Southern Right Whales (Eubalaena australis), visit the Head of the Bight between June and October every year to give birth, mate and socialise. It is one of the best places in the world to see these great marine mammals. Dozens of whales against the backdrop of the spectacular Bunda Cliffs are a breathtaking sight.
The Head of the Bight Visitor Centre, Australia’s premier location for land based viewing, is 250kms west of Ceduna. Visitors can see and hear the whales and their calves from the walkway and platforms (wheelchair accessible), without disturbing their natural behaviour. Sealions, dolphins, sharks and humpback whales may also be seen.
The platform overlooks the sanctuary zone of the Great Australian Bight Marine Park. The zone includes the largest nursery and breeding area for Southern Right Whales in Australian waters and several small Sealion breeding colonies at the base of the Bunda cliffs. The Park is permanently closed to all commercial fishing and boating.
The Head of the Bight Interpretive Centre tells of the whales’ journey from the Antarctic each year. But also, the harsh Nullarbor landscape belies the deeply woven story of its creation and thousands of years of occupation by indigenous Australians.
The Centre’s rustic design with natural curves and local hues was designed to complement the sand dunes, plants and ocean. The eco-friendly building accommodates the harsh conditions where water is scarce. It utilises solar power and wind turbines for most of its energy supply.
The protection of the whales and their habitat at Head of Bight is important for the conservation of the species that was nearly hunted to extinction last century.
Before 1800s estimated 60,000-100,000 whales worldwide
1800-1900 Whales hunted to near extinction to less that 1000
1935 International Protection for Souther Right Whales
1991 Research begins at Head of Bight and other places
2004 Est 7,000 whales worldwide. ( increases 7% each year).
Researchers record the arrival of the Southern Right Whale and monitor their numbers and behaviour.
These magnificent creatures weigh up to 60 tonnes and grow up to 22 metres in length. Each year 25-45 whales are born here . Newborn calves weigh over 1 tonne and measure up to 5 metres in length.