Ironman Western Australia is a staple on the Asia Pacific triathlon circuit. For many, it’s the last chance to gather those elusive late-year points or to salvage a year that has been interrupted by performance, injury or mis-adventure.
When Ironman Western Australia began back in 2004, it was parked in a paddock and Carbo Nights were a pretty simple affair. A few seasons ago the course was altered and race benefitted from the move into town, making the most of the spectacular Geographe Bay.
Busselton lies some three hours south of Perth on the West Coast of Australia. For many, the journey there is part of the adventure. Flights from the eastern coast of Australia depart regularly with the major carriers. Once in Perth, there are a few options for the 3 hour hop into Busselton.
- Take a bus.It’s a 4 hour trip.
- Combination train/bus option.
- For complete comfort, a Private driver could be the way to go. The cost of all this depends on luggage and times.
- Hire car for us is the way to go. For a relatively minimal outlay you get a vehicle for the duration of your stay and the means to take in the best the region has to offer. Busselton accommodation (see below) is dotted around the town and surrounds, so depending on your accommodation choice, you may well need one.
Like all races these days, get in early to book your accommodation. There are loads of great options in Busselton, but many are away from race HQ. There are some places close to town but for the most part the accommodation is located a few kilometres out of town, so you either need wheels or be prepared to plan a little. Good places to try are Abbey Beach Resort, Aqua Resort, The Sebel Busselton and Amalfi Resort, though for an extended stay, these could get a little pricey. The Comfort Inn, Broadwater BnB and Busselton Guest House are great options for those on a budget. The team at Flight Centre Active Travel (hyperlink) can get you sorted with the best advice on what’s available.
Being a short 35 minute drive away from Margaret River, Busselton is right in the pathway of some of the best wineries in the world – maybe a fitting way to cap off your race. In Busselton itself, The Goose Bar and Kitchen is a perfect spot to soak up the stunning bay and check out the swim start over breakfast or lunch (and now dinners as well). Laundry 43 offers a fresh, shared-style dining option. The Equinox too is great for dinners. For good pub food try the Ship Inn. Al Forno is a good family option, offering authentic pizza.
The main thing to know about the swim in Busselton there is a big jetty and you swim round it. The Busselton Jetty is the longest wooden jetty in the Southern Hemisphere and heads almost 2km offshore. This iconic landmark sets the scene for the race, age groupers congregating in the shadow of the jetty on race morning is truly unique sight.
The bike winds its way out of town and is a two lap jaunt. The ride makes use of the brilliant surrounding countryside and has a lot of shade on the opening few kilometres. Once it gets out by the Tuart Forest National Park and onto Geographe Bay the course opens up. It is flat but that has it’s own challenges too. Flat courses aren’t necessarily the easiest ones.
The run course is a four looped one and might possibly be the flattest run course in Ironman. The speed humps in the car park are the only real climb in this one. Once again the elements of this course might be flat but the wind, heat and time out there exposed to all of this takes it toll. Strike the perfect day and you go very quick. But this course, armed with the right weather can easily make the day a nightmare.
The best bike shop in Busselton is the Fat Duck . They do a mean espresso and are a good bet to help fix any major mechanical issues or give your gear an update.