Awesome things to do, see and eat
Beautiful Busselton. Once a sleepy town, it’s now a thriving hub of holiday fun, and the ‘Events Capital of WA’ has over 170 event days per year. There’s plenty to keep the fussiest families entertained, with adventures to be had along the pristine beach, jetty or in the forest.
The majority of Busselton’s family-friendly resorts and holiday parks are dotted along Geographe Bay just west of the town centre, within skipping distance of beaches which are perfect for kids. You’ll also be within a short drive of the region’s many wineries, caves, forests, breweries and much more.
Here’s a few suggestions of free and paid activities, family-friendly dining hot spots and great places to stay. So, buckle up the kids, bring your bikes and bathers and get ready for a fun-filled family holiday in Busselton.
3 free (and fantastic) things to do
Bike riding along the foreshore
Busselton is as flat as a pancake – perfect for pootling along on the bike path which runs parallel to the beach. The path extends all the way to Dunsborough (about 28km away) which might be too much for the youngsters, but perfect for keen teens.
Bike hire is available at some Busselton resorts and holiday parks, Gecko Bike Hire at the Busselton Visitor Centre and The Bike Shed Dunsborough.
BBQ near the jetty
How’s the serenity? We made use of the new barbecues on the foreshore just west of the Busselton Jetty last summer, and I recall looking up from the sizzling sausages and thinking how lucky I was, watching the sunset over Geographe Bay. Young kids will love the new playground adjacent to the barbecue area, older kids can rip it up at the skatepark which is a few minutes’ walk away.
Stock up for your barbecue at one of the local supermarkets, or at the (amazing) Margaret River Farmers Market on a Saturday morning.
Swim at the beach
Busselton’s long stretch of beach is protected from Indian Ocean swells by Cape Naturaliste, which means the water is calm and slightly warmer than the ocean-side. It’s the perfect place for toddlers to splash about, and older kids (those who are confident swimmers) spend summer jumping off the Busselton Jetty.
Bring your bathers and a towel, and if you’re keen to give Stand Up Paddling a try, you can hire boards, catamarans, kayaks and more from South West Water Sports.
3 must-do family activities
Fly fearlessly at Forest Adventures South West
Okay, so this one’s for kids aged 7+ and their brave parents. Harness up, grab a helmet and start climbing in the world’s last remaining tuart forest. Forest Adventures South West has the only zip line course in the south west, and with six levels from easy to ’13 metre base jump?!’ it blew our expectations out of the water. It’s a great bonding activity; encouraging each other when you’re feeling a bit nervous, and wonderfully relaxing too – it feels like you’re the only person in the forest as you fly along the 150 metre zipline.
Slip and Slide at Xscape at the Cape
It’s tricky to drive past Xscape without the kids demanding a visit; the waterslides, trampolines and climbing tower are on display as you drive from Busselton to Dunsborough. A thrilling way to cool down in summer, you can join in the frivolities, or keep an eye on the kids from the shady seats outside the café – spectators are free. There’s also a lazer tag game, mini golf and a maze.
Xscape at the Cape, Corner of Caves Rd & Quindalup Siding Rd, Dunsborough. Bookings not required.
Stroll or ride the Busselton Jetty train
I’m a big fan of walking the world’s longest jetty at sunset – the sky changes colour and the jetty fills with local fishermen as you walk the 1.8km to the jetty end. That was before kids – now there’s no way my youngsters would walk that far (they would insist on being carried) so we take the new electric train!
The solar-powered train runs 10am to 4pm, and includes audio about the jetty’s 152 year history. There’s an underwater observatory at the end of the jetty (an optional extra) where you can observe coral, star fish, fish and even the occasional the New Zealand fur seal or mermaid.
3L Queen St, Busselton, Bookings: www.busseltonjetty.com.au
3 places to dine the whole family will love
Quintessential beachside dining, The Goose has quality food with a sweeping view of Busselton Jetty and Geographe Bay. You might spot a dolphin while tucking into pancakes for breakfast or stop for a craft beer or wine mid-afternoon. There’s a great al fresco deck where dogs and sandy feet are welcome. The food is delicious and there’s a great wine list.
Geographe Bay Rd, Busselton – open daily, check website for seasonal hours
Next to The Goose you’ll find The Equinox, with nearly-as-splendid views. It’s closer to the playground, and has a takeaway section which makes it our first choice for coffees and ice creams by the sea. There’s also takeaway fish and chips, and burgers. Indoors there’s fantastic views and a delicious menu with burgers, lamb shanks, pizzas and a kids menu.
1 Foreshore Parade, Busselton – Open 8am-8pm daily
Meaning ‘oven baked’, Al Forno makes some scrumptious Italian food. Dine on delicious thin-crust pizza, rich traditional pasta and classics like risotto and coq-au-vin. They also make large casseroles to take away. Kids are well catered for, and highchairs are available. They don’t sell alcohol, so bring your own. Al Forno on Bussell Highway is such a success they opened a second café on Queen Street.
19 Bussell Hwy, Busselton – Open Tuesday to Sunday for dinner
55 Queen Street, Busselton – Open daily for breakfast and lunch
3 beautiful places to stay
BIG4 Beachlands Holiday Park
The kids haven’t stopped talking about our weekend at Beachlands. They spent all day at the pool – it was the perfect temperature, and there were plenty of kids to play with – and collapsed into bed after a soak in the spa. There’s a playground, jumping pillow (free) plus bikes for hire. There’s 9 types of self-contained accommodation of varying size and luxury, plus camping and caravan sites. Dogs are welcome in selected accommodation.
https://www.beachlands.com.au 10 Earnshaw Rd, Busselton 08 9752 2107.
Abbey Beach Resort
Staying at Abbey Beach, you’d barely need to leave the resort – everything you need is right here. There’s three pools to choose from (we like the huge, indoor heated pool and spa) a café, restaurant and bar. All right in front of Busselton Beach and the bike path that runs from Busselton to Dunsborough. It’s an easy walk to local shops and cafes, such as Hodge Podge Café and The Shed Markets, where you’ll find the famous Burger Bones.
https://www.abbeybeach.com.au/ 595 Bussell Hwy, Busselton (08) 9755 4600
This is the life! Luxurious apartments, some with private plunge pools and beach views, nestled amongst the peppermint trees just minutes from Busselton. This is a great option if your budget allows for a little luxury, and there’s a selection of 1 bedroom apartments right up to 2, 3 and 5 bedroom houses – perfect if you’re holidaying with another family. There’s a heated pool, tennis court, bikes and paddleboards for hire, pilates during school holidays - and the rare chance to see endangered Western ringtail possums that live in the peppermints.
About Lizzy Pepper
After living in Melbourne and London, Lizzy meant to have a summer in Yallingup before getting a “serious” job in Perth. Ten years on, and she loves Dunsborough too much to return to city life. Lizzy’s taken helicopter rides along the coast, distilled her own batch of gin, abseiled the Wilyabrup Cliffs and crawled through crystal caves to help bring you the best of the south west.
Instagram: @lizzy.pepper.marketing / Web: lizzypepper.com