Fun Busselton Attractions: Family-Friendly Things to Do

Since the early 1900’s Busselton has been a popular place for West Australian’s to holiday.  It’s little wonder with its calm clear white sandy beaches and its stunning natural coastal scenery.  But for a long time, I only thought of Busselton as the gateway to the Margaret River Region, being just a two and a half-hour drive from Perth with a multitude of accommodation choices.

However, after a few recent getaways, I have delved into discovering more about Busselton and been pleasantly surprised to discover there are so many things to do in Busselton for families of all ages.

Yes, you can still drive further down the coast for day trips, but you don’t need to; I’ve found there are plenty of fun Busselton attractions all within a 20-minute drive of the town centre.

In this Article You Will Learn What to Do in Busselton WA


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Busselton attraction of blue sheds on Busselton Jetty
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Busselton History

The town sits in the area previously known as Undalup by the Wardandi Aboriginal Clan who were the original custodians of the land for 40 000 years. 

From the 1600’s European and American ships sailed the waters off Western Australia hunting whales.  In the south of WA, Albany was settled in 1826 and to the north, Fremantle and Perth were settled in 1829.  As the white settlement explored more of Western Australia a man by the name of Bussell came across the area now known as Busselton and thought it would make good grazing pasture.

Over time more pastoralists came to the area growing wheat, barley and oats along with grazing sheep, pigs and cattle and it officially became a town in 1837.  A jetty began being built in 1865 built and from 1858 stock was exported from Busselton Port.  120km away in Manjimup the timber industry was also growing, a railway line was built in 1871 to transport the timber for milling and exportation.

By 1972, Bunbury Port had superseded Busselton Port resulting in the closure of the Port.  Today you can learn about the history of the town and the jetty at the following locations.

11 Fun Things to Do in Busselton, Western Australia

Busselton Museum

Continue to learn more about the history of the town at the old Busselton Butter Factory home to the Busselton Museum.  The museum is located about five blocks back from the foreshore on the banks of the Sabina River.

Inside you’ll find memorabilia, photographs and displays from around the town that has been painstakingly restored.  Outside on the banks of the Vasse River are sheds filled with old farm machinery, an old schoolhouse and a cottage. It is quite a fun trip down memory lane and the kids get to see all sorts of old home appliances that were used from the early days to mid-1900’s

Inside you’ll find memorabilia, photographs and displays about the town and jetty.

  • Website: Busselton Museum
  • Opening Times: 10am-4pm Wednesday-Monday (closed Tuesday)
  • Cost: $10/adult and $5/child
The exterior of the Busselton Museum at the old Butter Factory
Busselton Museum

Top Trip Tip: If it looks like there will be bad weather whilst you are in town save this activity for things to do in Busselton when it’s raining

Art Geo Cultural Complex

As you walk back through town continue your historic education by taking the time to read plaques and statues that are dotted about on the main streets.

Two streets before the foreshore is the original Busselton Courthouse now home to the Art Geo Cultural Complex.  This is one of the free things to do in Busselton, to wander through the old gaol cells, the original courtrooms and old Bond Store that has also been used as the post office and a bank.

old courthouse limestone building

Outside you’ll find a six season Aboriginal bush food educational garden.

  • Website
  • Opening hours: 10am-4pm daily
  • Cost: free

Busselton Jetty

No trip here is complete without visiting the 1.8km historic jetty, which is the longest wooden pile jetty in the world.

Red train on Busselton Jetty
Busselton Jetty train

You can learn all about the history of Busselton Jetty and its huge impact on the viability on the growth of the town in the museum located within the Interpretive Centre and Museum.

During previous holidays to Busselton, we have walked the entire length and back.  It is quite fascinating stopping to chat to all the various fishermen along the way and read the plaques. 

Alternatively, you can take the cute little red train to the end of the jetty, which departs on the hour.  At the end of the jetty is the Underwater Observatory that provides 360° views of the ocean floor making it one of the top things to see in Busselton.

Taking the time (and extra cost) to explore the observatory is worth it!  You will learn about how the Underwater Observatory was installed and how the marine biologists upkeep the jetty pylons whilst ensuring the coral and marine life is only minimally disturbed.  During our tour, we saw beautiful coral and so many large schools of fish swimming by.  You also need to remember this isn’t an aquarium this is what is actually happening on the seafloor – truly wonderful.

