Geographe Bay - Cities, Towns and Localities
Geographe Bay, with its sheltered waters, over 30 km of white sandy beaches
and local attractions is a popular destination. The bay is fed by the Capel
River, Carbunup River, Vasse River, Yallingup Brook, Abba River, Ludlow River
and Sabina River. Visitors to the area can stay at
Busselton, Bunbury, Vasse and
Yallingup, although there are a number of other
township in this part of the South West region.
The bay is ideal for swimming,
snorkelling, fishing, crabbing and sailing. From some of the beaches along the
bay, the water is quiet shallow and at low tide you can walk out nearly a
kilometre in about a foot of water. Fish and blue crabs can be seen, with many
rocky outcrops providing additional interests.
Although the area was know to the
Europeans as early as the 17th century, it wasnt until 30th May, 1801, when the French expedition of Nicholas Baudin and his
ships the Geographe and Naturaliste sailed up the coast around Cape Naturaliste
and anchored in Geographe Bay. Baudin was to name the bay after his ship, with the Vasse River named after a
sailor who was lost and believed drowned, in the area.
Thomas Timothee Vasse
(commonly known as Timothee Vasse) was an assistant helmsman aboard the
Naturaliste, part of the French botanical expedition collecting specimens and
mapping the coastline. The ships logbook records that whilst the Geographe was
anchored in the bay, the weather had turned and a storm was making landing and
leaving the shore quiet difficult. A group of scientist had become stranded, and
Vasse was aboard the small boat sent out to rescue them. This boat was swamped
in the pounding surf. Another boat had be sent out. Vasse, known to be a strong
swimmer, was swept away when he tried to board the second rescue boat. As it was
early evening, dark and stormy, he was left for dead and both the Naturaliste
and Geographe sailed away without him.
That would be the end of the tale,
except when the area
was finally settled by Europeans, a story was told by the local Wardandi Aboriginal
tribe of a white man who had live there with the local Aborigines until his
death. It was said that the man spent most of his life wandering the shores of
Geographe Bay waiting for a ship to return.
In addition to our listed online travel guide information, contact the local
tourism visitor centre for your destination for more attractions, tours, local
maps and other information.
Beachfront, Queen St, BUSSELTON WA 6280
Ph: +61 8 9754 3689 Fax: +61 8
Built over a 95 year period starting in 1865, this is billed
as the longest wooden jetty in the Southern Hemisphere. Timber and
whaling were the main sources of income for the region in the earlier
days and jetties for this purpose were built at Wonnerup, Busselton and
Quindalup. Of these, only the Busselton Jetty remains.
The jetty stretches two kilometres into Geographe Bay and is a mecca
for snorkellers and scuba divers who come to view the huge variety of
marine species, as well as the stunning array of coloured soft corals.
You can take a casual walk down the jetty, smell the tangy salt air and
delight in the tales of the local fisherpersons. You can also ride the train
nearly 2 kilometres out to sea.
- Interpretive Centre
Opened in April 2001,
built 50 metres offshore, the centre allows visitors to glimpse the Jettys
rich past and equally exciting future. In the Interpretive Centre Museum
there are changing exhibits of history, the marine environment and art. You
can also purchase some unique souvenirs, including timber products crafted
from recycled native jarrah decking and piles from the Jetty. You can also
view the underwater marine life from here on the
- Jetty Train
Since 1995, the Jetty Train has carried more than
200,000 passengers. With a capacity of 40 passengers and weather permitting,
it is an ideal way to travel out along the Jetty.
- Underwater Observatory
Opened in spring 2003
the Underwater Observatory is the culmination of 10 years of planning and
fundraising. Located 1.8 kilometres from shore at the end of the Jetty and
has been designed to accommodate up to 40 people at one time. At 8 metres
below the surface of the water, you will be amazed at the corals and fish
life viewed through eleven viewing windows, all at various levels within a
9.5 metre diameter observation chamber. There is also a lift enabling
wheelchair bound people access to the unique natural wonders.
HMAS Swan Wreck
The HMAS Swan was a River Class Frigate Destroyer Escort
built in 1967. Serving the Australian Navy for some twenty-six years, she
travelled and visited international ports mainly in South East Asia. She served
in the Vietnam War, escorting the troop ship HMAS Sydney, although she was never
put on the gun line. September 1981, saw a visit to China.
At 120 metres long, the
Swan was the most expensive warship ever built in Australia, costing some 22
On the 13th September, 1996, the HMAS Swan was decommissioned. The
Commonwealth Government gifted her to the Western Australian State Government,
who then received submissions before gifting the vessel to Busselton Shire. The
Geographe Bay Artificial Reef Society received the rights to relocate and deploy
The Swan left the Naval Base on Garden Island on the 27th November, 1996 and
headed for Bunbury. It was here, over the next twenty months, she was worked on
by the Geographe Bay Artificial Reef Society and many volunteers, in preparation
to becoming an artificial reef, dive wreck and tourist attraction.
On the 14th December, 1997, off Meelup Beach, the HMAS Swan was laid to rest in 30 metres of water, in Geographe Bay.
Today, visitors can see the dynamics of how a wreck can become a artificial
reef, home and breeding ground for coral, fish and other marine life. Due to the
protected nature of Geographe Bay, the site can be visited by divers almost 10
months of the year.
Private boats require a permit, available from the local
21 Spinnaker Boulevard, BUSSELTON WA 6280 Ph: +61 8 9754 8300
A world class marina providing boating enthusiasts with a secure and safe
berthing facility. Also offer a variety of services from boat berthing to
Whale Watching Trips
September to late November
operate from a number of locations including Geographe Bay, to cater for the
growing interest and increasing number of whales.
Geographe Bay Events
Western Australia Events
Geographe Bay Yacht Club
Ph: 08 9754 6151
February to March
The waters of Geographe Bay come alive during this seven day event, where
yachts from several different classes compete against each other. With boats
housed at Port Geographe Marina, the race week has grown to become Western
Australias biggest annual regatta event.
Geographe Bay Tours
WA Tours Outback
Shop 3, 222 Naturaliste Terrace, DUNSBOROUGH WA 6281
Ph: 08 9756 8778
Mobile: 0418 923 802
Longest established dive store in Dunsborough,
offering a number of dives or range of PADI diving courses.