Meet the Whyalla Bottlenose Dolphins—get UNBELIEVABLY close!

A closeup of a Whyalla Bottlenose Dolphin at the marina. In the Eyre Peninsula, South Australia.

Hey there, friend!

Explore Whyalla in the Eyre Peninsula with me

In this journal entry, I’ll be sharing what you can see and do in multi-faceted coastal city of Whyalla, including when and where you can meet the adorable resident Whyalla Bottlenose Dolphins!

Whyalla in the Eyre Peninsula, South Australia, is one of the best places in Australia to see dolphins up close and for free!

My hubby will tell you that I’m obsessed with dolphins and sea lions. If you’re the same, feel free to jump to that section straight away by clicking here. I understand!

I can’t quite remember what YouTube video I watched, but I was introduced to the Whyalla Bottlenose Dolphins through it. From that moment on, I knew that we had to spend some time there. 

So from our previous location of Quorn in the Flinders Ranges, we kickstarted our journey into the beautiful Eyre Peninsula, with our first stop, Whyalla.

Eyre Peninsula Map

If you’re planning a trip to the Eyre Peninsula, we visited quite a few attractions, eats & drinks in the region with a lot being dog-friendly! Here’s a map of the locations, you can also find more information via the Eyre Peninsula journal entries, here.

Where is Whyalla & how to get there from Adelaide

Whyalla is a small seaport city off the east coast of the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia. 

From Adelaide, it’s about 385 kilometres, and the best way to get there is by car. It’s roughly a 4.5-hour drive, heading north west. 

View of Mount Young (I believe?) from the Whyalla Jetty. Eyre Peninsula, South Australia
View of Mount Young (I believe?) from the Whyalla Jetty

The best time to visit Whyalla

One thing that Whyalla is well known for and would be magical to witness is the Giant Cuttlefish Migration. This takes place between May and August every year. 

If you want to take advantage of the beaches, experience more pleasant weather, and potentially have a better chance of spotting dolphins, I would imagine the summer months is a great time to visit.

We stayed in Whyalla around late October (2023), and I’m not gonna lie, the weather was terrible pretty much the whole time.

Whenever we went out, I felt like a flying squirrel being blown about in my jacket. Plus, it was freezing! We experienced sunny weather with gentle winds maybe only 2 out of the 6 days we were there.

A local Whyalla Bottlenose Dolphin. Eyre Peninsula, South Australia
No zoom required when the Whyalla Bottlenose Dolphins swim right up to your feet!

What to see & do in Whyalla

All I really wanted from our stay was to meet the resident Whyalla Bottlenose Dolphins at the marina!

I would’ve been happy with just that, but during our short time, we came across a few other fun things to see & do in Whyalla:

  • Walk the trails at Whyalla Wetlands & grab a bite at Sumthin’ Tastee Cafe
  • Visit Hummock Hill Lookout
  • Stroll along the Foreshore & Marina
  • Meet the Whyalla Bottlenose Dolphins
  • Brunch at Whisk Away Cafe
  • Drive up to Point Lowly Lighthouse.

As mentioned, the Giant Cuttlefish Migration would have been awesome to see but unfortunately, we weren’t in the right season.

Is Whyalla worth visiting? 

I might be biassed, but yes, absolutely! While exploring the Eyre Peninsula, make a pit stop at Whyalla to meet the adorable resident Whyalla Bottlenose Dolphins. 

Whyalla Bottlenose Dolphins at the marina. Eyre Peninsula, South Australia
Meeting the Whyalla Bottlenose Dolphins at the marina

About the seaport city of Whyalla in South Australia

What stood out to me about Whyalla is how much of an industrial city it is. As we drove closer, we could see the outlines of its factories and plumes of smoke in the air.

The large Steelworks operations and commercial port located near the marina are significant operational sites. And, you can view both from the Hummock Hill Lookout.

Whyalla is one of the major retail and services hubs in the Eyre Peninsula; if you need to stock up on supplies or make a Kmart run, this is the town to do it!

For those of you into history and culture, you can learn more about Whyalla’s past through places such as the Maritime Museum or SteelCap Gallery.

