Chain of Bays Chain of Bays
July 04, 2022, 06:44:15 pm *
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Corvisart Bay

Corvisart Bay is a 31km long deep water bay, consisting of a series of rocky outcrops and headlands separated by stretches of high-energy, steeply pitched beach. Like Searcy Bay, Corvisart Bay has deep water sections which extend close to the shoreline.

Most of the main stretch of Corvisart Bay is backed by an unusually high and steep vegetated dune, dominated by stunted coastal heath land and shrubland. A notable feature of Corvisart Bay are the granite outcrops located at Point Westall, "The Granites" (a popular surfing location), and Cape Bauer.

There are also interesting limestone formations on the coast at Back Beach, Whistling Rocks and at the "The Blowholes". Spectacular coastal cliffs are located at "High Cliff"

Corvisart Bay is a significant feeding ground for the Australian Sea Lion, and the waters of the Bay are inhabited by whales, dolphins, sharks, reef fish and a healthy diversity of marine algae.

Cape Bauer

Cape Bauer is the northern headland which forms the boundary between the Chain of Bays to the south and the much larger Streaky Bay to the north. The rocky cliffs of the Cape Bauer area is a known breeding territory for Osprey and White-bellied Sea Eagles.

Olive Island

Olive Island, off the shore of Cape Bauer, is a very important location for wildlife. There is a large breeding colony of Australian Sea Lions; it is a known nesting location for Osprey, White-Bellied Sea Eagle and Cormorants. Olive Island is also an important refuge for Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Fairy Terns, Ruddy Turnstone, Rock Parrot and Cape Barren Goose. The reefs near Olive Island are renowned for the size and diversity of reef fish and marine algae.

Whistling Rocks/The Blowholes

Whistling Rocks/The Blowholes are spectacular coastal features on the clifftops of the northern section of Corvisart Bay. Wave action and the dissolution of coastal limestone has resulted in a series of rounded shafts which funnel air under pressure from the crashing waves below. These features are dangerous, and should be approached with caution. Care should be taken to adequately supervise children in the vicinity of the Blowholes.

Sceale Bay

Sceale Bay is a 33km long section of predominantly sandy coast set between rocky headlands at Cape Blanche to the south and Point Westall to the north.

The main part of the Bay is a magnificent 20km white sandy beach backed by a stable vegetated dune. At the northern section of the beach, the vegetated dune has been breached, and a large mobile dune-field (the White Sands of Yanerbie) extends several kilometres inland.

Smooth Pool

"Smooth Pool" and "Skippy Pool" are two protected lagoons that provide an optimal environment for snorkelling and diving. A range of reef and school fish may be observed in these locations and there are also some excellent dive sites in the exposed waters south-east of these locations. Smooth Pool is known for the largest population of the rare (and World's smallest!) Sea Star Little Pattie, which is found in only a few locations on the west coast.

Yanerbie Dune-Field

The Yanerbie dune-field, sometimes known as "The White Sands of Yanerbie" are an extensive and mobile dune system comprising of fine, white silica sands. There are registered burial sites of Aboriginal significance, and an archaeological site of European cultural heritage at the old whaling settlement of Trial Harbour. There are also historic shipwrecks in the waters of Sceale Bay that are protected by law. Visitors are requested to respect all of these sites and report any discovery of Aboriginal burial sites to the Police.

Seagull Lake

There is a significant wetland system behind the main dune of the Sceale Bay beach, which includes "Seagull Lake", a prominent feature on the road between Streaky Bay and Sceale Bay. Seagull Lake is a stranded saline swamp dominated by Zostera and Ruppia marine seagrasses and fed by marine springs.

The Whirlpool

Another special feature is the nearby "Whirlpool", another marine spring which has been noted to support populations of marine fish and snails. This natural feature is in need of urgent protection as the current practice of using water from the pool for road works is having an impact on an important stranded marine spring and wetland. This wetland complex supports a range of migratory and resident Shorebirds, including Hooded Plovers, Fairy Terns, Banded Stilts, Red-necked Avocets and Eastern Curlews. It is also known to support a significant population of the rare Coastal Bead Samphire, a small succulent wetland plant.

Sceale Bay Conservation Park

Sceale Bay Conservation Park protects the mid section of the Sceale Bay dune, and includes most of Seagull Lake. The Park is signposted on the main Streaky Bay to Sceale Bay road, and a 4WD access track to the Park joins this road on the northern edge of Seagull Lake. There are no facilities in this Park.

Surfers Beach

Surfers Beach is located in the mid-section of Sceale Bay beach, and is easily accessible from the main Streaky Bay to Sceale Bay road. There is a carpark above the beach and a boardwalk provides beach access.

The rocky headland of Cape Blanche forms the southern boundary to Sceale Bay. This is a spectacular and remote section of coastline, home to coastal raptors and the Australian Sea Lion colony at Nicholas Baudin Island.

Searcy Bay

Searcy Bay is a remote and wild high-energy wave environment on the western side of Calca Peninsula. The 38km-long bay has deep water (30m) extending very close to shore in a number of places and its coastal margins are lined with high limestone cliffs, punctuated by some small sandy coves and larger high-energy beaches at its northern extremity.

Searcy Bay has a multitude of near-shore reefs, rock pools and shoreline platforms, located beneath high coastal cliffs. These features support a wide diversity of marine algae and reef fish species. There are a few places where granite outcrops on the shoreline (such as Point Labatt), and these areas contain granite pools and reefs which are favoured feeding and resting sites for the Australian Sea Lion.