Coral formation on jetty pylons and fish swimming in green water
One of the views in the Busselton Underwater Observatory
  • Website
  • Opening hours:
    • The jetty structure is open 24 hours/7 days per week
    • Interpretive Centre, 9:30-4:15pm Sunday-Friday and 8:30-5.15 on Saturday
    • Train departs on the hours, 9am-4pm Sunday-Friday and 9am-5pm Saturday
    • Underwater Observatory, 9am-3pm Sunday-Friday and 9am-4pm Saturday
  • Cost:
    • To walk the jetty: $4/adult
    • Train: $14/adult and $8:50/child
    • Underwater Observatory (includes train) $34/adult and $20/child

Top Trip Tip: If you are travelling during peak holiday times pre-book tours on the website (it is very popular)

Book this Tour*

Busselton Beach

By early in the 20th century, Busselton and the Geographe Bay had become popular with holidaymakers and it is little wonder with its calm clear waters and white sandy beaches.  It is perfect for kids and all ages.

View of Busselton beach and jetty

Along the entire length of the beachfront are paved paths for walking and cycling.

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Top Trip Tip: If you have a dog there are specific dog beaches

Busselton Parks on the Foreshore

At the town centre, the foreshore extends with lots of shaded green grassy fields, cafés, free BBQ’s and lots of playgrounds providing lots of options if you are in Busselton with kids of all ages.

Original Foreshore Playground

When we first visited Busselton as a young family, we thought this playground next to Signal Park with lots of rope spiderwebs was very good and it still is.  It is surrounded by lots of shady trees and the dog park is just over on the other side of the free car park. Plus, there are free BBQ’s and shaded picnic tables.

Kids playing in playground on Busselton foreshore, people BBQing in background

Sea Play on the Bay

But now there is the new Sea Play on the Bay playground and it is quite something.  With large shipwreck and mast to climb, limestone rocks to clamber over netted swings hanging from a giant orange octopus.  This is bound to keep the kids entertained for hours.

Busselton Foreshore adventure playground
Sea Play on the Bay playground

Skate Park

But don’t fear big kids have not been left out, there is a new skatepark with deep skateboarding bowls, hills and ramps to fly over with scooters.

ramps at Busselton Skatepark
Busselton Skatepark

Top Trip Tip: If you’ve left your scooter or bike at home, there is a scooter hire kiosk located nearby

Things to Do Near Busselton

Just outside of town with less than a 20-minute drive are lots of family-friendly Busselton activities and adventures for all ages to enjoy.

Busselton Primal Archery

We recently tried out Busselton Archery, located about 15 minutes from town, it was so much fun!

boy shooting archery arrows
Busselton Archery at Primal Archery

Your session begins with a short lesson in safety and how to shoot with a bow and arrow.  Then you make your way through the course under the native peppermint trees.  Each target is set a different length than the previous and the course gets progressively more difficult.

  • Website
  • Opening hours change depending on the season check the website
  • Cost: from $15 for 15 shoots (3 arrows and five targets)

Busselton Mini-Golf

 At Busselton Primal Archery they also offer mini-golf or you can go to The Par 3 golf course (only 10 minutes from town) that also has a dedicated 18 hole mini-golf course.

The Par3:

  • Website
  • Opening hours: from 8am seven days per week
  • Cost: $18/adult and $12/child

Forest Adventures

Ten minutes north of town in the Ludlow Tuart Forest is the adrenal filled Forest Adventures.  You can swing, climb and zip line through the forest on the six different high rope and wire obstacle courses.

two women climbing through high ropes
Image courtesy of Forest Adventures
  • Website
  • Opening hours: Thursday to Monday 9am-5pm
  • Cost: $44/adult and $36/child

Book this Tour*

Busselton Whale Watching

The Humpback, Southern Right, Minke and Blue Whales migrate up and down the West Coast of Australia from June to early December.  They really are a magnificent sight to see. 

When we were most recently in Busselton during the September long weekend, we could see plenty of whales in the distance as we stood at the lookout at Cape Naturalist.  But it no way compares to being out at sea watching them up close (we did this in Kalbarri).

If you haven’t been on a whale watching tour, then you are missing out.

Book this Tour*

Things to Do in Dunsborough and Yallingup

The towns of Dunsborough and Yallingup are only 20 and 30 minutes’ drive from Busselton respectively.

