Where to go whale-watching on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula

Where to go whale-watching on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula

Look no fur­ther than the EP for whale-watch­ing this win­ter. Vis­it these spots to see these won­der­ful creatures.

Whale-watch­ing is a pop­u­lar win­ter activ­i­ty for many South Aus­tralians, and we’re lucky to have these marine mam­mals vis­it the entire SA coastline.

This year’s whale-watch­ing sea­son kicked off in June with sight­ings of hump­back whales through­out Encounter Marine Park.

Fur­ther afield, the Eyre Penin­su­la and Far West region is also a fan­tas­tic spot to get a glimpse of these impres­sive creatures.

Read on as Far West Senior Ranger, Rob Sleep, shares a few spots on the Far West Coast and Eyre Penin­su­la to go whale-watch­ing and admire the giants of the ocean. 

Spot 1: Head of Bight

The first rec­om­men­da­tion for EP and Far West whale-watch­ing is the famous Head of Bight, a road-trip wor­thy 12-hour dri­ve from Ade­laide. Its high cliff-line pro­vides fan­tas­tic views for land-based whale-watchers.

Check out the Head of Bight Whale Watch­ing Cen­tre locat­ed with­in the Yala­ta Indige­nous Pro­tect­ed Area, approx­i­mate­ly 20 km south-east of Nullar­bor Roadhouse.

As well as pro­vid­ing infor­ma­tion about the types of whales to look for and inter­est­ing facts such as their behav­iours and the types of food they enjoy, the whale watch­ing cen­tre has lunch facil­i­ties and a toi­let, mak­ing it a great spot to pop into.

It has a wheel­chair acces­si­ble board­walk lead­ing you safe­ly to the shore­line of the ocean to wit­ness the spec­tac­u­lar south­ern right whales and their calves.

When stand­ing on the board­walk, you’re look­ing out over the Far West Coast Marine Park which links to the off­shore Great Aus­tralian Bight Marine Park.

To the east, you’ll see the impres­sive Twin Rocks and the white rolling sand dunes of the Yala­ta Indige­nous Pro­tect­ed Area. And to the west, it’s the rugged and beau­ti­ful 100-plus-metre Bun­da cliffs of the Nullar­bor Wilder­ness Pro­tec­tion Area.

August is the peak sea­son to see whales at this spot, with up to 300 whales spot­ted in the busier years and 160 in the qui­eter ones.

On the rare occa­sion you also might see these majes­tic crea­tures doing their thing off the coast from any of the three clifftop look­outs in the Nullar­bor Wilder­ness Pro­tec­tion Area along the road between the Nullar­bor Road­house and the West­ern Aus­tralian border.

Top tip: Not sure how to tell dif­fer­ent whale species apart? Check out our sto­ry for some point­ers.

Where to go whale-watching on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula

Spot 2: Fowlers Bay Con­ser­va­tion Park

The sec­ond spot to vis­it on your whale-watch­ing jour­ney on the EP and Far West is Fowlers Bay Con­ser­va­tion Park and the Nuyts Arch­i­pel­ago Marine Park.

The sleepy sea­side town­ship of Fowlers Bay lies approx­i­mate­ly 1.5 hours, or 160 km, west of Ceduna, with a very small pop­u­la­tion of 20 peo­ple call­ing it home.

Once a whal­ing hub, the bay now pro­vides a sanc­tu­ary for whales to calf after their long jour­ney up from the Antarctic.

Head to Point Fowler where you can find a ruined look­out and whale bones, which are evi­dence of the area’s whal­ing history.

You might spot south­ern right whales at this spot, oth­er­wise try Scott’s Point and Mex­i­can Hat, with­in Fowlers Bay Con­ser­va­tion Park. Check out the park map so you can find your way to these spots.

Even though Fowlers Bay is a small town, you can still stop in for an overnight stay in the car­a­van park or one of the rental prop­er­ties, or stay with­in Fowlers Bay Con­ser­va­tion Park itself. There’s 3 des­ig­nat­ed bush camp­ing areas in the park where you can enjoy the tran­quil scrub­land and views of the coastal islands as the surf rolls in. Don’t for­get to book online before you go.

Top tips:

  • If you’d like to get a bit more up-close and per­son­al with these beau­ti­ful crea­tures, you can book a cruise with the local tourism operator. 
  • If you’re look­ing for oth­er things to do while you’re in the park, the jet­ty is a great spot for night squid­ding or fish­ing for tom­my ruff and whit­ing dur­ing the day.

Spot 3: Sleaford Bay

The third spot to vis­it is fur­ther south, at Sleaford Bay, a 20 minute dri­ve from the seafood cap­i­tal of Port Lincoln.

Sleaford Bay is locat­ed with­in Thorny Pas­sage Marine Park, with some of the area ful­ly pro­tect­ed with­in the Sleaford Bay Sanc­tu­ary Zone. Part of the area is also adja­cent to the famous Lin­coln Nation­al Park.

South­ern Right whales were hunt­ed in the bay, which had a whal­ing sta­tion in the 1830s and 40s. Now that the pop­u­la­tion is recov­er­ing from the whal­ing era, the area is emerg­ing as an impor­tant site for this species. Hump­back whales, dol­phins and oth­er marine mam­mal species can also be viewed in the area.

You can try view­ing the whales from the look­outs adja­cent the coast along Sleaford Bay Road, or from van­tage points with­in Lin­coln Nation­al Park, book your day trip online. 

There are also rem­nants of the old whal­ing sta­tion at Fish­ery Bay, which is also a pop­u­lar surf break. While you are there, check out the amaz­ing scenery of Whalers Way, with per­mits avail­able at https://​portlin​coln​.com​.au/​w​h​a​t​-​t​o​-​d​o​-​p​o​r​t​-​l​i​n​c​o​l​n​/​w​h​a​l​e​r​s​-way/

If you do sight a whale at any of these places, or any­where else in SA, you can con­tribute to cit­i­zen sci­ence by record­ing your sight­ing here https://​www​.sawhale​cen​tre​.com​.au/​w​h​a​l​e​-​s​i​g​h​t​i​n​g​s​/​w​h​a​l​e​-​s​i​g​h​t​i​n​g​-log/

Where to go whale-watching on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula

Learn about the area’s Tra­di­tion­al Owners

All of South Australia’s nation­al parks are rich in Abo­rig­i­nal his­to­ry. Tra­di­tion­al lands of the Far West Coast Abo­rig­i­nal Peo­ple and Fowlers Bay Con­ser­va­tion Park are part of the War­na Man­da parks.

War­na Man­da’ refers to the coastal parks in the Far West of South Aus­tralia. War­na’, mean­ing sea’, Man­da’ mean­ing ground’ or sand’ in the local Wiran­gu language.

Sleaford Bay and Lin­coln Nation­al Park are the tra­di­tion­al lands of the Naou people.

Tra­di­tion­al cus­to­di­ans wel­come vis­i­tors and ask that you please appre­ci­ate the sen­si­tiv­i­ty of this land and to please respect Country.

For more whale watch­ing spots, read out sto­ry Top spots for whale-watch­ing in South Aus­tralia. If you’re look­ing for more to do on the Eyre Penin­su­la, here’s how to have an epic road trip to four of Eyre Peninsula’s nation­al parks.

Main image: south­ern right whale (image cour­tesy of Robert Sleep)

This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living