An absolute highlight of the area is the abundant marine life; you can encounter local Whyalla Bottlenose Dolphins at the marina or snorkel the waters during the Giant Cuttlefish Migration, a natural wonder unique to Whyalla.

View of the marina from the Hummock Hill Lookout in Whyalla, Eyre Peninsula, South Australia
View of the marina from the Hummock Hill Lookout

Where we stayed in Whyalla

We stayed at the Whyalla Foreshore Discovery Park as it was walkable distance to the Whyalla Marina. While we were there, we experienced wild winds pretty much the whole week.

Map of Whyalla Foreshore Discovery Park. We were located on site 119.
Map of Whyalla Foreshore Discovery Park, we were located on site 119

Whyalla Foreshore Discovery Park

Whyalla Dog-friendly caravan park
  • Website: discoveryholidayparks.com.au
  • Address: 51 Broadbent Terrace, Whyalla, South Australia
  • Length of our stay: 7 nights
  • Time of year: October
  • Type of site: Powered gravel site – foreshore
  • Site number: 119
  • Cost per night and total: $229.05 total, worked out to be $33/night. We booked online and paid for 1 night’s deposit. The balance paid at check-in. 
  • Grocery shopping: Has all of them – Coles, Woolies, IGA, Foodland etc. Has major retail stores. 
  • Phone and internet reception: No issues with Telstra phones and Nighthawk wifi router.
Our caravan site at Whyalla Foreshore Discovery Park, Eyre Peninsula, South Australia
Our site at Whyalla Foreshore Discovery Park

The pros of staying at Whyalla Foreshore Discovery Park

  • The caravan park is within walking distance of the foreshore and marina. 
  • It’s right next to the dog-friendly beach with direct access. Dogs have to be on-leash at certain times towards the foreshore, but near the caravan park, there’s a section where they can be off-leash at any time. 
  • Our site was pretty decent in size; we could park our car side by side with room for the awning to go up. Not that we could, it was violently windy the whole time! Some sites weren’t as roomy, though, like the one next to us, which was very narrow. 
  • The amenities block was dated but kept fairly clean. I noticed they had a shed camp kitchen with plenty of seating near the amenities and laundry.
Camp Kitchen at Whyalla Foreshore Discovery Park, Eyre Peninsula, South Australia
Camp Kitchen at the caravan park

The cons of staying at Whyalla Foreshore Discovery Park

  • The area we were in was on a slope, and we couldn’t put down our caravan stabilisers properly. We felt like we were on a boat in Windy Whyalla; our caravan was rocking side to side! Additionally, the fence next to us was constantly rattling.
  • Our row basically felt like a car park: gravel sites with no bushes or barriers between them. We were next to some younger people who played hip hop music really loud and stayed up late having drunk conversations.
  • We couldn’t find a sullage point, and it felt like there wasn’t really anywhere to run it into without causing a huge puddle. At other parks, we normally just run it onto nearby bushes, lawns, or gardens.
  • As mentioned, not all sites were roomy. Personally, I felt like the caravan park had a cramped and very crowded feel overall.
  • The beach was gritty sand with shells, so not the best for barefoot walking! 
Inside the amenities block at Whyalla Foreshore Discovery Park, Eyre Peninsula, South Australia
Inside the female amenities

Other things to note about Whyalla Foreshore Discovery Park

  • It’s a large caravan park with a huge amount of cabins. I do believe they have dog-friendly cabins available if you weren’t caravanning or camping. 
  • To be honest, I didn’t really walk around the caravan park too much because it was just so windy all the time. But on the website, Whyalla Foreshore does list a range of features for families to enjoy. 
Access to beach at Whyalla Foreshore Discovery Park, Eyre Peninsula, South Australia
The caravan park is located right on the beach

Would we stay at Whyalla Foreshore Discovery Park again?

Potentially not, because I thought it felt so much like a car park, crowded and busy. It was also super windy, but I’m not sure what it’s like in other months. 

Whyalla Foreshore Discovery Park located along a dog-friendly beach, Eyre Peninsula, South Australia
The beach next to the caravan park is dog-friendly

Walk the trails at Whyalla Wetlands & grab a bite at Sumthin’ Tastee Cafe 

Whyalla Wetlands

Whyalla Dog-friendly walking trail

We had some time to kill before check-in time for the caravan park, so we decided to walk the trails at the Whyalla Wetlands.

