Great Australian Bight

The Great Australian Bight is a large, open bay. It is located off the western and central parts of the southern shore of mainland Australia.

The Great Australian Bight is bordered by Cape Pasley and Cape Carnot. In Australia, the widely accepted name for the connected waterbody is the Southern Ocean, not the Indian Ocean.

There are settlements along the coastline having direct access to the Great Australian Bight and its utilities.

These settlements include Eucla and Ceduna. Many other settlements do not have easy access.

Great Australian Bight Facts for Kids

  • The Great Australian Bight stretches from Cape Catastrophe on the Eyre Peninsula of South Australia in the east to Cape Pasley, to the Esperance in Western Australia.
  • Among its many features is a very wide shelf which stretches more than 200 nautical miles in width. It is the longest component of the east-west coastline in the ice-free world, facing the Antarctic Ocean and the Southern Ocean.
  • The Great Australian Bight is an area that consists of high biodiversity. Some of the animals with high biodiversity include Red Algae, Bryozoans, Molluscs, Ascidians, and Echinoderms.
  • As well as having a high range of biodiversity, the Great Australian Bight is renowned for its endangered species including the Southern Right Whale, the Australian Sea-lion, the Humpback Whale, and the Albatross. Great White Sharks also prowl around The Great Australian Bight looking for food and energy.
  • The northern edge of the Great Australian Bight is the Nullarbor Plain which is formed of the uplifted ocean floor. There are also rocky headlands and islands around the eastern end of the Great Australian Bight.
  • The first time the Great Australian Bight was first encountered was in the year 1627 by a group of European explorers when Dutch guide Francis Thijssen navigated along the western margins of the Great Australian Bight.
  • The Great Australian Bight was first charted accurately in 1802 by British navigator Matthew Flinders during a time when he was circumnavigating the Australian continent.
  • A larger survey was then achieved by another British explorer Edward John Eyre.
  • According to history, it is believed that the Great Australian Bight was birthed to life when Gondwana broke apart and separated from Australia. This incidence occurred around 50 million years
  • Whale-watching is a famous activity during the southern hemisphere winter as an increasing number of whales migrate from summer feeding grounds in the Antarctic to the Great Australian Bight region. During the 19th century, the number of migrating whales severely decreased. However, the number has been rising again in recent times.


Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is a Bight?

Answer: A bight can be described as a long and gradual bend shoreline forming a large, open bay. Bights do not have great depths and may pose harm to navigation.

2. What are the definitions of the Great Australian Bight?

Answer: There are two definitions used to describe the extent of the Great Australian Bight. The International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) uses one, while the Australian Hydrographic Service (AHS) uses another.

According to the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO), the Great Australian Bight has the following limits:

  • On the North. The south coast of the Australian mainland.
  • On the South. A line joining West Cape How to King Island and thence to Cape Grim, the northwest extreme of Tasmania.

According to the Australian Hydrographic Service (AHS), the Great Australian Bight is a smaller area from Cape Pasley, Western Australia, to Cape Carnot, South Australia – a distance of 1,160 kilometers (720 miles).

3. Is it considered the Southern Ocean or the Indian Ocean?

Answer: The Great Australian Bight is considered part of the Indian Ocean outside the country. However, in Australia, the Great Australian Bight is considered part of the Southern Ocean.