What to Do in Dunsborough

In Dunsborough you’ll find:

  • Xcape at the Cape
  • Next Level Monkey Business
  • Cape Naturalist Lighthouse
  • Sugar Loaf Rock
  • Meelup Beach

Xcape at the Cape

Looking for something for those energetic adrenaline junkies.

This is perfect if you are looking for something to do on hot summers days.  With a multitude of activities for the whole family including water slides and splash zone, mini-golf, laser tag, ninja tower, climbing walls, jumping trampolines.

And if it’s a rainy day and the kids need to burn off some energy there is the undercover adventure climbing mountain zone and a games room.

  • Website
  • Opening hours: 10am-4pm daily
  • Cost: All days passes from $49/adult and teens, $39/older child (9-12yrs) and $29/child (4-8yrs) 

Next Level Monkey Business

This is an alternate high ropes course a little further from Busselton but closer to Dunsborough and Yallingup.

  • Website
  • Opening hours:
    • 10am Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday
    • Open every day of the school holidays
  • Cost: $59/adult, $49 older kids (9-12yrs) and $39/child (4-8yrs)

Cape Naturalist Lighthouse and National Park

We recently took the Cape Naturalist Lighthouse tour.  Whilst this lighthouse isn’t as tall as Cape Leeuwin, the tour is still as interesting.  We begin by booking in at the first of the three lighthouse keeper cottages.  Our tour guide explains what life was like for the lighthouse keeper and their families – the hardships they endured especially in the early settlement years working seven days a week for years on end, not to mention having to be self-sufficient growing all their own produce to eat.

Cape Naturalist Lighthouse view from boardwalk
Cape Naturalist Lighthouse

This lighthouse isn’t as tall as Cape Leeuwin as it is built on top of a high rocky outcrop.  With magnificent views up and down the coast (including to Sugar Loaf Rock) and in the distance we can see whales frolicking in the ocean.

If you don’t want to do the tour but would still like to visit this section of the Cape Naturalist National Park, there is just a small entry fee.

  • Website
  • Opening hours: 9am-5pm daily
  • Cost: $15/adult and $7.50/child

BOOK A CAPE NATURALIST LIGHTHOUSE TOUR*

Sugarloaf Rock

Before you leave the area detour down Sugarloaf Road to check out the rock.  There is a short boardwalk from the car park to the lookout where you get the best views to take your pictures. 

large granite rock in the Indian Ocean
Sugar Loaf Rock

Meelup Beach and Castle Rock

Back on the main road again detour off onto Meelup Beach Road where you will find some of the most pristine calm beaches in Western Australia.

chils swimming in calm clear waters at Meelup beach in South Western Australia, sail boat in the background
Meelup beach

A little further south is Castle Rock for another photo moment.

Top Trip Tip: Don’t forget to pack your swimming bag

Things to Do in Yallingup

In Yallingup you’ll discover:

  • Yallingup Maze
  • Ngilgi Cave

We’ve been to both of these attractions, and they are well worth the extra thirty-minute drive from Busselton.

Yallingup Maze

The objective at Yallingup Maze is to find your way through to all 4 towers – situated at each corner of the maze.  After you have bought your tickets you are provided with red glasses so that you can see additional puzzle clues as you make your way through the timber-lined (some with hidden doors) walkways. 

The maze really does test your patience as you can see where you want to get to, but you just can’t seem to find the right pathway.  But it’s all good fun and provides a great half-day entertainment for the whole family.

Once you have completed the maze, stay awhile for a coffee in the café and enjoy the many puzzle games scattered about on the tables.  Or better yet pack a picnic to enjoy the green grassed grounds.  You are still welcome to go into the café a play on puzzle games.

two boys looking over Yallingup Maze
Yallingup Maze
  • Website
  • Opening hours: 9:30am-4:30pm Tuesday to Sunday (closed Monday)
  • Cost: $17/adult and $15/child

Ngilgi Cave

There are several caves to explore in the Margaret River Region.  But Ngilgi Cave (pronounced Nil Ghee) is the closest to Busselton and is the oldest tourist attraction in the Margaret River Region – though it still draws hundreds of visitors each day.

Our semi-guided tour begins with a history of Ngilgi Cave which is named after the Aboriginal mythological legend – the good spirit “Ngilgi” who defeated the evil spirit “Wolgine” thus restoring prosperity to the region with lots of water and vegetation.

