Australia So Much to See
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Heading through South Australia towards New South Wales, and an opportunity see Southern Right Whales and their calves at Head of
Southern Right Whales at Head of Bight take up 'residence' for a five month period between June and October and generally remain within
a fifteen kilometre section of coast. Calves are born and reared here in the relative safety of the bay. At the height
of the season, in excess of one hundred whales can be in the bay.
Ideally binoculars or a good camera with a high zoom
function will enhance viewing.
There are walkways and viewing platforms, sloped to be wheelchair accessible. A series of steps go down to the beach, but from the top good views west can be enjoyed; both along the Bunda Cliffs to the west and
to the east of the Head of Bight, the cliffs give way to sand dunes.
The dunes, which have developed over thousands of years,
are moving inland at a rate of eleven metres per year.
Entry fees apply and are payable at the Head of Bight Whale Centre
on site. Current prices peak season fees are $15 per person, and concessions apply. Please see Head of Bight for full fee
schedule and for Head of Bight Whale Centre opening times in peak and off peak seasons.
Pregnant whales remain near the shore for a while after calving. Calves stay close to their mother's side. Both mothers
and calves frequently touch each other. As the calves grow they move away from their mothers and play with other calves.
Found only in the Southern Hemisphere, Southern Right Whales were hunted until the population was reduced to only few hundred
individuals. Protected internationally since 1935, the species now remains endangered despite numbers increasing at 7-8% per
year, numbers remain at a fraction of what there were pre-whaling.
Head of Bight is a significant breeding area, with
10% of the global population using the area.
Aboriginal stories tell how Wanampi, a giant snake, lived under the caves
and blowholes in the east, and how the Kokata people drove him out of the northern mountains and down the coast. The vents and
blowholes made his breathing sound like roaring.
From signage on site
Head of Bight in whale watching season above.
Below left; whales in the bay and dunes to the east of the Head
in the distance. Below right; Steps to the beach and viewing the Bunda Cliffs to the west of the Head
Above left the Treeless Plain section of the Eyre Highway crossing the Nullarbor (the name means no trees).
Yalata Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) covers 456,300 hectares of coastal dunes, limestone cliffs, sand plains and shrublands.
It was declared in October 1999.
Surrounded by national parks and reserves, and the Great Australian Bight Marine Park, Yalata
forms part of a wider region identified for conservation purposes. Yalata protects large areas of native vegetation that remain uncleared,
and it is part of one of the largest patches of mallee in the country.
See more on our pervious trips across the Nullarbor
Since our last visit, no further viewing areas have been closed, but they have been made safer, with defined walkways and viewing
A crumbling coastline along the Bunda Cliffs at left, with sea spray as the often rough waves of the Great Australian
Bight meet the cliff faces.
Viewing area with a defined pathway now ensure visitor safety. Note my comments from observations on
our previous visits to the Bunda Cliffs.
Wheat is grown from Nundroo eastwards, with the Eyre Peninsula being a major wheat growing area in South Australia. See
more about Wheat growing on the Eyre.
Above right shows wheat receival silos at Penong, a small town 73 kilometres west
of Ceduna. Penong is known for having many windmills, and a collection of these can be seen on the eastern edge of the town.
Photo above left shows older windmills, now superseded by a solar powered pump. Some small windmills were portable, and a windmill
on wheels can be seen in the photo above right.
Looking westward on the Eyre Highway west of Ceduna.
Iron Knob was once a busy mining town, but now little more of the mount remains but the striated colours of the residue left when
viable iron ore ran out and mining ceased in 1999. A new lease of life for the town when mining re-commenced in 2014 was short
lived, closing again within two years. There did appear to be some activity again this time (2017).
Crossing "The Gutter", the point of the Spencer Gulf, at Port Augusta.
Well serviced with shops and businesses, it well situated
to fill up with fuel and re-stock the larder, whether you have just come across the Nullarbor, or are about to commence that journey.
Having completed the Eyre Highway on reaching Port Augusta, we now cross the Flinders Ranges at Horrocks Pass. Follow our continuing
journey eastwards through South Australia on the following pages