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Yalata Indigenous Protected Area

The Community
Yalata Anangu
The Lands
Nullarbor Plain
Bunda Cliffs
Illcumba Dunes
Head of Bight
White Well Tank
Caves
Vegetation
NightSky
Climate
The Whales
Whale Watching
The Southern Right Whale
Nursery Waters
The Great Australian Bight Marine Park
Camping & Fishing
Permits & Bookings
Getting Here
What you need to know
FAQ
Stakeholder Groups
Got a Question?

The Whales

Whale Watching

May - October

Permits can be purchased at White Well Ranger Station on Head of Bight Road. White Well Ranger Station is located 2 kms south of the entrance gates on the left hand side of the Head of Bight Road. Please ensure you stop to purchase your permit and obtain information from Community Rangers. (EFTPOS or credit card facilities are NOT currently available.) Community Rangers can also provide local tourist information or advice on nearby services if required.

Facilities at Head of Bight include toilets, sheltered information gazebo, walkways and a large viewing platform. While binoculars are not required, some visitors enjoy being able to get a close-up view. Currently, there are no dining facilities or services at Head of Bight. You may however, bring a picnic with you. Seating and shaded area are located within the information gazebo.

We recommend items including a hat, sunscreen, drinking water and a jacket. Throughout the whale-watch season, extremes of climate are often experienced. Being prepared will ensure a more pleasant experience.

November – April

Whales visit Head of Bight from May – October every year to mate and give birth. Although whales are not seen during the summer months, you may still enter Head of Bight on the self-registration permit system at White Well Ranger Station.

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The Southern Right Whales

So called by commercial whalers because they were the "right" prey. They moved slowly, close into shore, floated to the surface once killed and contained high yields of oil and very long baleen.

Between 1827 and 1930 Southern Right Whale products were manufactured overseas, mostly for the luxury market and included:

  • Corsets, whips and umbrellas from the strong baleen
  • Oil to make candles and cosmetics

There were 18 whaling stations in South Australia alone, Fowlers Bay occupied the closes station to the Head of Bight. Sites of past whaling stations are still visited by migrating whales today.

http://www.webmedia.com.au/whales/index1.html

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Nursery Waters

Around one third of the total Southern Right Whales now seen in Australian coastal waters have been born in the sandy bays of the Great Australian Bight.

Whales gradually enter the nursery waters of the Bight in early June, where those that are pregnant give birth. Daily life for the mother and new born calf revolves around periods of nursing, rest, play and travel.

Mothers and calves tend to spend more time at the Head of Bight than lone whales which tend to leave and return over the season.

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Great Australian Bight Marine Park

The establishment of the park occurred between 1995-96 by combining the Great Australian Bight Marine Park Whale Sanctuary and the Great Australian Bight Marine National Park.

Southern Right Whale numbers are increasing though they are still far below 26,000 – the number of Southern Right Whales killed through whaling in Australian and New Zealand waters from 1820 – 1850 alone.

Late in summer the whales begin to leave their feeding grounds in the sub-Antarctic and migrate north to warmer waters. The journey is long and the whales will cover thousands of kilometres in a single trip. Each year between May and November the Head of the Bight is transformed into a marine nursery as the waters come alive with the activity of the visiting whales and their calves.

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Whale watching - Head of Bight
Whale watching - Head of Bight


Rangers view Great Australian Bight coastline
Rangers view Great Australian Bight coastline


Whale tail
Whale tail

 


Mother and calf with another whale
Mother and calf with another whale

 


Crystal clear water
Crystal clear water

 

 

Copyright Yalata Land Management 2003