Whyalla Wetlands in the Eyre Peninsula, South Australia
Whyalla Wetlands

The wetlands are located at the south end of Whyalla, and the car park entrance is along Broadbent Terrace/Lincoln Highway.

The Whyalla Wetlands seem like a good pit stop for those travelling with a caravan. The car park has a couple of caravan parking spaces, but we parked our caravan in the industrial area along Keith Street since it was the weekend.

In addition to the walking trails, there’s a café within the wetlands, plenty of picnic shelters, large lawns, and an adventure playground.

Charlie at Whyalla Wetlands in the Eyre Peninsula, South Australia. Sumthin' Tastee Cafe in the background
Charlie at Whyalla Wetlands, Sumthin’ Tastee Cafe in the background

The network of walking trails at the Whyalla Wetlands is very family-friendly, easy, flat, and paved. There was a slight hill towards the central playground from memory, but the rest was fairly level.

You can walk anywhere from 900 metres to 2.5 kilometres at the wetlands. Mind you, we didn’t do too much walking when we went; it was painfully blustery that day!

Sumthin’ Tastee Cafe 

Whyalla Dog-friendly cafe with undercover alfresco seating

Sumthin’ Tastee Cafe is located within the Whyalla Wetlands, near the car park. It’s more like a kiosk with a large covered decked verandah attached, so dogs are welcome inside.

You could also grab your food as takeaway and have a picnic on the lawn, or at one of the many sheltered picnic benches within the wetlands.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Sumthin’ Tastee, but their brunch menu was great, offering a variety of options such as granola, eggs benedict, waffles, French toast, breakfast rolls, and more.

Sumthin' Tastee Cafe located within the Whyalla Wetlands in the Eyre Peninsula, South Australia
Chicken & Waffles at Sumthin’ Tastee

While we ate, there was a consistent flow of customers, and service was fairly fast. It seemed to be a popular spot, and for good reason.

I ordered the Chicken & Waffles, and it was humongous, absolutely value for money at $21.95. Most importantly though, the waffles had a great texture and the chicken moist and flavourful.

My hubby ordered an Egg & Bacon Roll for $11.95, and the amount of bacon was ridiculous (in the best way possible).

They also had a cabinet full of sweet temptations, but after the Chicken & Waffles, I was bursting at the seams!

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Into Chicken & Waffles? Check out The Smelter’s version of Chicken & Waffles, here!

Visit Hummock Hill Lookout 

Whyalla Dog-friendly scenic lookout

The Hummock Hill Lookout is along Queen Elizabeth Drive, this is a one-way road that takes you up the hill to the parking area at the top and then continues down the other side. Take care as it felt windy and steep going up. 

Restored WW2 gun at Hummock Hill Lookout in Whyalla, Eyre Peninsula, South Australia
Restored WW2 gun at Hummock Hill

At the lookout, there’s a large gazebo with benches, a couple of telescopes, information boards, a restored wartime gun (at its original station in WW2) and photo cutout stand with the marina as the background. 

Hummock Hill offers a fantastic vantage point to view the entire township of Whyalla.

From one side, you can see the massive industrial Steelworks site, the port, Whyalla Foreshore and Marina, sweep around to see the town centre and surrounding suburban areas.

Lower lookout position overlooking the large industrial steelworks site and port

Stroll along the Whyalla Foreshore & Whyalla Marina

Whyalla Dog-friendly marina and jetty

I realise, looking through my photos, that I really didn’t take many of the foreshore—I blame the ferocious wind! 

The Whyalla Foreshore is a pretty landscaped area with plenty of picnic shelters, beach shelters, playgrounds, gardens, and large lawn spaces.

The Whyalla Foreshore viewed from along the jetty. Eyre Peninsula, South Australia
The Whyalla Foreshore viewed from along the jetty

Seaview Cafe is along the foreshore, which we tried. Unfortunately, we found the service and food lacking.

