The sleepy seaside town, Bremer Bay, is located on the south coastline of Western Australia. A two-hour drive west of Albany or a six-hour drive south from Perth. The end of the road will present you with squeaky white beaches and a sense of being surrounded by wilderness.
Unspoilt landscape reaching out into the Southern Ocean
Perched next to Fitzgerald River National Park, one of Australia’s largest and most botanically significant national parks, it has a UNESCO classification as a unique biosphere – 1 of only 14 in Australia. If you’re scratching your head at the word UNESCO, head over to their website to see the importance of identifying these areas.
The landscape in Bremer Bay is unspoilt with rocky headlands reaching out into the Southern Ocean. Each orange lichen covered outcrop is separated by crisp white beaches. The squeaky sound of clean sand under foot is iconic to this region. Whether you are four-wheel driving or walking you will know you are on a southern beach when you can hear it.
Noongar people were the first inhabitants and caretakers of the Great Southern, the Noongar boodja (country). Evidence dates back to 20,000 years ago but it is believed, and there is no doubt, that Noongar people lived in this part of booja since the Nyittiny (creation times).
European exploration began in 1620’s with well documented experiences. The land was settled in 1850 with farming districts allocated. Wellstead were a pioneering family and are still active within the region to this day. The Wellstead Museum and heritage listed Quaalup homestead are a glimpse 150 years back. Both are open to the public and more heritage can be found at the Old Telegraph station which was recently restored.
Fishing shacks dot the coastline in Bremer Bay
Fishing shacks dot the coastline in Bremer Bay. Where fishermen live for half a year on nothing but a warm fire and fresh fish. They watch the whales annually migrate into the shallow bays with evidence of the whales present by bones and other remains decorating the shacks.
One beach on the Eastern side is notorious for being exposed to open ocean currents. This draws in flotsam and jetsam to the long bay. Unfortunately, it also brings trash. If you happen to be exploring and come across a foreign labelled article, sun damaged piece of plastic or fishing rope, please take it back with you and dispose of it responsibly in town. The natural environment and all its inhabitants will thank you for it.
Fosters, Trigelow and Whale Bone beach all feature salmon shacks. Respect the locals and their property and only enter if allowed. Enjoy the whale lookouts and copious amounts of abalone shells, remember to always leave no trace.
A coastline unlike any other in the world
The unwavering force of the Leeuwin current brings warm water, tropical fish and tropical coral species to these temperate waters. The coastline here is unlike any other in the world with both cold and warm water animals and plants able to mix. There is also a great white shark nursing ground just to the east of Bremer on the Doubtful Islands. A harem of sea lions and fur seals also aggregate here, in search of remote and quiet islands to rest and nurse their young. Coastal bottlenose dolphins patrol the beaches and seagrass meadows in search of an easy feed. Sometimes they can be in pods of over 200 dolphins. From large adult males to the smallest of new born calves. It is truly spectacular to witness these animals in action, in particular the Bremer Bay Orcas.
Bremer Bay is also home to the leafy Seadragon. An incredibly rare species, it is best to dive with the expert locals who know where to find them. You can spend hours underwater with no luck, only to be mere metres away from their homerange. A certain bucket list experience to be able to tick off while in the region. More information can be found with the Dive shop.
Exceptional feeding ground for over 100 bird species
The estuary, although a bit stinky for humans, is an exceptional feeding ground for over 100 bird species. Rare migratory species will also frequent this area and it can be a lot of fun trying to identify what you are looking at! Pelicans, spoon bills, cormorants, waterfowl and endangered plovers are all a feature here.
It is not just the birds you might encounter. Kangaroos and emus will be navigating the bushland while smaller reptilian species and ground-dwelling marsupials can be found scurrying into dense shrubbery.
During the months of June and July, the whales come in close to shore. They are here to give birth and nurse their young. The calves in turn get fat (drinking over 250 Litres of milk a day!) and supply the local marine ecosystem with much needed nutrients via their poop! The Southern right whales are the main species you can observe here. They like the very shallow water and tend to be hogging surf breaks. As tempting as it may be to swim over to them. Please give them some space. This endangered species is on the recovery and mum whale will be very appreciative of the nurturing time you allow between her and her new baby. Australia whale watching in these waters should be done with professionals so as not to disburn marine life.
Deeper water and stranger wildlife
Moving offshore and into deeper water and the wildlife only gets stranger. Killer whales hunting a species most people have never heard of…. the beaked whale! A seasonal aggregation of the black and white apex predators is just the cherry on top to an already rich diversity of marine life.
Bear with me while we get our science on…..
The presence of chlorophyll drives an entire ecosystem mad! Like kids in a lolly shop. The feasting starts as soon as the sun rises past the horizon and it is mixed, like a large cauldron, by the large currents which push and pull nutrients in a random assortment of directions. This encourages those strange deep-sea critters to the surface. You know the ones with a light bulb on their head! As they come towards the light every single animal is taking the opportunity to feast. The Bremer canyon is like nothing that can be explained with words. A true “see it to believe it moment”.
Naturaliste Charters are the pioneers of tourism in this area if you are looking to whale watch in Australia. Mixing expertise and pure passion creates an experience you have never before had. They will take you out for eight hours on the adventure of a lifetime. Witnessing not only orca in the wild but the entire ecosystem that lay before us!
The Fitzgerald biosphere
The fitzgerald biosphere inhabits 20% of all Australian floral species. Wildflowers are evident all year round with September to November an abundance time! Many species are endemic to this area so bring your cameras and notepad! A Bremer Bay local, Barbara Miller-Hornsey literally wrote the book on orchids!
Bremer has character, charm and a history which runs through its wildlife and rivers. Only the brave will venture here as it will no doubt leave its mark on you. A place so special as Bremer is not easily forgotten.