Busselton Underwater Observatory
Back to nature
You are all going down to the bottom of the sea – safe and dry inside a tunnel. You start to descend the ramps and stairs that lead downwards. There are thick acrylic windows all around you. You can see the underside of the jetty, and the barnacles clustered on the wooden piles. A few steps further and you are below the surface of the water. You glimpse a school of silver trevally flashing past, beautiful white corals, orange sponges, a starfish… The kids’ noses are pressed to the windows, and there’s a loud squeal when the dark shape of a shark glides past.
■ The starfish, nudibranchs, sea cucumbers and small fish hidden amongst the coral and sponges.
The jetty piles act as a wonderful artificial reef, and the warm currents of water flowing down this coast encourage an incredible diversity of tropical and sub-tropical marine species to thrive here. These include vividly coloured corals (which do not usually occur so far south), cuttlefish, octopus, stingrays, Port Jackson sharks and wobbegong sharks. Away from this artificial reef, the sea floor is covered with seagrass meadows that can be viewed through a special window.
■ There is an interpretive centre at the beginning of the jetty where you pick up or purchase tickets. Watch images from the underwater camera here for a live preview of what is happening down below.