We chanced upon this small town in Western Australia during one of our trips to Perth in 2005. Augusta is located on the south western coast of Australia with a population of less than 1,300. The few things that you can do here are park yourself at the beach and windsurf, or go whale watching. As we were there in July, the start of the southern hemisphere’s winter season, beach and sun were not an option. So whale watching it was…
The whales pass through the area from June to September as they migrate northwards towards warmer waters, and we booked ourselves a place on a motor yacht that brought us out to sea. As it was winter, the sea was quite cold and choppy. The large motor yacht (40 footer at least) was tossed about by the waves. If you are easily affected by sea sickness then this might not be the activity for you.
The boat’s captain will try to spot any whales and get as close as possible so that we could see them. Since this was my first time whale watching, I thought that I was going to take some Natgeo type of whale photos with close ups of enormous flippers and tails. However, these thoughts were more or less dashed as we were at least 100m from any whale. It seems that large motor boats are not allowed to go too near the whales as the engine noise will scare the whales, and also in case the boat’s propellers injure them. So we had to be contented with long range photos. Besides, I had a crappy Point & Shoot camera then. Trying to get a steady photo on a boat that is being tossed by large waves is also another thing to take note of.
The whole whale watching trip took around 3 hours. Besides whales, you can also see dolphins which swim alongside the boat and seal colonies on the rocky shoreline.
Augusta is a very small town and there are a few small B&B’s and motels for tourists to stay. I guess that in summer this would be a great place to relax and enjoy the sea for a couple of days. But for the winter, it’s going to be too cold for that and probably nature hikes would be a better option. For ourselves, we did not stay in Augusta and instead continued with our road trip towards Albany.