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Beautiful Busselton
busselton wa When images of hot desert landscapes sweltering under a ferocious sun come to mind you will most likely think you are seeing parts of Western Australia. But don't despair, Western Australia is not all about desert and dry landscapes. If you venture 200 kilometres south of Perth you will come across the Busselton/Margaret River region, whose inland forests, elaborate coastline and fertile farmlands belie this desert stereotype. Beautiful Busselton lies on the shores of Geographe Bay, which featured thirty kilometres of sweeping white beaches that have been celebrated in travel books across the world. Elite in Australia's tourism industry, Busselton is the perfect place for a holiday of any kind because there are endless opportunities for fun, adventure and exploration.

Busselton is one of the state's earliest settlements, and tourists have been visiting it for many decades now. Its status as a seaside town, means that it is full of enchanting beaches that are just on the town's doorstep. The water is an intriguing shade of blue and the temperate climate of warm summers and mild winters makes it perfect for a coastal holiday nearly all year round. The crystal clear waters of Geographe Bay have a diverse array of tropical and sub tropical species of marine life, boosted by the Leeuwin current that flows in during the autumn and winter. Popular ways to pass the time around here include diving and snorkelling and partaking in these will introduce you to some amazing colours and all the oddities of the underwater world!

The Busselton Jetty is one of the major highlights of the town and is a heritage listed wooden jetty that extends two kilometres out from shore into the waters of the bay. This makes it the oldest wooden structure in the southern hemisphere. It is recognised as being one of the top ten dive jetties in the world, and is home to more 300 individual marine species. What makes the jetty so ideal is that fact that you are able to get up close and personal with the marine life without actually getting wet! The Underwater Observatory located at the end of the jetty is perfect for this and is a popular attraction with the kids. The dome shaped structure with immense glass windows is similar to a fishbowl, except that the people are on the inside! Dolphins and seals also frequent the area, accompanying the colourful coral and multitudes of tropical fish. There is a small train that takes visitors over the jetty and out to the Observatory, offering a truly unique experience for the kids.

Busselton is regarded as the northern gateway to the Margaret River Region, and is an area renowned for its forests, farmlands and attractive vineyards. This is one of the premier wine producing districts in Australia, so you should definitely spend some time exploring the cellar doors of this region. Many vineyards have a restaurant on site, so complement your wine tasting with a fine meal, and take home a couple of bottles of the regions finest to remember your time here. The fertile soils also mean there is an abundance of fresh produce, so you can buy anything from cheeses to olive oil, beer, jams and chocolates. Perfect for stocking up your picnic baskets.

Visiting during the spring is an ideal idea because you will be greeted with colourful fields of wildflowers that have come to characterise the south west of Australia. People are drawn to Busselton to see the bright pinks and red of the boronia flowers and the multi coloured kangaroo paws that drape the landscape. The Ludlow Tuart Forest, just seven kilometres from Busselton, is a popular place to view the flowers, and is also home to the only stand of tuart forest growing naturally in the world. The trees here are estimated to be over 300 years old, and there are many designated walking trails that take you through the peaceful forest and allow you to explore the depths of nature here.

Being such an old and established town, Busselton is steeped in heritage and this is particularly evident through the historic buildings and structures that line the town's streets. The Cape Naturaliste lighthouse was built in 1904 and rests on a headland overlooking Geographe Bay, and is an easily recognisable feature of the region. Offering idyllic photo opportunities, you may never want to leave. In the town itself you will also find St. Mary's Church, the oldest stone church in Western Australia, and nearby lies the states first butter factory.

With such a vast diversity of attractions on offer, Busselton promises to make any kind of holiday here fun and exciting. The variety of accommodation options in the town is complemented by the excellent restaurants and cafes. Outdoor activities such as cycling, canoeing and fishing are extremely popular here as well, so whatever kind of holiday you are looking for, Busselton will have it covered!

Christine Barton

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