The Busselton Jetty Underwater Observatory provides visitors with a glimpse of the marine life inhabiting the waters of Geographe Bay. The observatory descends 8 metres below the surface of the water, providing an up-close view of the fish, coral, and other sea creatures that call the bay home.
Opened in 2003, it is one of only six natural aquariums globally and is now a popular tourist attraction in Busselton, Western Australia.
As locals, we visit Busselton a couple of times a year – find out what we think of the Busselton Jetty Underwater Observatory.
Updated December 2022.
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Location of Busselton Jetty
Busselton is in the South West region of Western Australia, less than a two and a half-hour drive from Perth.
International and domestic visitors will fly into Perth Airport. Find details about visas, prohibited items, currency, and safety in this Australia Travel Guide and information on arriving into WA and other essential travel information in this Western Australia Travel Guide.
There are car hire booths at Perth airport, but it’s best to pre-book your car rental. Choose from Avis, Budget, Europcar, Sixt, Hertz, Enterprise, and Thrifty.
To compare rental car company prices, I use Discover Cars, an award-winning car rental comparison website. They offer competitive pricing in over 10,000 locations worldwide and are have a high rate of customer satisfaction. Another option is Rentalcars.
Drivenow is a good resource to compare campervan hire in Western Australia as it includes all the large companies like Britz, Maui, Jucy as well as smaller ones.
Busselton Jetty Underwater Observatory Review
Busselton Jetty Underwater Observatory can only be accessed via a tour which operates every hour on the hour and lasts about one hour and forty-five minutes (the guided tour itself is around 40 minutes). Tours depart from the interpretive Centre, the blue building near the start of the jetty.
The tour price includes a return ticket for the train, which saves you from walking the 1.7 km. It’s also a fun way to travel, and the kids love it.
A tour guide will meet you off the train and take you into the observatory building, where they will provide you with a short briefing before starting the descent. Six flights of stairs (60 in total) take you 8m below sea level, but a lift is available if required.
At each level, the tour guide stops to explain what you can see through the observatory windows – tropical corals, sponges, fish, crabs, and you might even be able to spot a seal or two. There are over 300 different marine species that may be sighted.
The eleven viewing windows in the 9.5m diameter observation chamber are large enough to see the marine life in their natural habitat.
As numbers are limited to 44 on each tour, you always get access to the windows (there is plenty of allocated time at the end to return to the windows above if you missed something previously).
Once the tour has finished, you can spend longer at the end of the pier before your return train journey.
Prices as of December 2022 are A$37 per adult, A$22 per child (3-17) and A$118 for a family (2ad +2ch). Book online with Busselton Jetty.
Translation sheets for tours are available in the following languages – Chinese, Japanese, Indonesian, French, German, Dutch, Italian, Korean and Polish.
The New Busselton Jetty Underwater Observatory
It was announced at the end of 2020 that the new Australian Underwater Discovery Centre (AUDC) would replace the existing underwater observatory. The semi-submerged whale-shaped building would have a higher capacity than the current one, with larger viewing windows offering panoramic views of the jetty’s ecosystem. The hope is to add underwater dining, underwater sculptures, and marine art, enhancing Busselton Jetty’s 155-year-old experience.
Unfortunately, due to construction costs rising dramatically, the project is uncertain. The initial forecast of A$32m has blown out to A$49m, making the BJI Board and senior staff investigate all options to see if the project can go ahead.
Thoughts on the Busselton Jetty Underwater Observatory
So is the Busselton Jetty Underwater Observatory worth the price? I believe it is. Initially, we did put off going; we thought it was quite a lot to pay for a family. However, you get a great experience for the price, and it is nice to support a piece of history.
I like that it’s a not-for-profit organisation, so the money goes into the upkeep of the jetty. It is also eco-friendly with the solar run train, and no marine animals are kept in captivity.
It’s an excellent chance for a non-diver to see what it’s like to be 8m under the ocean surface.
Find out what else there is to do on Busselton Jetty, along with interesting information and history in this travel guide to Busselton Jetty.
Busselton has plenty of accommodation options for all types of travellers, including holiday parks, camping, luxury stays, self-contained and budget.
For our choices of the best accommodation in Busselton, including places we have stayed, click below.
Viator have a great range of tours that are competitively priced and offer free cancellation on most experiences.
Other Things To Do in the Margaret River region
For more ideas on the must-see places and attractions in the Margaret River region, please see the following guides:
- Things to do in Margaret River
- Things to do in Yallingup
- Things to do in Dunsborough
- Things to do in Busselton
- Best beaches in the Margaret River region
This detailed travel guide provides information on all the regions that make up Australia’s South West. Read about the destinations, including what to do and where to stay.
Save money planning your holiday
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Flights: We use different sites to get the best possible price for flights. Check matrix.itasoftware.com to get an idea of the cheapest dates, but you can’t book through this site. Compare the cost of flights with Kiwi.com and try different routes.
Travel Guides: As well as using online resources, like other travel blogs, I like to flick through a paper travel guide too. I either rent them from our local library or buy them from Bookdepository if I want to take it with me.
Accommodation: We mainly use Booking.com for accommodation as they consistently have the lowest rates with free cancellation on most properties. We also book through Stayz for private accommodation as they are usually cheaper than Airbnb.
Car Rental: To compare rental car company prices, we use Discover Cars, an award winning car rental comparison website. They offer competitive pricing in over 10,000 locations worldwide and are highly-rated. Another option is Rentalcars.com
Campervan Rental:Drivenow is a good resource to compare campervan hire in Western Australia as it includes all the large companies like Britz, Maui, Jucy as well as smaller ones.
Tours: We use third-party sites Viator, Get Your Guide & Klook due to their free cancellation policies, instant confirmation, price guarantees, and mobile ticketing. We occasionally book through Red Balloon too.
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