aerial view of busselton jetty western australia

Busselton Jetty Underwater Observatory Honest Review 2024

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.

This post may contain affiliate links (of companies I book through). This means I may receive a small commission if you book through them. You can read the disclaimer for more information.

marine life from the busselton jetty underwater observatory viewing window
Marine life as seen from the bottom observation windows

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.

To compare Australian car hire prices, Discover Cars is an award-winning car rental comparison website. They offer competitive pricing in over 10,000 locations worldwide and are highly rated.

DriveNow is a good resource to compare campervan hire in Western Australia. It includes all the large companies like Britz, Maui, & Jucy as well as smaller ones.

Compare Rental Cars Here.

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 blue busselton jetty interpretive centre building
The blue Busselton Jetty Interpretive Centre

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.

the red train you to the busselton jetty underwater observatory
Tickets include a return train ride

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.

view of the underneath of the wooden busselton jetty from the underwater observatory
View of Busselton Jetty from as you start to descend into the underwater observatory

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.

view of a seal from busselton underwater observatory
A seal we saw on the second level of Busselton Underwater Observatory

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).

coral and fish seen from busselton jetty underwater observation window
Fish and coral seen from Busselton Observatory windows

Once the tour has finished, you can spend longer at the end of the pier before your return train journey.

distance markers at the end of busselton jetty

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.

KKDay were offering discounted tickets – see prices here.

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.

coral attached to the busselton jetty pilons

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.

outdoor swimming pool in a resort

Busselton Accommodation

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.

Busselton Tours

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:

view of sugar loaf rock off the coast near dunsborough

Western Australia’s South West Travel Guide

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.

Read More….

Save Money Planning Your Trip

Click on the links, which will take you directly to the website.

Flights ✈️

We fly Virgin Australia domestically due to their competitive prices and fantastic customer service, and fly with Qatar Airways to Europe.

Accommodation 🏩

We mainly use Booking.com for accommodation as they consistently have the lowest rates with free cancellation on most properties.

For pet sitting in Western Australia and worldwide, we are members of Trusted Housesitters. Free accommodation for pet and house sitting.

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.

Campervan/RV Rental 🚐

DriveNow is a good resource to compare campervan hire in Western Australia as it includes all the large companies like Britz, Maui, and Jucy as well as smaller ones.

Travel Insurance 🌏

Cover-More and Travel Insurance Direct are our preferred travel insurance companies for domestic and international travel.

See this Travel Insurance for Australia guide for more information.

Western Australia Travel Guide

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