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Busselton and the surrounding area is very popular with families due to its close proximity to Perth, its beautiful natural surroundings and the large number of attractions in the area.
It is a part of the Greater Margaret River Region that also includes Yallingup, Dunsborough, Cowaramup, Gracetown, Prevelly and Margaret River.
Busselton Jetty is Busselton’s number 1 tourist attraction. The jetty is 1.8km long and includes a number of attractions.
The Underwater Observatory
The Underwater Observatory sits at the end of the jetty. You are able to take a tour of the observatory where you can descend below the jetty and into the water without getting wet! It is similar to an aquarium but what you are viewing is the natural habitat surrounding the jetty.
It is only possible to do as a part of a tour. Prices vary depending on which tour option you choose but you are looking at approximately $100 for a Family Pass. You can find more information on the Busselton Jetty website.
Interpretive Centre and Entrance Fees
There is a fee of $4 to walk on the Busselton Jetty between the hours of 9 and 5. It is free to enter outside of these hours. You can walk the length of the jetty in about half an hour and it is easy enough to push a stroller. It is also popular for fishing. People were having quite a bit of success catching squid while we were there.
There is an Interpretive Centre at the start of the jetty which is included in your admission fee. You will find information on the history of the Jetty as well as a small gift shop.
Busselton Jetty Train Ride
The main attraction from a child’s perspective is the train ride down the jetty. Rick took Em to enjoy this activity while I had a few hours off when we camped in Busselton. While I napped and read my book, they lined up to buy tickets ($14 adult and $8 per child). You can read about their experience in my post Casual Aussie Racism in Busselton. Em absolutely loved the train.
The Old Courthouse Precinct
For a small town there are plenty of museums and galleries to keep you occupied.
Heritage Buildings and Art Galleries
The Old Courthouse Precinct is set amongst a series of heritage buildings and includes a couple of small galleries, a museum and a gift shop. In the surrounding area outside there are a few statues with accompanying information telling you about some of the history and past characters of the area.
Em enjoyed the displays in the Art Galleries to the sounds of us saying repeatedly, ‘Look but don’t touch. Look but don’t touch.’ She wanted to know what each picture was called and wouldn’t let us skip even one. We enjoyed our browse and found that the small galleries were a good avenue for local artists to receive some exposure.
The Courthouse Museum and Jail
The Courthouse Museum and Jail was amazing and I would recommend it to any visitor to Busselton. It was fun, educational and held the interest of all of us.
The Old Courthouse has been preserved and includes a book of stories from when the building was used as a courthouse and jail. My favourite story was about a couple of escapees. One had managed to escape and evaded recapture for about a week. The other was caught pretty much immediately and his excuse for escaping was that he was trying to call the other escapee back! (Yeah right! Nice try!)
We walked through the old jail cells and took some photos. They have a great feature in the jail where you can take your own mugshot with a few signs to choose from outlining the charge. Rick was jailed for Drunkenness and Em was jailed for Disorderly conduct. I was amazed at the accuracy of the charges!
Playgrounds and Public Space
The Busselton Foreshore is a hive of activity. There is a new kid’s playground, plenty of green space, toilets and barbeques. Of course, it also offers close access to the beach and the Busselton jetty.
The playgrounds, beach and picnic spaces offer hours of entertainment for the whole family. There are also a few statues and historical markers dotted around the place that offer a glimpse into the past.
There is a long walking path along the foreshore that stretches in both directions for miles. I believe it is possible to walk along this path all the way to Dunsborough and after our Camping Trip to Busselton in the School Holidays I thought about returning for a walking holiday but haven’t made it back yet.
Near the foreshore, just back from the kids play area and toilet we found the Busselton market. It is not on every Sunday so you will need to check on the council website or look for the signs plastered around town telling you when the next one is on.
We found it was a great market to explore with lots of interesting stalls. Em loved the jumping castle which was $5 for 20 minutes.
There are a couple of nice restaurants on the foreshore as well. We had Pizzas at Equinox one evening, which we enjoyed. Equinox is located right near a couple of huge old fig trees which are stunning and certainly attract the birds.
The Goose restaurant is closer to the Jetty and had a lovely outdoor area. I got a take away coffee from there but didn’t try the food.
There was another takeaway kiosk near the fig trees and Equinox as well, but I don’t remember its name. It was a lot more casual and had the usual take away suspects of burgers, pizzas and fish and chips.
The Visitor Centre
The Visitors Centre includes a room with
We always seem to ask the same questions when we go to a Visitors Centre. For some tips on the best questions to ask you can read our post on The Top 5 Travel Questions To Ask At Visitor Centres.
Yallingup beaches are known for their surf. On the day that we visited the water was a calm blue and perfect for swimming with kids. Up the stairs there is a carpark and a lookout over the Indian Ocean. There is plenty of green grass and areas to enjoy a picnic.
The highlight for the kids is an awesome playground based on a pirate ship. Em loved ‘surfing the wave’ at the playground and we found a spot of shade on the grass to sit back and watch her play.
The main road that runs from Busselton through Dunsborough and Yallingup is called Caves Rd because the area is known for it’s multiple caves.
Ngilgi Caves used to be known as Yallingup caves. You can choose to explore the cave on your own or do a guided tour. A family pass is $58 or it is $22.50 per adult and $12.50 per child. There are also options where you can buy a multi cave pass.
The admission fee includes access to their Nature playground, bouncy castle and to playing puzzles in their café.
The Maze is constructed from wooden panels and includes a tower that you can climb in case you get lost so you can find your way out. There is no shade over the Maze so it is probably best avoided on a hot sunny day.
Admission is $16 per adult, $14 per child or $56 for a family of 4.
Cape to Cape Track
The Cape to Cape Track starts in Dunsborough at Cape Naturaliste in the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park. The first 3.5km of the track from Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse to Sugarloaf Rock has been made accessible for prams and wheelchairs with a wooden boardwalk.
The coastline along here is absolutely stunning and well worth the effort. We loved it. You can read about our experience here.
Cape Naturaliste Rd
All you need to do to find countless beautiful beaches, walking trails and wineries is go for a drive along Cape Naturaliste Rd in Dunsborough. This is an absolute paradise that can more than compete with some of the most beautiful places in the world.
We loved Meelup beach. It is perfect for kids, nice calm waters with a few grassed areas and tables so it is a perfect area for a picnic as well. Bunker Bay was also a nice spot for a swim and a picnic. You could pick any of the beaches along this stretch of road and you can’t go wrong.
Simmo’s Ice Creamery
Do yourself a favour and and visit Simmo’s Ice Creamery. We stopped there for an ice cream and paid $6 for an adult 2 scoop ice cream (but each ‘scoop’ was really about 4 scoops in one!)
They had about 60 flavours to choose from and we sampled 5 of them between the 3 of us and we were all happy.
Simmo’s is not just an ice cream shop. It had a massive garden with a kids playground, a bunch of coin operated kids rides, a playground, a jumping castle, mini golf and even a barbeque for people who wanted to make a day of it and bring their own lunch.
A definite highlight in the area with plenty to do. Not bad for the cost of an ice cream.
There is so much to do in each of these towns. I haven’t even touched on the many wineries, restaurants and cafes with family friendly facilities. You are sure to enjoy yourself on any visit to the region.
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