Busselton: A Beach Break for History Buffs
A town with a long history, Busselton offers visitors the opportunity to dig deep into the past of this early Australian settlement, then spend the rest of the day lazing on the beach or participating in numerous water sports. There is plenty to do for families, with a petting zoo on the outskirts of town and dedicated child-friendly activities along the famous Busselton Jetty. Busselton is considered the Top Tourist Town in Western Australia, so it isn’t surprising that a number holiday rental options are available to visitors, from beachfront houses to apartments in residential complexes.
Busselton is set amidst 30km of golden beaches on the South West coast of Western Australia. As such, there is plenty of space for beachgoers to spread out, and plenty of activities to partake in. The waters around Busselton are warm and tropical, creating the optimal environment for snorkelling. Rent some gear and snorkel off the beach to discover colourful coral, fish and other marine life.
Busselton locals like to fish off the sand, so bring your rod. All along the foreshore in town, you’ll find BBQs to cook your catch and organise a picnic out with friends. Some Busselton beaches are better for surfing, whereas others feature calm bay waters perfect for swimming with the kids.
The Busselton Jetty
One of Busselton’s main attractions is the 2km Jetty, which was built from 1853 to 1860 and represents the largest wooden structure in the Southern Hemisphere. Walk along the jetty for great views of Busselton’s coastline or spend some time at the underwater observatory, where you can see and learn about the creatures that dwell in the surrounding waters. Built at the end of the jetty, the observatory takes you 8m below the water’s surface. If you would like to get closer to local sea life, the Jetty is one of the best spots for diving in Busselton. Finally, a train runs the length of the jetty, perfect for families with children and those who need to rest their legs but don’t want to miss out on the action.
Culture and Heritage in Busselton
Busselton was founded in the early 1830s amidst a turbulent conflict with local Aboriginals. Learn about the struggle of this small community at Wonnerup House, the actual home of some of the town’s founders and now a museum. The main house was destroyed by fire in 1858 and the present-day structure erected in 1861, but you can still visit the original dairy and kitchen. Also on this land are the community’s first school and schoolmaster’s house, added in 1873 and 1885 respectively.
Another heritage building in Busselton is St Mary’s Church of England, built in 1844. This is the oldest church in Western Australia, and the cemetery includes graves dating back to 1841.
If you would like to get some exercise while soaking up Busselton’s history, go for a hike along the Augusta to Busselton Heritage Walk. This trail, beginning at the Busselton Jetty, is the original path taken by pioneers arriving from Augusta, when that town was no longer considered a viable settlement. Retrace the steps of Busselton’s first European inhabitants for a few kilometres or if you’re ambitious, walk all 100km of the trail.
Busselton for Families
If you’re bringing the kids to Busselton, you can easily keep them entertained. About 20km from Busselton’s town centre is the Wonky Windmill Farm and Eco Park, which comprises a petting zoo, a play area and a small cafe where you can refuel. From June to December each year, travellers of all ages can join a whale watching tour and head to sea to spot these majestic mammals. Finally, adding to Busselton’s small town charm is a drive-in theatre. Sit on the hood of your car and watch favourite features under the stars or bring your own lawn chairs for an old-fashioned family evening out.
Busselton is an increasingly popular destination for history buffs, beach bums and families seeking a mix of activities in a safe coastal setting. With its very own airport, visitors to Busselton can fly into town directly from Perth thanks to Virgin Australia. Otherwise, it is a 240km drive from the Western Australian capital. Busselton’s climate is decent year-round, with winter temperatures ranging from 8 to 18 degrees Celsius and summers reaching 28 degrees Celsius on average. Swimming may not be possible in the winter, but other seasonal activities like whale watching make up for it.