When you visit Australia and you’re in the mood for adventure, there are three major things you need to do: dive at the Great Barrier Reef, take a Kakadu tour, and visit the Great Australian Bight. The Bight is the largest indentation on the Australian coast and forms the longest unbroken line of sea cliffs in the world. The entire region is also one of the least populated in the nation, making it a very romantic destination for travellers — especially those who want to avoid the crowds. If you are planning a journey to the Bight, these tips will help you decide when to go, depending on what you’re interested in doing.
The Australian Bight offers some of the best whale-watching vantage points in the world, which is the main reason tourists make the long journey across the Nullarbor. The Head of Bight is the best vantage point to view southern right whales up close, and is located 78 kilometres west of Yalata and 20 kilometres to the east of Nullarbor Roadhouse. Between June and October, hundreds of southern right whales frequent this coastline to breed and give birth to calves, and from the main viewing platform you can see them slap their tails, breach, blow water, and roll right below you. Not only that, but you may also see gatherings of sea lions, great white sharks and southern bluefin tuna.
Successfully sailing across the Great Australian Bight is a good way to earn bragging rights within the sailing community, but it isn’t for the faint of heart. There are many professional sailors who avoid the route altogether simply because of the rough and unpredictable seas. Given the annual weather patterns, it’s generally recommended that you go from late October until mid-April if travelling east to west. If you are crossing from west to east, however, you can either go from late September until late October or from early April until mid-May to get the most favourable conditions.
Besides taking a Great Ocean Road tour, crossing the Nullarbor in your own vehicle is another right of passage for road trip lovers. This long, hot and very flat drive requires gumption and a lot of planning, especially since you will go for very long stretches without access to food, water or petrol. Still, if you prepare for it, this drive could be one of the coolest things you ever do! The best time to go is during the winter months of June, July and August when it’s not overly hot, and when you don’t have to worry about summer rains that have been known to cause sections of the road to close.
In general, the best time for fishing in the Australian Bight is all year long, but there are still certain times when and places where the fishing will be the best. For example, if you visit Yalata between October and May, you will be able to bring in big mulloway, and you can also have a go at catching other species like big snapper, Australian salmon and some species of shark.
The Great Australian Bight is a lesser known yet equally epic part of Australian that every adventurous traveller must experience. Of course, since it’s such a remote and extreme place, you really have to choose your timing wisely.