Pre-packed salad from Seaview Cafe along the Whyalla Foreshore. Eyre Peninsula, South Australia
The Whyalla Foreshore viewed from along the jetty

Near the cafe is Ada Ryan Gardens; we only walked a short path through it but I think there’s more to see beyond that. Where we walked seemed pretty with abundant bushes and trees.

It’s interesting to visit the foreshore beach at low tide because you can walk out pretty far.

The Whyalla Foreshore Beach at low tide. Eyre Peninsula, South Australia
The Whyalla Foreshore Beach stretches quite far in low tide

The Whyalla Marina 

Whyalla Dog-friendly Marina

The Whyalla Marina is where you can see the gorgeous resident Whyalla Bottlenose Dolphins that frequently come into the marina. I’ve got plenty of photos and videos, but I feel the dolphins deserve their own section! 

At the marina, of course, you have your boats and boat ramp. There’s also a netted swimming enclosure at the corner of the marina closest to the jetty. 

Netted swimming enclosure at the Whyalla Marina. Eyre Peninsula, South Australia
Netted swimming enclosure at the Whyalla Marina

You get a nice view of Hummock Hill from the floating pontoon within the enclosure. 

When the wind isn’t blowing a gale, the marina is a lovely spot to take a leisurely walk. You can walk the jetty and along the two breakwater prongs protecting the marina. 

Me sitting on the floating pontoon in the enclosed swimming area of the Whyalla Marina. Eyre Peninsula, South Australia
Sitting on the floating pontoon in the enclosed swimming area of the Whyalla Marina

The Whyalla Circular Jetty

Whyalla Dog-friendly Jetty

The Whyalla Jetty is a relatively new addition to the marina, it only opened to the public in late 2020. 

As opposed to the traditional wooden jetties you see throughout the South Australian coastline, the Whyalla Jetty is quite modern and has a one-of-a-kind construction! 

Chosen by the community, the jetty design features a large circle with a diameter of 45 metres and a circumference of 150 metres. At night, the entire length of the jetty is illuminated in light. 

The Whyalla Circular Jetty. Eyre Peninsula, South Australia
The circular section of the Whyalla Jetty

Meet the Whyalla Bottlenose Dolphins 

Not dog-friendly

I was so determined to meet the resident Whyalla Dolphins that I may have gone down to the marina nearly every day. 

Unfortunately, the weather was bad pretty much the whole week with violent winds. I only caught glimpses of one or two from afar during that time.

Meeting the playful Whyalla Bottlenose Dolphins up close!

That is until our second-to-last day at Whyalla!

Ideal weather conditions for meeting the dolphins

It was a beautiful day, sunny, with blue skies, and most importantly, the wind was calm. This is the type of weather you need for successful dolphin spotting.

Whyalla Bottlenose Dolphins swimming super close to the pontoon

What time and where to see them

The boats started coming into the marina one by one from about 11:30-ish in the morning. The spot to be is the boat ramp because the dolphins follow the boats in and hang around, hoping to score some fish.

Oh my gosh, what a treat to see these delightful creatures up close and personal. They come right up to the floating pontoon! 

A Whyalla Bottlenose Dolphin following a boat into the marina and fed fish by the fisherman at the boat ramp

As tempting as it is to touch them, because honestly, you’re close enough to boop their noses, it’s best not to. And definitely don’t try to feed them.

The fishermen do that for you anyway. I found that most of them threw the dolphins a fish or two while at the boat ramp.

I highly recommend meeting these cute resident Whyalla Bottlenose Dolphins if you’re in Whyalla. I literally did not have to zoom to take photos!

Plus, it’s a free attraction!

Meeting these oceanside cuties is absolutely free. I don’t know many places where you can see bottlenose dolphins this close.

Travel Tips

What if I’m travelling with a dog?

I didn’t feel like it was appropriate to bring Charlie with me. My hubby doesn’t get excited by dolphins, so he stayed at the caravan park with him while I went out.

If you don’t have that option, there’s actually quite a large parking area at the marina in front of the boat ramp if you want to keep your dog in the comfort of your caravan for a short amount of time.

I saw plenty of people park their caravans there to explore the foreshore and marina.

