Whale Watching at the most Easterly Point of Mainland Australia.
July 31, 2013 16 Comments
During the last weekend of the school holidays, our part of the world experienced glorious weather.
We went in search of adventure!
We packed our drink bottles, snacks and binoculars. We jumped into the car, and headed to Byron Bay.
We parked at Wategos Beach.
I put Little Baker on my back, and we set off into the Cape Byron State Conservation Area. This section is known to ‘locals’ as the Lighthouse Walk. It is also known as a great vantage point for whale watching!
The Arakwal people are the traditional custodians of Byron Bay.
We spotted a pod of Bottlenose dolphins (you’ll just have to take my word for it! I only had a camera phone). In fact, it is common to observe dolphins near Wategos Beach throughout the year.
There are dozens of stairs on the steep, uphill walk. I did issue a couple of reminders that I was carrying 13.5 kg (29 pounds) on my back. In their exuberance, the boys ran ahead several times. I thought they were ‘peaking’ too early. 🙂
The humpback whale watching season extends from 1 June to 30 November, along the east coast of Australia. The most easterly point of mainland Australia is a popular whale watching spot.
We didn’t see any whales on our way up to the lighthouse.
Ah, there it is! Just a few more stairs….. 🙂
Once we reached the ‘top’, we ate our snacks – homemade jam drop biscuits – then spent about half an hour looking for whales.
We spotted two individuals, both very far from the coastline. Rather, Mat spotted them (with the naked eye). He has always been very adept at spotting whales and dolphins. He can open a fridge and fail to see a jar of olives, but set him loose on the east coast of Australia, and he’ll be pointing out a whale in no time!
We weren’t fortunate enough to witness a whale breaching (ie. ‘leaping’ above the surface of the water). We saw a lot of ‘blowing’ (water spouting from the whale’s blowhole), and ‘slapping’ (flukes hitting the surface of the water).
We had a quick look inside the tiny museum located in the ground floor of the lighthouse.
The lighthouse was built in 1901, and is still operational today. The museum contains photos from the period that a whaling industry existed in Byron Bay (from 1954-1962). My children were astonished to learn that whales were once slaughtered in this town.
We observed at least two more individual whales on our walk back down to Wategos Beach. Again, no breaching, but lots of slapping and blowing.
We also stopped to watch the dolphins again. They were visible to the naked eye, only metres from surfers.
Where does your vegan family enjoy observing animals in nature?