The high coastal cliffs of Searcy Bay support a number of active nest locations for the Osprey and White-Bellied Sea Eagle, as well as the Peregrine Falcon. The Peregrine Falcon is renowned as the world's fastest bird. Cliff top dunes, grasslands and heath lands typify the near-shore environment of Searcy Bay, which is highly exposed to westerly and southerly wind and salt spray. The vegetation here is highly stressed and frequently exhibits stunted and sculptured growth forms.

The Island

"The Island" is a section of the Searcy Bay coastline popular with surfers. An unmarked track joining the Point Labatt Road terminates at a car park. There is a boardwalk and lookout overlooking Searcy Bay. A nearby coastal stack supports an active Osprey nest.

Salmon Beach

Salmon Beach is located to the north of Point Labatt, and is one of the few vehicle access points to the Searcy Bay coastline. There is a long reef and steeply inclined beach section suitable for shore fishing.

Point Labatt

Point Labatt is a must-see destination for visitors to the Chain of Bays. There is a cliff-top lookout overlooking a haul-out and sometimes breeding colony for the Australian Sea Lion, with spectacular views of Searcy Bay.

Cape Radstock

Cape Radstock, to the south of Point Labatt, is the highest coastal cliff between the Whaler's Way near Port Lincoln, and the South West Corner of Western Australia. The cliffs near Cape Radstock are known to support nesting territories for the White-bellied Sea Eagle and Osprey.

Baird Bay

Baird Bay is a protected embayment consisting of a series of shallow (less than 5m deep) basins, separated from the open sea by an entrance reef and Jones Island. This island is home to a small but successful breeding colony of Australian Sea Lions; it is also the location for a famous and popular ecotourism activity swimming with Australian Sea Lions, run by Baird Bay Eco Experience and conservation stalwarts Trish and Alan Payne.

Baird Bay is an International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) rated wetland of international significance. Baird Bay itself is a 44 square km body of shallow water, with a variety of seagrass meadows, algal mats, bare rock (limestone), sand, and silt. The margin of the bay is fringed by low coastal cliffs, shell grit beaches, sandy low-energy beaches, coastal wetlands (freshwater and saline), islands and entrance reefs.

Calca Peninsula

The coastal land adjoining Baird Bay to the west is formed by Calca Peninsula, a 1-2km wide strip of coastal heaths, grasslands, Casuarina and Melaleuca woodlands and Mallee, separating the protected waters of Baird Bay from the open waters of Searcy Bay.

The first basin of Baird Bay is a lush seagrass meadow which supports a wide diversity of marine species including several unusual species of Pipefish, Wrasse and Velvet Fish. The first basin is separated from the upper basins by a narrow channel which is the location for the settlement of Baird Bay.

The upper basins are an important nursery for a number of commercial fish species. They are also a significant refuge for migratory waterbirds and shorebirds. There are some freshwater springs and soaks on the eastern side of the bay, some of which exit below sea level, and thus contribute towards a more estuarine environment than other sections of coastline in the region.

Waterbirds can be frequently observed in many locations around Baird Bay, including the entrance channel adjacent to Baird Bay settlement (Pelicans), at the northern extremity of the Bay (Cormorants), at "The Washpool" on the eastern side of the Bay and from the Point Labatt Road on the western side of the Bay (Ducks, Teals, Grebes and Black Swans), and at the sand spit on the western side of the Bay (lines of Waterbirds are frequently visible at this location).

Significant species found in Baird Bay and its coastal margins include the Australian Sea Lion, migratory and resident waterbirds including Australian Pelican, Great and Pied Cormorants, Musk Duck, Grey Teal, Australasian Grebe and Great Crested Grebe, and a variety of migratory and resident waders, including Eastern Curlew, Hooded Plover, Banded Stilt and Sooty Oystercatcher.

Baird Bay is an important feeding area for Osprey & White-Bellied Sea Eagle (which may be observed on occasions soaring along the western coastline of Baird Bay), an important nursery for juvenile fish, and habitat for pipefish, Leafy and Weedy Sea Dragons, rays, and dolphins.

Existing conservation areas in Baird Bay are the Baird Bay Islands Conservation Park (Jones Island and the Unnamed Island in the middle basin of the Bay). In addition to this existing Reserve, a new addition to the conservation estate has been announced by the State Government for the coastal margins of Baird Bay, including "The Washpool", a series of springs on the eastern margin of the bay that supports an aquatic vegetation community and provides habitat for resident and Migratory Waterbirds.

All of Baird Bay and the narrow Crown Land Coast Reserve fringing the bay have been declared within the boundary of Marine Park 3, the new Marine Protected Area which includes 3 of the 4 Bays in the Chain of Bays. There are also ten adjoining Heritage Agreement private properties on Calca Peninsula, totalling over 1,000 Hectares which protect the coastal vegetation on the western side of Baird Bay. A new Conservation Park will be proclaimed in the near future, including the existing Baird Bay Islands Conservation Park , all of the coastal margins of Baird Bay, "The Washpool", and new conservation land acquired at the northern end of Calca Peninsula, near the junction of the Point Labatt Road and the main Sceale Bay Road. This new expanded Conservation Park will be an exciting and very worthy addition to the State's reserve system.


Tyringa is part of Anxious Bay and meets the sheltered waters of Baird Bay at its eastern most point. The western part of Anxious Bay is home to high cliffs, rugged coast and sheltering dunes.

Strong waves and swell pulse in to the exposed bay and dunes protect many endangered flora and fauna. Great White Sharks and Southern Right Whales are often seen in the western half of Anxious Bay in and around Tyringa. Far from the townships, Tyringa is a wild place, and forms a critical link between nearby Venus Bay Conservation Park and Baird Bay Islands Conservation Park. There are significant stands of coastal vegetation which include endangered species such as the West Coast Mintbush, Prostanthera calycina .

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