We were on holiday in Busselton and decided to spend New Year’s day in Hamelin bay which it is about 1-hour drive (80km) from Busselton and only 15 minutes (20km) from Augusta. Hamelin Bay is one of the best places in Australia to see wild stingrays up close.
As soon we walked on the beach we noticed the rays in the water. I must say at first I felt intimidated as they were huge but within a few minutes, I was amazed to see how gentle and curious they were. We always made sure we stood away from their tails and never stood behind them.
Within few minutes our boys were like the ray’s whisperers. They could attract and safely touch the rays as they were gently approaching them in the shallow water.
When we visited we spotted at least 6 different ‘Smooth’ stingrays (larger, rounder shape) and 3 different ‘Eagle’ rays (smaller, diamond shape). Look out for the large ‘Smooth’ ray with the scar on his back who seemed to be the most confident often swimming right up to our toes nearly beaching itself.
The stingrays usually hang out by the boat ramp waiting for the fishing boats to come back with scrap fish. The rays have become so friendly and unafraid because Hamelin Bay has been a popular fishing spot for many decades. We spent a good hour playing with the friendly rays and then moved on the right of the boat ramp to spend the day on the beach. We, however, took a walk back to the boat ramp to visit the stingrays a few times during the day.
The beach itself is great for snorkelling and beginners on surfboards, the sea is very shallow then drops off but quite far in. Snorkelling and fishing are great around the bay as there are many reefs and rocks to explore.
To see Wild Stingrays in Hamelin bay was extremely exciting for us. Little did we know it would have been so exhilarating meeting and interacting with them. It was the highlight of our holiday – something we will never forget!
Tips and notes –
The stingrays are docile and curious and will only become aggressive if they feel threatened. Do not forget they’re wild animals with poisonous barbs in their tails, so do take care around them! In particular be careful not to accidentally step or fall on one.
– Stingrays usually hang around on the left-hand side of the boat ramp. We have been told in summer they are likely to be there the whole day.
– Plenty of parking is available but during the summer school holidays it can get very busy.
– Toilets and showers are available.
– If you decide to spend the day on the beach, it’s best to bring some shade.
– There are no public BBQs but the Hamelin Bay Caravan Park near the car park and beach has BBQs which can be used after you check in at the Kiosk (small fee applied). The Kiosk also sells pies, snacks and ice cream and few drinks. When we visited (during school holidays) a Yahava coffee van was on site too.
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