13 Things to do in Busselton – The event capital of the South West

Things to do in Busselton

Busselton Beach front

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 :)

Things to do in Busselton

Walk along the 1.8km wooden pile jetty

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.

Things to do in Busselton

The view from the photo tower

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.

Things to do in Busselton

There is lots to do along the Busselton waterfront

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.

Things to do in Busselton

The visitor’s centre is now in the building which was once part of the water park’s water slide. The top tower is a great place for photos. But there’s loads more to at bustling Busso in summertime

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.
Things to do in Busselton

A world gone by

  • 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.
Things to do in Busselton

French explorers explored Geographe Bay in 1801

  • Swim in the turqoise sea.
  • Walk or bike along the seafront.
Things to do in Busselton

In summer the sea is a tropical blue at Busselton

  • 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?

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Comments

  1. It certainly looks different to the sleepy town I remember. Hope to pay a visit when I go over your way to give the newly extended Munda Biddi Trail a go later this year. Thanks for the tips Jo.
    Tracey recently posted..Warning: Your Travel Blog Could be Under Serious ScrutinyMy Profile

  2. Yes, you’re going to love the extended Munda Biddi Trail, Tracey. Look forward to seeing you in this neck of the woods :)

  3. There is certainly plenty to do in Busselton. It has changed a lot in the 30 odd years we have been going there – 50 odd years for my husband! And we have many good memories of fishing and squidding out on the jetty. I didn’t know they had a new visitor centre in the old tower. What a great view! I will have to visit next time I am down there. Aren’t we so lucky Busso is so close.
    Life Images by Jill recently posted..Life is a Beach in Western AustraliaMy Profile

  4. I can’t imagine how much it must have changed for you and your husband Jill. I think you’ll be certain to enjoy the new photo tower! Much better for some than a water slide!

  5. Janet Scott says:

    Wow, it has changed and I definitely think for the better! Will have to give it a longer look if ever we manage to get over to the West.

  6. I haven’t stopped in Busselton for a long while. It’s so easy to keep driving through to your destination that you forget all that it offers. By the looks of your photos, it certainly has changed. Next time….
    jenny@atasteoftravel recently posted..Tuesday Travel Bite: New York’s Top of the RockMy Profile

  7. I think you’d be surprised by the changes in just a few years, Janet :) and yes, can’t wait to see you back over this way one day :)

  8. Definitely worth a stop, Jenny, and with all the parking at the beach, it’s so easy.

  9. Busselton has always been a very charming place and a hugely popular holiday destination. The main part of the jetty was destroyed by Cyclone Alby in 1978 and it is really a credit to the BSN townspeople, what they have done to restore and maintain what was left of it.

    Where Equinox Beach Cafe is now used to be “Beach Shop” (I know really original). It was a fish and chip shop and cafe and they did the best fish and chips ever – wrapped up in white paper and you would sit in the park near the jetty overlooking the beach and eat them.

    It’s amazing that the Drive-In is still there – it must be one of the last remaining Drive-Ins in the state and in the country for that matter.

    Probbably one of the worst things about Busso beach is the stingers – it would be great if they could eradicate those. Apart from that it would have to be one of the top beacches in the world.
    Yes great place Busso!

  10. Thank you for your insightful comment, Ingrid. This is really so interesting and I’d love to know more about the recent history of Busselton from people who have lived there.

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