The Great Australian Bight

Mon, Jun 29th 2009, 12:40

If you look at a map of Australia you will notice that there is a large “bite” out of the south coast – this forms a huge bay known as the Great Australian Bight.

The Great Australian Bight has a unique marine environment - essentially it is the ocean equivalent of a desert. The southern coast of Australia is a very barren and hostile terrain with minimal rainfall and very few rivers that flow into the ocean. This is one of the remote yet dramatic coastlines of Australia ... towering cliffs drop 50 metres into the ocean below, so you'd be forgiven for thinking you'd reached the edge of the world.

As a result, the ocean floor of the bight is pretty infertile and does not support the kinds of marine life that Australia's more temperate oceans attract. However the Great Australian Bight is home to a host of unique creatures adapted to this harsh environment that are found nowhere else.

The Great Australian Bight Marine Park lies 200 nautical miles offshore, providing a protected area for these fascinating creatures. This is also a protected area for the large numbers of sharks and migrating Southern Right Whales. There are also a number of Australian Sea-lion colonies.

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