The Gulf of Australia is a huge bay that lies along the south coast of the Australian mainland. You could call the bay a bay and it is so large that you can easily distinguish it on satellite images taken from space. The bay extends from east to west in line with the equator and is the longest ice-free coastline that runs in this direction in the southern hemisphere. Europeans did not discover this bay until the 17th century, but it has of course been known to the locals, the Aborigines, well much longer. Anyone who has traveled to Australia and taken a sightseeing trip across the Nullabor Plains, or traveled along the west coast of Tasmania, has seen a piece of the Greater Australia Bay. The cliffs along the coast are very popular tourist destinations as they offer fantastic views.
In English, the Gulf of Great Australia is called the Great Australian Bight and the continental shelf on which the bay is located is very shallow and wide. At the end of the shelf, it immediately becomes very deep, and the depth here goes from an average of about 200 meters to a depth of four kilometers. Thanks to the ocean currents that flow through the bay, important flora and fauna are added, which attracts many animal species that live in the water.
Geography and history
Australia’s coastline on the Gulf of Great Australia is full of cliffs, beaches suitable for wave surfing and large stone platforms where you can look out over the bay and possibly see whales. In fact, one can say that this huge bay is a kind of marine desert. This does not mean that there are not many animal species, but it looks a little different than elsewhere in the Pacific Ocean as there is not much rainfall over the bay and no sediment is added from rivers. This bay was first discovered by the Dutchman François Thijssen who sailed here in the early 17th century, but it would not be until the early 19th century when the English explorer Matthew Flinders went to the area before getting a proper mapping of it.
Stora Australbukten National Park
918 km west of the city of Adelaide, a protected nature area has been established called the Great Australian Bight Marine National Park. The park was established in 1996 to protect southern whales, which is a species of whale that belongs to the right whale family and that looks much like northern whales that belong to the same whale family. The area is also there to protect and preserve the sea lions that live in the bay. Between June and October, you have a good chance of seeing the whales that are then in the area to calve and raise the new chicks. The park is located in the middle of the Great Australian Gulf and here there are rocky areas that make it easier to see the whales out in the water. There are also sharks in these waters which sometimes makes it dangerous to surf along the beaches that are well suited for surfing.
The lake is mostly quite hard in this area, which is due to strong winds blowing over the Greater Austral Bay. During the summer, hot and dry winds blow in from central Australia over the Bundaklipporna, which is located in the northern part of the bay. These winds cause more water from the sea surface to evaporate and this leads to more salt in the surface water. The wind forces cold water up from the bottom and up to the surface near the Eyre peninsula. This leads to important nutrients reaching the surface at the coastline so that marine plants can grow and take part in the local food chain.