Brunch at Whisk Away Cafe

Whyalla Dog-friendly cafe with outdoor seating

We brunched at Whisk Away a couple of times, and both times were really enjoyable! I can’t recommend this cafe enough if you’re venturing out to Whyalla.

Whisk Away Cafe in Whyalla, Eyre Peninsula, South Australia
Whisk Away Cafe in the town centre of Whyalla

This sweet cafe is located on the main street (Patterson Street) of town and is walkable from the foreshore and marina. It’s a small venue with maybe three to four outdoor tables.

They have an eclectic range of food, which I think changes quite a bit. 

Mushroom Medley brunch at Whisk Away Cafe in Whyalla, Eyre Peninsula, South Australia
Mushroom Medley Brunch

They have a made-to-order menu, as well as savoury options in their cabinet.

I had their mushroom medley on the first visit and then their salmon rosti with poached egg on the second. Both were delicious and full of flavour, plus the servings are ultra-generous!

Salmon Rosti Brunch at Whisk Away Cafe in Whyalla, Eyre Peninsula, South Australia
Salmon Rosti Brunch

They also have amazing cakes and biscuits on display. I guarantee you’ll find it hard to walk away without indulging in something.

Please note they only open Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Check out their Facebook page for their menu and specials. 

Small cakes from Whisk Away Cafe in Whyalla, Eyre Peninsula, South Australia
Greek Orange Syrup Cake & Strawberry Cupcake

Drive up to Point Lowly Lighthouse

Whyalla Dog-friendly attraction

Point Lowly is about a 25-minute drive out of town, roughly 35 kilometres from Whyalla. 

The lighthouse at Point Lowly is heritage listed and one of the oldest buildings in the area, built in 1883. Unfortunately for us, the structure and the two lighthouse keepers’ cottage were closed off so we didn’t really get a close view. 

Charlie with the Point Lowly Lighthouse in the background. A short drive from Whyalla, Eyre Peninsula, South Australia
Point Lowly Lighthouse a short drive from Whyalla

We walked along the rocky cove near the lighthouse, towards Point Lowly North. From here, you get pretty views of the coastline and if you look across the channel (Spencer Gulf) you can see the Southern Flinders Ranges. 

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Incidentally, I have a set of journal entries all about the Flinders Ranges, click here to read them. 

Also, heading towards Point Lowly North from the lighthouse, you’ll come across a marina and campgrounds. On the other side, there’s a beach with facilities. 

At Point Lowly with views of Spencer Gulf, the coastline and the Southern Flinders Ranges across the water. A short drive from Whyalla, Eyre Peninsula, South Australia
A view of the Southern Flinders Ranges across the Spencer Gulf

Watch the Giant Cuttlefish Migration

Not dog-friendly

From May to August every year, Giant Cuttlefish migrate the waters of the Whyalla coast to reproduce. According to the Whyalla town website, it happens only in this part of the world! 

We visited Whyalla in October so unluckily, we weren’t in the right time frame to experience this unique activity. 

Quoting from the Whyalla town website, these Giant Cuttlefish are apparently one of the largest, some are 60 centimetres in length and can weigh up to 5kg. 

They are the chameleons of the sea, and can change their colour, shape and texture to match their surroundings! 

If you want to find out more about this amazing attraction, visit Whyalla.com

A resident Whyalla Bottlenose Dolphin hoping to score some fish at the boatramp within the marina. Eyre Peninsula, South Australia
I have no cuttlefish photos so here’s a Whyalla Bottlenose Dolphin instead trying to score some fish!

And that’s a wrap!

I hope you’ve enjoyed exploring the port town of Whyalla through this read. If you’re planning to visit the Eyre Peninsula, I absolutely think it’s worth putting on the list.

Especially if you love love love the sight of dolphins, the Whyalla Bottlenose Dolphins swim right up to your feet!

Have you been to any of these places before? Please feel free to share your experiences in the comments or pop in any questions you might have; I’d love to hear from you. 

Safe travels and happy exploring! Thanks for joining me, hope to see you again!

Hey Pawrents,

Planning your dog-friendly Aussie Adventure?

Check out my interactive map full of amazing dog-friendly breweries, cafes, restaurants, pubs, walking trails, beaches and more.

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