So our long-awaited plan to do the “big lap” of Australia got condensed into a smaller lap within South Australia. But amid the anxiety and uncertainty about the future, we are so grateful to have been able to explore this amazing state for the last five months.
We’ve covered a LOT of ground, from ocean to outback. The final stretch of coastline left for us to explore in SA, is something we have been saving until now…… the Great Australian Bight Marine Park.
We waited until late-winter, excited to witness the shallow turquoise waters of the Bight become a nursery ground for giants. This is where the endangered Southern Right whales come to give birth, nurse their calves, and mate.
At Fowlers Bay, we launched our boat and spent two days scanning the waters for a blow, or a dark shape. We found sealions, dolphins, even penguins, but not a single whale.
Continuing our search, we drove into the Nullarbor, to the Head of the Bight whale-watching centre. What we saw there was unbelievable. Not one, two, or a few whales…. But EIGHTY whales spread over the large bay! The closest ones were nursing their babies right at the foot of the cliff. They were so close, we could hear the deep, hollow sound of them inhaling, each time they surfaced for air.
The treeless plains of the Nullarbor that stretch along the magical Bight are also full of life. We found Shingleback lizards sun-baking on the side of the road, curious dingoes eyeing us up to see if we had any treats, and we spotted camels roaming the plains. At sundown, southern hairy-nosed wombats emerged from their dens, timidly glancing around to check for danger.
We always knew the Bight was going to be an amazing place, but after ten days of exploring here, we are blown away by it’s beauty. We understand, even more now, the importance of protecting it.
Photos by Rosie Leaney & Scott Portelli using Olympus OMD cameras.