Head of Bight
The largest whale nursery in Australia
The Bunda Cliffs in South Australia form part of the longest line of cliffs in the world. Each year, between May and October, this stretch of the Nullarbor Plain coastline becomes a free-range crèche for Southern Right Whales.
Up to 60 whales annually migrate out of the Southern Ocean to these traditional breeding grounds and nursery – by the time they depart in spring, around 40 new calves will be ready for summer in Antarctica.
Head of Bight is one of the best places in the world to see the annual breeding migration of these awesome creatures. Part of the Great Australian Bight Marine Park and situated on the Yalata Aboriginal Lands, Head of Bight is a site of immense cultural and environmental significance. With binoculars and a picnic lunch, visitors can spend hours here. The whales are often so close that the barnacle like ‘callosities’ (the white lumpy patterns of skin on the head) that identify individuals can be clearly seen, and so massive is the combined bulk of the mothers and their calves that waves break over them as they would a reef.
Southern Right Whales are massive mammals that grow up to 18 metres in length and weigh 50 to 90 tonnes, while their tails, which fan into a graceful ‘champagne glass’ shape, can measure five metres across. Despite their numbers here, this species is still endangered. The park covers both state and Commonwealth waters and provides protection for the Southern Right Whale, Australian sea lion and many other species unique to the Great Australian Bight.
Information can be obtained at the Head of Bight Interpretive Centre. Open daily 8am–5pm during whale watching season, daily 8:30pm–4pm outside of whale watching season, closed Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
For fishing permits, contact 0407 832 297 or www.yalata.org. The Head of Bight car park can be up to 300 metres from the boardwalk. Entrance is through the Interpretive Centre to the boardwalk and onto the viewing platform.
This area is wheelchair accessible right from the car park to the viewing platform. Wheelchairs are available from the Interpretive Centre free of charge.