Experience the magical natural phenomenon of the world’s largest gathering of Giant Australian Cuttlefish in Whyalla, South Australia.


The Giant Australian Cuttlefish migration takes place on Aboriginal land and sovereignty was never ceded. The region is the traditional Country of the Barngarla people. We acknowledge their ancestors, past, present, and emerging, and their deep relationships with the land and the sea.

Quick Overview

The Giant Australian Cuttlefish migration can be experienced in the Upper Spencer Gulf Marine Park north of Whyalla in South Australia during winter.

About Whyalla and the Cuttlefish

Whyalla is a port town that’s well known for its exportation of iron ore. It’s a town dependent on its mining industries and forms part of what’s known as the ‘Iron Triangle’, along with Port Augusta and Port Pirie. But it’s not what’s above the surface that draws tourists to Whyalla.

Every year between May and August, thousands of Giant Australian Cuttlefish (Sepia apama) migrate from the deep waters in the Spencer Gulf to the shallows of False Bay, between Black Point and Point Lowly. The sheer number of cuttlefish getting together makes this event especially unique in not only Australia, but also the world.

Read more: Remember to leave no trace!

Cuttlefish every direction you turn!

They arrive in the tens of thousands for essentially a giant orgy, with the sole aim of breeding. It’s a show juicier than Love Island – there are multiple partners, colourful outfits, feisty competitions, and deadly battles.

There are many more males than females, which leads to aggressive fights and incredible mating rituals.

Size isn’t everything for the females, so the males will put on a kaleidoscopic display of colours to impress a mate. Cuttlefish are masters of disguise as they camouflage to match their surroundings by changing their shape, colour, and texture.

Males will use this to their advantage to strike out at a competitor. Don’t be surprised if you see a cuttlefish head bobbing past you in the water!

In the midst of a fierce battle

Mating is funky business, with male cuttlefish linking their eight arms and two tentacles with their lady partner to drop their sperm packages in her mouth.

The rocky habitat in False Bay’s shallow waters is the drawcard for masses of cuttlefish gathering, as the female will attach her fertilised eggs underneath the hard reef.

Little Giant babies hatch 3-5 months later. Cuttlefish live hard and fast lives, as they die after reproducing just once.

Two males facing off

Whyalla celebrates its tentacled friends by holding the annual Cuttlefest between July and August with a variety of community events. The cuttlefish migration is important to the Barngarla people, who call the cuttlefish Yaryardloo, as it signifies the change in season.

Historically the Spencer Gulf population of cuttlefish were threatened by commercial and recreational fishing.

False Bay is now within the cephalopod exclusion zone, where fishing for Giant Australian Cuttlefish, and other squid and octopus, is prohibited.

How To Get There

False Bay is a 25 minute drive from Whyalla, or a 4.5 hour drive from Adelaide. If you’re not feeling up for a road trip, Rex and Qantas fly to Whyalla from Adelaide.

Black Point and Stony Point are pinned on Google Maps as ‘Cuttlefish dive sites’.

Places to Stay in Whyalla

Whyalla is the closest town to the dive sites and has a small selection of accommodation options, from caravan parks to hotels. Keep in mind that the annual migration draws tourists in and the town gets very busy during winter. Be sure to book accommodation in advance, or choose to stay in Port Augusta, where there are more options.

Point Lowly Campground

If you want to be right amongst the action with a waterfront view, Point Lowly Campground is the closest accommodation you’ll get. The campground has toilets and cold showers for $10 per vehicle per night.

The Eyre Hotel

Stylish but affordable, The Eyre Hotel is perfect for two people. Located in Whyalla, the hotel is near restaurants and the Whyalla Marina. A standard room starts at $100 a night.

Harvest Stay Cabin Park

If you’ve got a larger group, it’s best to stay at a caravan park. Harvest Stay Cabin Park in Port Augusta (a 50 minute drive away) is securely fenced, meaning peace of mind when leaving your wet diving gear outside to dry.  One, two, and three bedroom apartments are available for a minimum of four nights, starting at $170 per night.

