The Great Australian Bight is a large oceanic bight, or open bay, off the central and western portions of the southern coastline of mainland Australia.
The Great Australian Bight was first encountered by European explorers in 1627 when Dutch navigator François Thijssen sailed along its western margins. The coast was later first accurately charted by the English navigator Matthew Flinders in 1802, during his circumnavigation of the Australian continent. A later land-based survey was accomplished by the English explorer Edward John Eyre.
The coastline of the Great Australian Bight is characterised by cliff faces (up to 60 metres or 200 feet high), surfing beaches and rock platforms, ideal for whale-watching. This is a popular activity during the southern hemisphere winter, when increasing numbers of southern right whales migrate to the region from their summer feeding grounds in the Antarctic. The whales come to the Bight region, especially to the Head of Bight, to calve and breed, and do not feed until they return to the Antarctic.