Head of Bight hopeful for a bigger whale watching season

WATCHING: Whale watchers at the Head of Bight. Visitors can see up to 100 Southern Right whales from the platform on a good day. Photo: Head of Bight Visitor Centre
WATCHING: Whale watchers at the Head of Bight. Visitors can see up to 100 Southern Right whales from the platform on a good day. Photo: Head of Bight Visitor Centre

With whale watching season now underway, the popular viewing spot of Head of Bight is ready to welcome hundreds of people to its centre through to October.

Whales have been spotted making their way up the West Coast in recent weeks, and places such as Fowlers Bay and further along Eyre Highway at Head of Bight will attract eagle-eyed whale watchers over the coming months.

Eugene Rondon and partner Jess Sheather manage the Head of Bight Visitors Centre and say visitors can see up to 100 Southern Right whales at the major calving spot on a good day.

"It's a natural nursery to them, and has been for a very long time," Mr Rondon said.

"Every year, pregnant whales come in and give birth to their calves just outside of the Bight area, and bring their calves into the Bight to raise for about a month.

"Each season, approximately 60 calves are born at our Head of Bight location."

Whale watching season can attract up to 300 visitors per day, but Mr Rondon is hoping this season will have an even greater impact upon tourism as Australians will not be travelling overseas during the winter months.

"We hope that because people cannot go elsewhere due to restrictions, we will have an even bigger season this year," he said.

"It makes sense that that is what will happen, as long as the borders to Western Australia remain open because that has had a big impact too."

Unlike many tourist destinations where money is injected back into a region or town, Head of Bight's remote location means the financial aspect of tourism to the centre is run differently.

Mr Rondon said it was a "unique" situation.

"My partner and I are actually contracted to the Aboriginal Lands Trust to look after the property and the business," he said.

"The money generated from tourists who come past gets injected back into the Aboriginal Lands Trust, which goes out to support projects within various communities.

"A whole township isn't lifted like it would be at other tourist destinations, the money goes into Aboriginal Land Trust programs instead."

The Aboriginal Lands Trust was established in 1966 as an Australian first to hold Indigenous land reserves on behalf of South Australian Aboriginal people.

The Trust holds, manages and administers land in South Australia, including the site on which the Head of Bight Visitors Centre is run.

For more information about whale watching at Head of Bight, head to www.headofbight.com.au.