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Image credit: Western Australia Tourism

Busselton beckons

Aleney de Winter looks at why this seaside town should be at the top of your West Australian bucket list.

Nestled along the beautiful blue of Geographe Bay, just a three-hour drive south of Perth, the city of Busselton has been a popular holiday spot with Western Australians for more than 100 years. But now the secret is out and the rest of the country is flocking to explore its beautiful beaches and wildflower-filled bushland surrounds.

Over and under water
The Heritage-listed Busselton Jetty, extending almost two kilometres out into Geographe Bay, is undoubtedly Busseltonís biggest drawcard. Counted as one of the top 10 dive jetties in the world, the picturesque pier provides shelter to colourful ancient corals as well as an abundance of fish, seals and even the occasional dolphin.

A popular wheelchair-accessible train carries passengers the length of the jetty, passing local fishermen hauling in their catch to reach a spectacular Underwater Observatory. Here visitors descend eight metres to the ocean floor via a spiral staircase, entering a giant reverse fishbowl that offers views into an exciting and colourful world of tropical and sub-tropical corals. Over 300 marine species call this area home and here visitors can see them without getting wet.

From December 2015 the jetty will become even more fabulous for families with the launch of a series of new tours and activities including guided walking and photography tours, fishing clinics and night tours of the observatory. Busselton is one of Australiaís best wild dolphin destinations and the Dolphin Discovery Centre is the spot to learn about the dolphins in the local area. Explore the Discovery Pool, aquariums, 360į Digital Dolphinarium and the Interaction Zone where wild dolphins come to interact with visitors. If youíd rather see the dolphins at play around the bay, head out on a Dolphin Eco Cruise, or get up close and personal with these delightful creatures in their own environment on a Swim on the Wild Side Tour.

Underwater Observatory

Itís only natural
Take the trek to nearby Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse where you will be rewarded with incredible panoramic views over the Indian Ocean, Cape Naturaliste, Leeuwin- Naturaliste National Park and sparkling Geographe Bay. Itís worth taking a tour to learn the functions and history of the working lighthouse, and to shiver at tales of its ghosts and shipwrecks.
Be sure to leave time to tackle some of the walking trails that meander around the stunning bays and dazzling beaches of the Cape for unbeatable views over the ocean and of the local wildflowers, something this part of Western Australia is famous for.

Famous for fun
Busselton has its fair share of family attractions and thereís fun to be found for every age. At Busselton Archery and Family Fun Park, located on the edge of town, kids five and over can try their hand at archery. All equipment and tuition is provided, with a shaded nine-target range. After a little training, the full-range skirmish takes around 40 minutes to complete. Afterwards the kids can go wild in the Bungee Run and Adventure Playground.

Image credit: Western Australia Tourism

Having used so much energy, youíll want to find a comfortable place to settle in for the night. There is ample accommodation available in Busselton with a good variety of familyfriendly resorts, guesthouses, holiday parks and camping. Mandalay Holiday Resort & Tourist Park is a short drive from town and features all of the family favourites. From a heated swimming pool to a giant jumping pillow, thereís plenty to keep the kids occupied, while Mum and Dad will love the barbeque and kitchen facilities.

Hot tip
Head to Fig Tree Lane for boutique shopping.

Fish and Chips on Busselton foreshore

The remarkable river
If you can tear yourself away from all of Busseltonís family-friendly fun, it is also an ideal base to tour the Margaret River region as its world-class wineries are all in proximity to the pretty seaside town.

Get lost at Amazeín Margaret River Maze, Cafe and Gardens as you wind your way through 2000 hedges that stand over two metres tall. Thereís also an 18-hole mini-golf course where you can test your swing, before taking a rest in the gardens featuring species native to Western Australia.

For those who prefer motors over mazes, the best way to experience the Margaret River region is via electric quad bike with EcoAdventures Margaret River, itís seriously fun and the environment will thank you!

Image credit: Busselton Jetty

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