Winter Whale Watching at Hanson Bay

Guests of Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary can choose their own whale watching vantage point. Exclusive and private, choose your best viewing point from our 6 km of magnificent coastline. The Whales generally remain in the protected pristine waters close to the cliffs giving visitors a fantastic opportunity to view these magnificent creatures very close at times. Whale watching has become a favourite pastime for our guests visiting Hanson Bay during the winter months.

There are over 80 whale species in the world, 29 of these species visit our South Australian waters each year. The Southern Wright Whale, one of the largest, weighs up to 80 tons and grows to 18 metres in length. They visit the waters of Kangaroo Island annually where they are sighted from the Hanson Bay property between the months of May and September.

The Southern Wright Whale was considered to be the 'right' whale to hunt back in the whaling days of the island. It's a slow moving whale, with a massive size. Its habit of keeping close to shore and floating, once harpooned, gave the whalers a relatively easy hunt.

The Wright Whale was almost hunted to extinction in the 19th century with estimated numbers of 100,000 in SA waters prior to the whaling industry. Estimates of the Southern Wright Whale are now 7,000 in the whole of the Southern Hemisphere. On a positive note, whale numbers are now growing annually with many coming to SA waters to rest, mate or calve before their annual summer migration to Antarctica. Annual growth rate is now estimated at 7%.

Winter is the time of life on the island, not only do the whales nurse their calves but the Tammar Wallabies, Koalas and Western Grey Kangaroos carry their joeys through the winter months. Cape Barren Geese are also seen in abundance with their young during winter. September and October is also a fantastic time to view the Island's wildflowers.