Ships dock further at the shallow Geographe Bay and tender passengers ashore. The tenders stop at the “swim jetty” – with an official name Cruise Landing Jetty at Busselton town. You will step off the tender right at the town’s main beach, with people sunbathing and swimming around you. There isn’t a cruise terminal as such, but there is a lovely Visitors Centre a 3-minute walk from the jetty, with touring information and local produce to purchase. The town’s main street – Queen Street starts just about 5 min walk from the Visitor Centre. The Busselton Regional Airport is only 12 min by car, 9 km away from the beach.
The local currency is the Australian dollar (AUD). Australia has eliminated the penny and cash transactions are rounded up to the nearest nickel. All major credit cards are accepted everywhere. There are plenty of ATMs and exchanging money is easy. You can exchange cash at one of the money exchange shops and bank offices in Busselton. Make sure you check the market rate and ask if there would be any commission charges and fees. In general, smaller, independent shops have better rates than banks and major companies, but the best thing to do would always be to check the rates on the day. If you use your cards to draw cash from an ATM, make sure you have notified your bank you would be spending time abroad and you are aware of any transaction fees. More and more banks and financial companies now tend to offer cards with no additional fees when using abroad, so it might pay off for you to check if you can get such card before travelling.
Opening hours and bank holidays. The opening hours in Busselton are quite generous, as this is a year-round tourist destination. Most shops and shopping centres are generally opened from 9 am to 5.30 pm, with most of them having a late night shopping on Fridays or Thursdays with an hour or two extension. They are also open full day Saturday and until midday or 4pm on Sunday. Some of the bigger shopping centres are open every day until 9 pm Many of them would work even on Christmas Day. There are number of National bank holidays as well and some shops will be closed, so do make yourself familiar with those, especially if your time is limited.
Tipping in Australia is not as common as it is in Europe and the United States. There are jars for tips, but they are hardly used. You can tip if you are happy with the service, but you don’t have to. There are no service charges added to your bill at restaurants either.
It is common knowledge that English is the language of Busselton, so you would have no problems being understood.
The local time in Busselton is GMT+8 and the International dialling code is + 618.
Things To Do
Busselton is the gateway to the Margaret River wine producing region. 140 wineries in the area, mostly small and boutique, produce only 3% of the grapes, but a whooping 20% of the wine in Australia. A wine tour is the most-common activity here and you can choose between one of the oldest wineries in the region – Vasse Felix, established in 1967, the larger and very popular Flametree Margaret River with an award-winning first ever red wine, the “enchanted forest” experience at Howling Wolves at Rivendell, or try the Brookwood “bubbles” – a Mellow Rouge at Brookwood Estate and many more.
Busselton Jetty is the focal point of the town – a historical, 2 km long wooden jetty, the longest in the Southern Hemisphere and second longest in the world – a must-see for any visitor. Take a peak at the rich underwater world 8 metres below the surface at one of the six operating Underwater Observatories in the world. Here the plies of the jetty have created a fascinating man-made reef with bright and colourful corals and tropical fish, sponges and invertebrates. Ride the fun electric train and check out the iconic blue boat-shed style Interpretive Centre & Museum with free entry to find out more the history of the jetty and Busselton itself.
After the wine tasting the second most popular activity in Busselton would be hitting the beach. With a coastline of 200km, you are never short of a space on the sand even in the peak of the summer holidays. There is a beach for anything you’d wish to do - if fishing is your thing, go no further than Busselton Jetty for fish, squid and crabs. There are also numerous fishing tours and excursions you could book. If you would like to do some snorkelling, head off to Eagle Bay, Meelup or Castle Rock. If you have experience in scuba diving, go to one of the best diving sites in the region – the HMAS Swan dive wreck and its spectacular man-made reef. For whale (between September and December) and dolphin watching (any time of year), head off to Dunsborough and the vantage point Cape Naturaliste. Yallingup is where surfers try their luck with the waves and Busselton Foreshore and Meelup are the best choice for relaxing and sunbathing with a cocktail in your hand.
If you would like to find out more about the history and culture of the region and its people, head off to Busselton Museum and see how the town developed through artefacts from the family, social, civic, commercial and maritime history of Busselton. At the Old Courthouse Art Complex admire the beauty of the oldest building in Busselton and one of the oldest in the whole of Western Australia, built in 1861, as well as works from local contemporary artists. St Mary’s Church is the oldest stone church in the state, having been built in the 1848 that still operates to this day. At its graveyard you can see the graves of some of the members of the Bussell family, that gave Busselton its name.
Busselton is not short of natural wonders as well – see the Ngilgi Caves – one of the first attractions of Western Australia and admire its natural decoration of stalactites, stalagmites, helicities and colourful shawls. There are over 150 highly decorated caves, that formed over 1 million years ago, out of which six are open to the public. The Ludlow Tuart Forest is an open forest of tuart trees – type of the eucalyptus tree. It consists of 300-400 old trees, 33 metres high on average and is the only surviving tuart forest in the world. At Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park watch the migrating whales, relax at the numerous beaches, explore caves, admire the incredible Indian Ocean vistas, walk, camp, drive, cycle.
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