The culmination of 10 years of planning and fundraising resulted in the opening of the Busselton Jetty Underwater Observatory on 13 December 2003.
Located 1.7 kilometres from shore at the end of the Jetty, the Underwater Observatory has been designed to accommodate up to 48 people at one time. Descending 8 metres beneath the waters’ surface, visitors can view the amazing corals and fish life through eleven viewing windows, at various levels within a 9.5 metre diameter observation chamber.
Described as Australia’s greatest artificial reef, the Busselton Jetty, with more than 300 individual marine species, is host to an awe inspiring “forest” of vividly-coloured tropical and sub-tropical corals, sponges, fish and invertebrates. Each year during autumn and winter, the Leeuwin Current brings a narrow band of warm water down the Western Australian coastline.
This warm southerly current is responsible for introducing an incredibly diverse array of tropical and sub-tropical species into Geographe Bay, resulting in coral growth at a latitude of 33 degrees south. This is a remarkable phenomenon when compared to the western coastlines of other southern hemisphere continents such as Africa and South America which have no coral growth below 5 degrees south.