. We weren’t there in the height of Busselton tourism season, which was great news since places are always better when they’re quiet and not filled with other tourists (I know, I know, I’m a tourist but whatever).
If you’re planning on visiting the Margaret River region and Busselton, then these are 5 things you should absolutely not miss.
5 Top Places to Visit in Busselton
The Beach and Busselton Jetty
Of all the things we saw on our trip here, the Busselton Jetty was by far my absolute favorite. As the longest wooden pier in the southern hemisphere and second longest in the world, it’s an incredibly spectacular sight and you can see how it veers off to the side towards the end – a result of a cyclone in the 70s.
At nearly 2km long (a little over a mile), it was built that far out to accommodate the ships coming into the Busselton port. Any closer, and the ships would have been beached and over time the jetty had to be extended to accommodate larger and larger ships.
The Jetty itself is incredible, but the beach with its sparkling white sand against the aqua blue backdrop is absolutely stunning.
Once you’ve explored the jetty and the beach, you may be looking for some lunch, in which case The Goose, a restaurant located right next to the beach, has a great selection of food and beer with an even better view. The spicy fish tacos I had were so delicious and we sat overlooking the Jetty and the beach.
One of the best places to explore marine life in the area, the Underwater Observatory is located at the very end of the Jetty and gives you a unique glimpse into the ecosystem just outside of your swimming range. As an artificial reef, there are many species that rely on the stable environment the Jetty provides them, and that’s why I had no qualms spending $34 per person on my ticket. The Underwater Observatory receives no additional funds from the government or Busselton, so all the proceeds from your ticket go towards maintaining this delicate ecosystem and monitoring the fish numbers for scientific research.
Your guide will take a group of around 20-40 people at a time down into the observatory and there are several levels as you descend into a completely different world. As you go down each level, the guide will explain to you what you’re looking at and answer any questions you might have about the artificial reef or even the species of fish you see out of the windows.
As you go deeper down, it begins to get darker and you start to see some incredible, and sometimes rare, things. We saw schools of salmon, a stingray and a certain kind of fish that’s really rare to see because it prefers even darker depths of the ocean. With around 300 species frequenting the reef, you’re bound to see something unique.
What I found incredible, is our guide told us that the observatory was built in a factory and essentially lowered into the ocean and tethered down. It makes sense when you think about it, but it’s a pretty remarkable example of modern architecture that this is even possible at all!
I wasn’t really sure what to expect from the Underwater Observatory, but it’s an experience that will stay with me. I’m not knowledgable on fish populations, migrations or species, but this view into the underwater world gives you a greater appreciation for conservation efforts.
After this experience, you may want to take some time to reflect and walk the 2km back to the beach, but if you’d rather take the novel route, there’s a train that runs from one end of the Jetty to the other, which you can ride for free with your ticket to the Observatory. I love trains (even silly fake ones like this) so we took it there, but ended up walking back.
Located just 35 minutes from Busselton, Canal Rocks is a breathtaking rock formation on the coast with unusual erosion, forming essentially a canal as the seawater rushes through and hits the rocks at the other end.
I was kind of expecting it to be busy here, much like points of interest along the Great Ocean Road, however, we were the only people there until a couple showed up, briefly looked around and left and we were alone again. Rather than feeling like a Busselton tourism hotspot, it really felt like a natural wonder. Where you can see it and experience it without battling the crowds.
What’s even better about Canal Rocks – it’s totally free! You just park and walk up and explore whatever parts of it you would like. There are bridges for crossing over the canal part, but other than that you’re free to climb on top the rock formations and explore the little side pools as you wish.
Befriend Kangaroos on Sheoak Drive
You’re probably wondering why on earth just a regular street is listed as a top place to visit in Busselton and the Margaret River region and the answer is 100% wildlife. Now, I will admit, having lived in Melbourne for a year and traveling back several times, kangaroos aren’t as thrilling as they once were, but I still get incredibly excited when I see a wild kangaroo.
And there are wild kangaroos aplenty on Sheoak Drive.
Some of the kangaroos were so close to the car I felt I could almost reach out and touch them. Sheoak Drive is primarily a residential area with nice houses and sprawling lawns, so why the kangaroos love it so much I don’t know. But if it’s wildlife you’re after, then this is the perfect stop on your Margaret River itinerary.
Visit a Winery
Margaret River is one of the largest and most famed wine regions in Australia so a trip to the area would not be complete without stopping off at a winery, or at the very least trying some local wine. We drove by tons of wineries, but unfortunately didn’t have the time to stop off at one as we had dinner plans with our family friend who we were staying with.
Did I try local wine though? I sure did and I totally loved it. There are so many wineries along the roads that honestly, you could just drive and stop at any one of them and you would be in for a treat.
These 5 places and experiences in and around Busselton can easily be done in one day (I did it!) or over the course of a week if you take your time. I didn’t expect to love Busselton, but I know that one day I’ll go back. And hey, if Australia wants to give me a visa, I’ll even move there.