The Great Australian Bight is the area off the coast of the central and western part of southern Australia, much of it lying due south of the Nullarbor Plain, which straddles the two states of South Australia and Western Australia. It was discovered by a Dutch navigator, Captain Thyssen, in 1627. The coast was charted by the English explorer Captain Matthew Flinders 1802.
The coast line is characterised by stunning cliff faces, surfing beaches and whale-watching platforms. The waters of the Great Australian Bight, despite being relatively shallow, are not fertile. While most continental shelves are rich in sea life and make popular fishing areas, the barren deserts north of the bight have very little rainfall, and what there is mostly flows inland, to dissipate underground or in salt lakes. In consequence, the Great Australian Bight receives very little of the runoff that fertilises most continental shelves and is essentially a marine desert. The bight is very stormy during winter months.