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Geographe Bay

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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 Dunsborough, 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 wasn’t 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.

Information Centre

Busselton Visitor Centre

Dunsborough Tourist Bureau

Western Australia Visitor Centre - Perth

Bunbury Visitor Centre

Geographe Bay Attraction

Busselton Jetty
• Beachfront, Queen St, BUSSELTON WA 6280
• Ph: +61 8 9754 3689 • Fax: +61 8 9754 3670 • Email
• 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 Jetty’s 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 MarineCam.
  • 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 million dollars.

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.

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 tourist centre.
Port Geographe Marina
• 21 Spinnaker Boulevard, BUSSELTON WA 6280 • Ph: +61 8 9754 8300 • Email
• A world class marina providing boating enthusiasts with a secure and safe berthing facility. Also offer a variety of services from boat berthing to chartered tours.
Whale Watching Trips
• September to late November
• Charter vessels operate from a number of locations including Geographe Bay, to cater for the growing interest and increasing number of whales.
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Geographe Bay Events • Western Australia Events
Geographe Bay Race Week
• Geographe Bay Yacht Club
• Ph: 08 9754 6151 • Email • 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 Australia’s biggest annual regatta event.
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Geographe Bay Tours

WA Tours • Outback • Eco • Adventure • National Tours
Cape Dive
• Shop 3, 222 Naturaliste Terrace, DUNSBOROUGH WA 6281
• Ph: 08 9756 8778 • Mobile: 0418 923 802 • Email
• Longest established dive store in Dunsborough, offering a number of dives or range of PADI diving courses.
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Geographe Bay Distance

Distance to Geographe Bay
• Following are some approximate distances by road to Geographe Bay:
• Albany 355
• Augusta 109
• Busselton 4
• Denmark 326
• Margaret River 52
• Pemberton 141
• Perth 225
• Walpole 261
Distances given are only approximation, they should be verified with the appropriate maps.
The Australian Automotive Motoring Associations also offer select access to travel trip planners.

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• Geographe Bay Maps
Bing Maps - Geographe Bay, Western Australia
Google Maps - Geographe Bay WA
More information on Maps of Western Australia.
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