After learning about the European settler who found the cave and began the first tours of the cave back in 1900, we get to descend 37 metres below the ground.

Inside the cave, the temperature remains a constant 20°C making it perfect to visit either in winter or summer.  There are numerous chambers to explore, each accessed via wooden boardwalks and lots of stairs.  At each of the locations, there is plenty of signage to explain, how the stalactite, stalagmite, helictite, straws and shawl formations are formed and get fun little snippets of historic stories like in Cupids Corner, where back in the day honeymooners would take a day trip to Ngilgi Cave (over a 16 hour round trip) and they would nip off into this secluded corner for a romantic moment.

There are so many little places within the cave to explore you’ll easily spend over an hour on your tour.

looking down in Nilgi Cave
Ngilgi Cave
  • Website
  • Opening hours: 9am – 5pm daily (last tour is 4pm)
  • Cost: $22.50/adult and $11.50/child

Top Trip Tip: Many of these activities are adventurous ensure you wear closed in quality walking shoes for stability

Planning Your Visit and What to Do in Busselton

As you can see there are so many attractions in Busselton to experience and enjoy either on a short getaway weekender or a longer stay in the South West Margaret River Region. So the following tips are here to help you plan your road trip

Location

Busselton is located 222km south of Perth.  It is an easy two and a half drive on the Kwinana Freeway and Forest Highway.  But just don’t forget to make a pit stop at the Bunbury Farmers Market on the way.

Map of Perth to Busselton
Perth to Busselton

If you don’t have a car you can fly but it is very expensive and seriously by the time you have driven to the airport, checked-in an hour before your flight, flown down, got off the plane collected your luggage and been driven to your accommodation – you could have already driven down here.

Hire a Car in Perth*

To learn the location of all the Busselton activities mentioned check out this interactive map.

Top Trip Tip: There are timed point to point speed cameras between Lake Clifton and Binningup – make sure you stick to the speed limit on your road trip

Where to Stay

You’ll find lots of holiday accommodation options.  You’ll find motels, short stay apartments, caravan parks with chalets and private accommodations.

We have stayed at and can recommend:

We have also stayed at Busselton Holiday Village as they allowed our dog.  But in no way shape or form could I recommend staying here.  There was a hole in the bathroom floor, dead bugs all over the window sills, and the couch sagged, seriously I was too scared to sit on it.

Find and Book Your Accommodation*

More Information

The official tourism websites for Busselton and the Margaret River Region include:

You may like to read a travel guide on Western Australia* for more information

Or check out all of Tips 4 Trips articles on Western Australia and the South West.  Including these articles and more coming soon on the Margaret River Region:

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Sally-Ann
Hi, I'm a Perth born and raised travel tips blogger/writer with over 20 years of experience in airlines, hospitality and tourism. Whilst in my younger years I backpacked throughout Europe, these days I enjoy luxury family holidays to South East Asia or road-tripping about Western Australia with my partner and our son.
I love sharing the travel lessons I have learned to help you plan for your dream trip with my travel tips for trips.
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10 Responses to “Fun Busselton Attractions: Family-Friendly Things to Do

  • Stephanie (1AdventureTraveler)
    4 years ago

    Great information on visiting Busselton in Western Australia. Also looks like it is good for families. I have not been to Australia yet but will pin this for later. Thanks for sharing! #TheWeeklyPostcard

    • It’s great for families. In the last ten years they have opened quite a number of family friendly attractions. Many of which are fun even if you don’t have kids. Hope you can get down there Stephanie.
      PS thanks for PINNING.

  • Oh my gosh – the area sounds like a giant summer camp for the whole family. How fun! Although, we never had a summer camp with a cave like that! Thanks for showing us around your vacation playground! #TheWeeklyPostcard

    • Pleasure Rob, the area is such fun and not just for families. I loved visiting this region pre-kids as well, sampling all the wonderful wines 🙂

  • Oh the caves look amazing! Afterwards, I’d hit up the candy shop! haha #TheWeeklyPostcard!

  • When husband and I visited Australia, we only visited the east and middle part. I keep hearing such great stories about the west as well. It really, does look amazing!
    #TheWeeklyPostcard

  • Those caves are really impressive. Just that makes me want to visit. Then you throw chocolate on top! #TheWeeklyPostcard.

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