What it’s like to dive with Giant Australian Cuttlefish in Whyalla

There are three different ways you can experience this mesmerising natural phenomenon. Either go snorkelling on your own, book a guided snorkel/scuba dive, or hop on a glass bottom boat.

The ease of access is one of the many reasons this experience is so appealing. If you’re snorkelling, simply pop your wetsuit on, navigate the rocky beaches and head into the water.

The ocean temperatures in winter can range between 12 and 15 degrees so be prepared for the cold! This means suiting up in neoprene from head to toe.

Read more: Eco Friendly Wetsuits – Making The ‘Green Room’ Greener

Stony Point has a concrete ramp with a chain rail to help guide you in the water. There are also change rooms and toilets at Stony Point and Point Lowly.


Water temps are low but stoke levels are high!

Whyalla Diving Services offer guided snorkelling tours for both confident ($130) and not-so-confident swimmers ($230). There are also guided scuba diving tours ($190) if you’d like to spend more time at the bottom of the ocean than the top.

The cuttlefish hang out in the shallows, between one and eight metres, so the view is epic from either perspective.

Keep in mind that wild animals should never be touched. Watch the show from a safe distance so you don’t disturb the orgy!


How many cuttlefish can you spot underneath me?

If tackling a thick wetsuit and jumping into icy water isn’t your cup of tea, book a tour on a glass bottom boat. You’re able to stay dry while watching the spectacle from above.

There are no entry fees, park fees or permits required to swim with the Giant Cuttlefish.

Skill Level


Aside from Stony Point with the access ramp, the rocks on the shore can be uneven and slippery. The water is very cold and can be choppy. It’s best to snorkel with a buddy for safety.

Read more: Tips on Staying Safe on Coastal Rock Platforms

Tips For Visiting the Giant Australian Cuttlefish at Whyalla

  • Mornings tend to be less windy meaning flatter conditions on the surface of the ocean
  • The turnoff to Stony Point from Port Bonython Road can be easy to miss as it’s a sharp turn. It may not look like a real track as it’s on an unsealed road, but it is!
  • While camping at a waterfront location like Point Lowly Campground is awesome, you’re going to want to have a hot shower after being in the chilly southern waters. Try to book accommodation that has a shower on the day you swim with the cuttlefish
  • There aren’t any cafes or shops in the immediate vicinity of the dive sites so pack snacks and water before you go

Essential Gear

  • 5mm to 7mm hooded wetsuit, gloves, and booties
  • Snorkel and mask
  • Flippers
  • Underwater camera
  • Thermos of hot tea to warm yourself up afterwards
  • Snacks
  • Towel

If you don’t have the right gear, you can hire it from Whyalla Diving Services.

FAQs about Whyalla’s Giant Australian Cuttlefish

When can you see Giant Australian Cuttlefish in Whyalla?

You can see Giant Australian Cuttlefish between May and August, with peak numbers in June and July.

Can you touch a cuttlefish?

You should never touch wild animals, including marine life. It can cause unnecessary stress to them and potentially, physical harm. Observe their fascinating behaviours in their natural environment from a safe distance.

How long do the Giant Australian Cuttlefish live?

Giant Australian Cuttlefish live between two to four years. Thousands of them will come together to breed, and will die shortly afterwards.

Is it free to see the Giant Australian Cuttlefish at Wyalla?

It’s free to see the Giant Australian Cuttlefish! It’s one of the most accessible and affordable marine encounters Australia has to offer. Costs are only incurred if you hire diving gear or choose to go on a boat.

Why do the Giant Australian Cuttlefish congregate at Wyalla?

Giant Australian Cuttlefish congregate in such large numbers in Whyalla as there are rocky seabeds for the females to attach their eggs to. While they can be found as far north as Moreton Bay (QLD) and Ningaloo Reef (WA), Whyalla is the only place in the world where Giant Australian Cuttlefish gather in the thousands.


Images thanks to Jack Breedon