Baird Bay Sea Lions Colony and the opportunity to swim with sea lions and dolphins were the reasons why we went on a 4-day trip to the Eyre Peninsula. A big commitment as we know that wildlife encounters are out of human control – otherwise it’s not wild, isn’t it? Still, we came all the way from Brisbane to Baird Bay hoping to have a great experience with the sea lions. And it was better than the best experience I could have dreamt of.
We heard about it from a friend’s friend who knew about it from word-of-mouth too. Baird Bay is quite remote and well-protected from mass tourism, and we hope it will stay like this. That’s what also made the experience so unique. For those less at ease in the water or lacking time, you may want to check the more touristy Port Lincoln experience. You can fly to Port Lincoln from Adelaide. We haven’t tried it, but please if you do it would be great to learn about your experience: leave a comment below!
Watching the largest Australian Sea Lions Colony on the mainland
We started the day watching the sea lions waking up at Point Labatt lookout on the other side of the bay from Baird Bay. I already had the opportunity to watch Sea Lions from a beach on Kangaroo Island. This time, we were up on the cliff which makes it very different. The interaction and proximity were not as good, but the overall view was stunning and fascinating. Even from a distance, we could see the young ones playing in the pools between the rocks. Their agility in the water is impressive!
We could have spent the full morning watching the show, but we had an exciting meeting planned with another colony in Baird Bay.
Learning more about Baird Bay sea lions and dolphins
The staff at Baird Bay were very friendly and welcoming. As the water is still cold at this season (14°C!), the sea lions were having a Saturday morning sleep in on the beach. Hence, we had to wait to go out later in the morning. Not a worry for us: as mentioned before we know wildlife is not under our control and fortunately we allowed a very flexible timetable for that day to ensure a great experience at Baird Bay.
This was an excellent opportunity to chat with the team and learn more about the sea lions and the dolphins in the area. With almost 25 years of experience, there was a lot to learn from them. Their stories are amazing and fascinating. Although they never fed the animals, both sea lions and dolphins always come to interact with them. There is enormous respect between the staff and the animals that undoubtedly enhance the experience at Baird Bay. The team don’t guarantee anything: if the animals don’t show up or are not keen on interactions, they respect that choice. They will not feed them to attract them. The animals decide. Although I would have been very disappointed to come all the way to Baird Bay and not see the sea lions, I love this approach.
Swimming with wild dolphins and playing with wild sea lions
We were lucky to be just the three of us on the boat that day. The remoteness of Baird Bay limits the number of tourists. This made the experience even more incredible. We could swim twice with the dolphins and spent a long time playing with the sea lions. We only stopped when we got too cold in the 14°C water! The accompanying guy from Baird Bay kept playing with them as we were back on the boat to warm up with a Milo. It was a pleasure to see their passion. I guess even if you have the opportunity to do it often, it is every time something unique that you can enjoy!
I was amazed by the interaction with the wild animals, especially the sea lions. They have the entire ocean to go to and still, they followed us when they spotted the boat and stayed to have some fun together. This was an experience of a lifetime. I couldn’t have been happier. I don’t think anyone can be cuter than a sea-lion pup playing in the water.
On our way out of Baird Bay, we stopped at Murphy’s Haystacks to have a look at these funny rocks. The colour contrast between the pink granite boulders, the green field and the blue sky is beautiful and very photogenic.
We ended the day in Wudinna watching the sunset from the Polda Rock. We were ready to kick off our third day in the Gawler Ranges National Park – only 40km away.
Where is Baird Bay?
Baird Bay is a tiny and remote village at the South of Streaky Bay at the North-East of the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia. It takes over 8 hours to drive there from Adelaide. There are flights from Adelaide to Port Lincoln. The drive from Port Lincoln to Baird Bay takes around 4 hours.