Busselton Jetty Underwater Observatory Review 2023

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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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. 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.

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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.

Western Australia Travel Guide

Save money planning your holiday

Click on the links which will take you direct to the website.

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 ViatorGet Your Guide & Klook due to their free cancellation policies, instant confirmation, price guarantees, and mobile ticketing. We occasionally book through Red Balloon too.

Travel Insurance: Cover-More protects the travel dreams and experiences of more than 15 million people worldwide every year (including us!). Part of Zurich Insurance Group, they cover 22 countries across five continents with leading positions in the USA, Australia, Brazil, Argentina, Ireland, India and New Zealand. Protect your trip against several COVID-19 scenarios during the current coronavirus pandemic. 

Busselton Jetty Underwater Observatory Review 2023

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14 thoughts on “Busselton Jetty Underwater Observatory Review 2023”

  1. The jetty and observatory look so pretty and a wonderful place to spend the day! I love that it has so much history and they were able to keep it. As much as I love diving, I think it is neat to see marine life like in this setting too. Your posts are making me want to visit Australia more and more! 🙂

    Reply
  2. Wow! The jetty is so longgg. at first I didn’t catch the length, and then was like wait – why is there a train?? haha. The underwater observatory looks amazing… I really need to get to WA!!

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  3. This looks so cool! It’s almost like scuba diving but without all those pesky safety things to remember! I would definitely do this, even though now I also dive. 🙂 Thanks for sharing, Wendy!

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  4. Nearly two kilometres, wow! I still remember visiting Brighton Palace Pier in England for the first time as a kid and thinking how it did not seem to have an end. It is barely over half a kilometre… Also, great views from the observatory. Enjoyed reading your post, Wendy.

    Reply
    • Thank you Stefan. It’s certainly a long one! I remember visiting Bright Pier for the first time as a kid too. Love it there.

      Reply
  5. Another really interesting place to visit in your region, Wendy! The beauty of the setting and the history of the jetty are enough to lure me there, but I love the idea of the natural aquarium. I would definitely want to do this. Expensive perhaps, but knowing that the money goes into the upkeep of this facility makes it a justifiable expense. Part of responsible tourism to support ventures like this.

    Reply

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