Blessed with glorious white beaches and set on the tranquil waters of Geographe Bay, it is no surprise that savvy Perth residents have long been drawn south to the spectacularly attractive township of Busselton. The wonders of this gem of the south-west have inevitably attracted the attention of other, as well.
OVERVIEW A comfortable three-hour drive from Perth, Busselton boasts some 30 kilometers of sheltered sandy beaches with calm, clear and safe waters. Many use the township as a base from which to explore the region’s numerous other attractions. The wonders of Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, Ngilgi Cave and Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse are only a short drive away. Reputed to be the longest structure of its kind in the southern hemisphere, the 140-year-old-plus jetty has become something of an icon for tourists to the region. The Busselton Jetty Underwater Observatory opened for business a couple of years ago and became an instant sensation. More than 300 individual marine species have been recorded under the jetty.
While Busselton, which was founded in 1832 by the Bussel family, is now a busy tourist hub, it still – for the most part – retains a relaxed and casual atmosphere. There are plenty of good shops to browse and an interesting of enclave of fashion and beauty outlets can be found along Fig Tree Lane. The Busselton Museum and the Old Courthouse are worth a visit and remind visitors of the town’s early history. The same can be said of St Mary’s Church, which was built in 1844-1845, and claims to be the oldest stone church in Western Australia. For all Busselton’s heritage and its naturally beautiful beaches, sooner or later, you will be eager to explore the surrounding area.
IN THE AREA All along the coastline visitors will discover spectacular craggy scenery and some sheltered tucked-away beaches. Spots like Eagle Bay and Meelup Beach in the national park are just beautiful. On the western side of the Cape surfers revel in the larger waves and rougher seas, while sure-footed fishermen clamber over the rocks in search of salmon. For the bushwalkers, there is an impressive array of walking trails throughout the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park with views of the powerful sea, wildflowers, and wildlife.
You must also visit the Ngilgi Cave which lies beneath the limestone ridge which forms Cape Naturaliste. It offers a stunning display of stalactite, stalagmite, helictite and shawl formations. Between here and the fabled winery district of Margaret River half an hour away, there is a myriad of small and not-so-small wineries dotting the landscape. Goodness, it’s a tough life on the road, isn’t it? Stroll along the magnificent wooden jetty; visit WA’s oldest stone church; take a hike at the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park; marvel at the various ‘ites’ at Ngilgi Cave; just chill out on the glorious sands.
WHERE TO CAMP Free and cut-price camping in the Busselton area is now virtually non-existent. Some locals say that these spots were attracting a ‘troublemaking surfie element’ which has unfortunately led to their demise. Nonetheless, Busselton has a big selection of caravan parks and although they are not cheap, the wonders of the region do provide sufficient incentive to stretch the budget a little.