Busselton, WA


I think the coastal town of Busselton deserves a separate post so here goes…

Busselton is a typical small seaside town with impeccable beaches and close enough to Perth and Margaret River to ensure enough tourists will keep on coming. Only 50km north it was another easily reached day trip from our base in Margaret River.

Although this is the west coast the beaches of Busselton face northwards as the coastline veers out further west forming what is called Geographe Bay. The beaches here are picture perfect but the main reason many tourists come here is the pier – known as Busselton Jetty. There are several reasons to visit this piece of history.

The Busselton Jetty is 1.841km long. It is the longest timber piled jetty in the southern hemisphere and is operated by a non-profit community organisation known as Busselton Jetty Inc. Ticket sales go towards jetty maintenance and conservation.

You can walk the pier or take a train ride that runs for 1.7km. At the end of the jetty is an amazing underwater observatory.

Vertical Coral Reef

Underwater Observatory at the end of Busselton Jetty

The 8-metre-deep Underwater Observatory at the end of the jetty is (apparently) one of only 6 natural aquariums in the world! (That seems like a very low number for the whole planet, right? Anyway…) What makes this place so interesting is the way the vertical timber piles holding up the jetty have been colonised by coral and plant-life. This is effectively a vertical coral reef.

This is quite a phenomenon, as the western coastlines of other southern hemisphere continents (e.g. in Africa and South America) have no coral growth below 5 degrees south. The “reef” at Busselton jetty is made possible by the Leeuwin Current which brings a narrow band of warm water down the Western Australian coastline  during autumn and winter. This warm southerly current leads to a diverse array of tropical and sub-tropical species in Geographe Bay, resulting in coral growth at a latitude of 33 degrees south.

There are 300 marine species that call this Jetty home. You get to see them through eleven viewing windows at various levels within the 9.5 metre wide observation chamber. It is all very well done. And with the “reef” being vertical the type of wildlife can vary at each level.

It is definitely worth a visit especially when the proceeds go to conserving the jetty and hence the curious vertical coral reef that is continually evolving. If my knee injury wasn’t such a problem I would have preferred to walk the jetty but taking the historic train ride was fun. One of those little trips you just have to do…

Brewery On The Beach

Shelter Brewing Company, Busselton

Back on dry land, right at the start of the jetty, is a craft beer Brewery. Basically straight off the beach and into the large shed selling brews made on the premises and the usual selection of food.  Being next to the jetty and basically right on beach meant a captive holiday audience. Sure enough it was packed!  

I liked the way they identify their beers at the pumps using different pastel coloured beach huts (see photos). Nice touch that. As for the quality of their beers I would not say they are the best I have tasted but they are certainly as good as most. As always these places are much better when less crowded but this was the height of the summer school holidays so the crowd and the wait was fully expected.

As always when in these places you just have to try a tasting paddle…

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