Head of the Great Australian Bight

If you are travelling across the Nullarbor Plain between May and October then, in my humble opinion, the highlight of any crossing would be a visit to the Head of the Bight.

The Head of the Bight is where the Illcumba Dunes end and the Bunda Cliffs begin, which really marks the point at which the true eastern end of Great Australian Bight begins. Although this is spectacular at any time, between May and October Southern Right Whales return to the area each year after spending summer in Antarctic waters, and the females go there to calf.

The Head of the Bight is 90kms from Yalata and 15 kilometres from the Nullarbor Roadhouse, of which the last 12 kilometres diverts from the Eyre Highway on a good, clearly-marked road.
There is a very good visitor’s centre there, but no accommodation. You can get snacks at the Visitor’s Centre, and souvenirs, but they do not supply large meals there.

There is plenty of parking, good toilets, and an entrance fee which goes towards the upkeep of the facility. In fact, as you enter the Centre there is no clue as to the sight that will confront you a mere few hundred metres away.

Once you go through the Visitor’s Centre a boardwalk leads you down to the Bunda Cliffs, where it splits into different paths, each of which gives you different views of the area, some overlooking the dunes, and others overlooking the cliffs. The paths eventually lead you to the water’s edge (although you are well above the water) where you will see plenty of whales, many of which go quite close to the cliffs, and just float with their calves by their sides.

You can almost reach out and touch the nearest whales, but it is the whooshing noise they make as they expel air which is very impressive. If you do visit the Head of the Bight during whale season, give yourself plenty of time because it is difficult to drag yourself away after observing many whales at such close quarters.

It is quite mesmerising to get so close to such gentle behemoths, as you watch them relax and watch over their calves, that you do lose all track of time.

On a clear day, of which there are many on the Nullarbor Plain, the chalky whiteness of the dunes which frame the vibrant aqua colour of the water, which contrast magnificently with the deep reds and ochres in the strata of the Bunda Cliffs is quite a remarkable sight.

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