Sometimes overlooked, perhaps due to the Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia's World Heritage site, the Busselton Jetty, is no less interesting. It' said to be Australia’s largest artificial reef and if you have spent any time in WA you must have heard of it. Situated in Geographe Bay, extending 1.8 kilometers over the water, the heritage listed Busselton Jetty is the longest wooden pylon jetty in the Southern Hemisphere and supports over 300 marine species.
Construction of the jetty commenced in 1864, resulting in a boom for the local timber industry. Over the years it was continually extended to its current length in 1960. Thirteen years later, the jetty was closed to commercial shipping and in years to follow became a landmark for the Busselton community and Mother Nature added the finishing touches to create Australia’s best artificial reef.
The Busselton Jetty is a unique dive site due partly to its length, but the most stunning features of the jetty underwater is the myriad of marine life supported by the thousands of wooden pylons; standing like tall trees, they provide structure for the numerous species of hard and soft corals that colonize the area. Each pylon has its own vibrant display of color and supports its own miniature eco system. The site can be dived from the shore, however the best diving is in the sanctuary at the end.
Especially decorator Crabs amongst the Telesto corals, Acidians and Bryozoans are a highlight of any dive here. With a max depth of around 8 meters the Busselton Jetty is perfect for all experience levels...even a novice diver can enjoy a long bottom time. With so much to see this site is a photographer’s playground, especially for those into their critter shots.
One of the local operators of the area, the Dive Shed, is a family operated SSI training facility established in the area for 25 years. Located in the centre of Busselton with a second dive centre situated at Port Geographe Marina, just 7 kms north of the town centre, The Dive Shed has you covered. Their 40ft charter vessel Manta Magic runs dive trips from Port Geographe Marina to not only the iconic Busselton Jetty but a stunning wreck dive, the HMAS Swan or 4 Mile Reef, a beautiful example of the local temperate reef systems.
All in all, Busselton is not to be missed. The Dive Shed's owner Pete is one of the most experienced Divers in the area and offers courses from Open Water all the way through to Instructor as well as some great Technical diving courses and equipment to hire, so if you ever are in WA for diving, check The Dive Shed out, especially their night dives are real treat as the Busselton Jetty is, among other things, a fantastic night dive site.
The Underwater Observatory, a unique building allowing visitors to experience the Busselton Jetty from different perspective.
Photos: © DS