Home' Margaret River : Margaret River Guide 2016 Contents Scoop Traveller 19
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THE BUSSELTON JETTY
The undersea wonderland at the end of Busselton
Jetty is not to be missed – and it’s all down to
a wonderful combination of natural circumstance
and man-made convenience.
The Busselton Jetty is the longest wooden jetty in the southern
hemisphere. Built more than 150 years ago, it extends 1841m out to
sea, making it the perfect construction to meet one of Australia’s most
incredible natural phenomena.
Named after the Dutch merchant ship Leeuwin (which explored the
WA coast in 1622), and stretching for 5500km, the Leeuwin Current is the
world’s longest continuous coastal current. The amazing thing about
it is that it shouldn’t even be there. According to scientists, because it’s
a surface current running along a western coast in the southern
hemisphere, it should flow north to the equator. Instead, by a lucky
anomaly, the Leeuwin Current flows south, from the North West Cape,
over the Ningaloo Reef and Shark Bay coasts, before curling eastward
around Cape Leeuwin and heading all the way down to Tasmania.
As the current flows south, it brings with it all sorts of marine life, a fact
that has had a massive impact on Australia’s marine ecosystems, affecting
climate, fisheries and the lifecycles of undersea species.
In the shallow Geographe Bay, the tropical water carried by the current
stays warm enough for fish and corals to survive all year round, and that’s
a fact that the Underwater Observatory at the end of Busselton Jetty takes
full advantage of, providing the ideal place to view Australia’s greatest
artificial reef... without getting wet. Eight metres below the surface of
the ocean, in a waterproof chamber, you can view thousands of brightly
coloured tropical fish swimming freely around the jetty’s pylons. You
might even see a scuba diver or two.
There’s a cute, open-sided train that takes passengers to the end of the
jetty, or you can take a lovely long walk and enjoy the ocean view.
To learn more about the Leeuwin Current, visit marinewaters.fish.
Drop in on
(beach end of Queen
(08) 9752 5800
I like to go out and about shopping
down Fig Tree Lane – home to
25 boutique and speciality shops
and cafes – then have a bite to
eat at one of our many restaurants
down Queen Street.
DO AND SEE
If you’d like to catch fish rather than
look at them, there are plenty off the
Busselton Jetty before dawn, but they
also bite at dusk. Mulloway, herring,
tailor, gardies, King George whiting
and samson fish can be hooked
halfway down the jetty after the
gazebo, while pink snapper, bonito
and big sharks can be caught in
deeper waters towards the end of the
jetty (just before the sanctuary, which
sits at the very end). In the evening,
grab a torch and go squidding or
crabbing. Deep-sea fishing charters
are also available, and have excellent
Water babies are spoilt here – there’s
20km of snorkel-friendly beach in
calm, clear waters, home to sea life
such as coral and sponges, schools
of yellow fin, teeny porcupine fish,
extraordinary pineapple fish, rays,
octopi and cuttlefish. Charters run
out to Four Mile Reef and Bull Eye
(a secret section of Four Mile Reef)
and some offer night dives so you
can see the coral polyps filter feed.
The Coral Gardens, 30 minutes out,
have the largest plate corals in the
southwest. Depending on the season,
annoying stingers are often found
in the shallows, so wear a rashie to
avoid being stung.
WALK, RIDE, PUSH
With footpaths stretching from Port
Geographe to Point Dalling, the 31km
Busselton to Dunsborough bicycle
path is almost completely flat, and
takes in the awesome views of the
coastline. The shared path is great
for bikes, prams and wheelchairs.
A highlight for the kids is riding across
the 45m bridge spanning the Toby
Inlet. Pack your walking shoes because
this is one path you’ll probably want to
do every morning.
Tip A plethora of fish can
be caught off the Busselton
Jetty and beaches – ask
locals for the best spots.
An example of the fish at the
The fastest way to get to the observatory is on
the jetty train (photography Busselton Jetty).
Photography Busselton Jetty.
(photography Ben Reynolds).
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