You won’t be short of things to do in Busselton.
In fact there’s always something going on these days, whether it’s a music festival or an international iron man event, or the jetty swim or a carnival it always seems busy in Busso.
But in a nice way.
Four years ago, when we arrived in SWA, things weren’t really happening in Busso. At least we didn’t think so. There was a rather decrepit old wooden jetty and a pretty beach, but it didn’t seem a particularly vibey place. It seemed a little lacklustre and uncared for.
Fast forward to 2013 and the waterfront has been upgraded and the old jetty has been revamped. Sure it’s still the longest timber-piled jetty in the southern hemisphere at 1.8 kms long, but now there are no holes in the timbers and there are places for the kids to jump off, and for fishermen to fish – there’s even a sink for gutting them – the fish, not the kids
If you don’t fancy walking to the end and back then there’s a small train that runs the length of the jetty all the way to the end where a fantastic underwater observatory gives you a glimpse of life beneath the ocean waves.
It feels as if Busso’s been given vitamin pills!
Plenty of facilities
It’s one of the prettiest beaches in the south west. On the beach there’s a cordoned off swimming area with steps to get up onto the perimeter fence, and there are jumping off points – it’s like an ocean swimming pool. There are colourful shade sails at various spots along the beach and lots of places for kids to play, oh and there’s bike hire and of course Simmo’s ice cream is still there.
Add to that the tall Norfolk pines which give wonderful shade over the grassed areas right by the beach front, the waterfront cafes and the new and interesting Visitor Centre housed in what was, back in 2009, a disintegrating tower for the water park slide, which is now an interpretive tower complete with a top storey 360 degree viewing point – a photo level which is great to take in the whole perspective of Busselton.
There have been many more changes, and I really like them, all the way down to the filtered drinking water booth where you can fill your water bottles up or grab a fountain drink.
“What do you think of all the changes?” I asked a passer by with her two small children, as I was filling up with water.
“Umm, well it’s all a bit citified,” she said a little glumly.
I was a little gobsmacked but realised that we don’t all think the same, and there’s no pleasing everyone. Perhaps she had grown up in Busselton and remembers fondly the days of a quiet stretch of beach and an old jetty and not much else? I don’t know.
Anyhow, there was I thinking how marvellous it all was, and how wonderful all the new facilities are and how great it was to see so many people out and about.
Jeepers, there’s even a new parking area – and plenty of other nearby parking too. But I guess that’s not the point if you’ve grown up in a place and are used to walking down to the beach.
Queen Street, Busselton’s main street which leads all the way down to the beach from the Busselton Highway, was vibrant and busy and has much more of a beachy feel to it than perhaps Victoria Street in Bunbury. It was bustling with people, many in flip flops and sarongs and all the shops looked bright, modern and inviting. There was an art Society “Art in the Park’ under the shade of trees, and a huge climbing wall at the beach front.
Yes Busselton was a happening spot that Sunday in January. Blimey, I even considered looking in the Estate Agents’ windows, and had to be restrained quite forcefully by He Himself.
13 Things to do in Busselton
- Walk the heritage listed jetty that stretches for almost two kilometres out over Geographe Bay - read the interesting information signs which give you a glimpse into the history of life in Busselton.
- Visit St Mary’s Church which is the oldest stone church in the state and was built by the early settlers in the 1840’s.
- Browse around the Old Butter Factory on Peel terraces which is purportedly the largest museum outside of Perth. There’s the old school, and WA’s first steam locomotive, The Ballaarat Train, on display as well as lots of antiques and old garments.
- Be quietened by the Pioneer Cemetery where there are over 1000 graves of early settlers.
- Take a photo of the bust of the French explorer Nicholas Baudin. Baudin named both Geographe Bay and Cape Naturaliste after his exploration vessels. He arrived in a French expedition to explore the area in 1801.
- Swim in the turqoise sea.
- Walk or bike along the seafront.
- Climb the tower at the visitor centre for a great photo look-out point.
- Have lunch at a cafe or beachside restaurant.
- Commune with the fish at the underwater observatory – without having to don a mask or diver’s tank.
- Catch a movie at the Drive-In, outdoor cinema
- Play a round of golf.
- Be Robin Hood for the day and visit Busselton Archery and family fun park.
Have you been to Busselton recently – what do you think? Or do you remember it fondly from childhood summer holidays? What are your memories or thoughts?