Whyalla's world-famous cuttlefish experience
2nd June 2021
Every single winter thousands of Giant Australian Cuttlefish flock to the shallow waters of South Australia’s Spencer Gulf for breeding season. Find out why a winter visit to Whyalla to experience this world-renowned phenomena, is an absolute must at least once in your lifetime!
What is the Giant Australian cuttlefish congregation?
Everyone living in South Australia – especially those with a love for wildlife – need to visit Whyalla during winter at some point in their lives. A dip into the Spencer Gulf may not be particularly appealing right now, but by the end of this article you won’t be able to wait to take the plunge and embark on a cuttlefish experience for yourself!
Between the months of May and August each year, Giant Australian Cuttlefish roam the shallow waters of the Spencer Gulf. More specifically, they congregate in approximately 10km of shoreline in the Upper Spencer Gulf Marine Park. Whilst these fascinating creatures might inhabit the waters all the way from the east coast of Queensland, along the southern coastal waters of Australia and along to Ningaloo Reef in WA, it is only here in South Australia that they aggregate annually, en masse and with such predictability.
Breeding season is the reason for this huge gathering of Giant Australian Cuttlefish in Whyalla every year and as a result, throughout May, June and July, the numbers of cuttlefish dramatically increase. And if you’re wondering why they have chosen here of all places to settle for the winter months, the rocky seabeds offer cuttlefish an excellent environment for female to lay their eggs.
What makes this annual event so special?
One of the most magnificent things about this yearly occurrence is the spectacular display of colours and unbelievable ‘dances’ the cuttlefish perform as they try their best to attract a mate. These Giant Australian Cuttlefish are masters of changing colour and becoming camouflage, blending in with their surroundings. Their ability to change shape and texture allows them to appear as rocks, sand or seaweed whenever they wish.
On top of their ability to be spectacularly colourful and mysterious, Giant Australian Cuttlefish are just that; giant. Males can measure up to 50cm long and weigh 10kg! They’re the largest cuttlefish in the world. What’s more, they’re not particularly bothered by those observing them, so if you’re brave enough to take the plunge you’re guaranteed to be rewarded with a pretty memorable experience.
How can I experience this world-renowned cuttlefish gathering?
The best places to experience Giant Australian Cuttlefish are at Point Lowly and Stony Point. In fact, at Stony Point a boardwalk that leads you into shallow water waist-heigh as well as a chain to hold on to, offers a safer option for families. It is worth mentioning that cuttlefish here can be found in water as shallow as a metres, so if you don’t feel like heading out too far this isn’t too much of a problem either!
Of course those looking to make the most of their trip to Whyalla might want to consider a tour with a qualified tour guide who can not only show you the best spots, but also look over you whilst you navigate the shallow waters. With Whyalla Diving Services, you can head into the water with a trained guide and a small group, and see the Whyalla cuttlefish up close. Options for those unable to swim or uncomfortable in the water are also available, meaning that the experience is pretty much available for everybody!
Make a weekend of it with FREE Penfolds Wine
At SA Weekend Escapes, we’re pretty good at making a weekend out of it. This winter, when you stay with Whyalla Playford Apartments, you’ll receive a complimentary bottle of Penfolds Wine to enhance your stay. The Playford Apartments offers a spacious and somewhat luxury accommodation option for those heading to Whyalla. High quality spacious 1 and 2 bedroom apartments are ideal here for single travellers as well as larger family groups. This is truly a home away from home.
For a list of other SA hotels offering FREE Penfolds wine this winter, click here.