Swim with Australian sea lions in Jurien Bay, a coastal holiday, tourist and fishing town in the Wheatbelt region of Western Australia, 220km from Perth.
Western Australia’s marine areas are among the least disturbed in the world, rich in biodiversity as the WA coast overlaps two biogeographic regions – the tropical hot north and the windy, temperate south. For a once in a life time experience when visiting Western Australia, you have got to swim with playful sea lions, who I like to refer to as the ‘puppy dogs of the sea’.
I did this last year with a friend when we road tripped to Jurien Bay and stayed the weekend up there. It was an awesome experience, very memorable and I highly recommend others to do it. Read all about it below.
About Jurien Bay
Jurien Bay is a family holiday favourite on the WA’s coast that offers great fishing, great beaches, windsurfing hot spots and plenty of accommodation options. It’s ranked among the top WA fishing spots and is also a great place to go crayfishing.
One particular activity that is unique to only jurien Bay that you can do here is diving and snorkelling with endangered Australian sea lions at the protected Jurien Bay Marine Park.
About Sea Lion Charters
There is a Sea Lion Charter Tour in Jurien Bay that allows you to swim with sea lions in the protected Marine Park. They also offer whale watching tours. My friend and I booked with them in advance. They are a relatively small operation, which makes the seal swimming experience very personal and the staff are very knowledgable and passionate about the sea lions, not only ensuring your safety, but the seals welfare too. The tour was very easy going but safe at the same time.
They also include a morning tea after your cruise and share stories about the areas history. Oh and don’t be worried about sharks either – because you’ll be swimming with seals in a very shallow area that is surrounded and protected by reef – shark’s won’t be able to even enter it (also the chances of seeing a shark anyway are next to nothing).
My Seal Lion Experience!
I am prone to sea sickness you see, and I forgot to take my motion sickness medicine. Seriously, don’t forget your sea sickness medicine, otherwise you’re going to have a hard time spinning in circles and doing water cartwheels to attract them – as they won’t come to you unless you look like you’re having a crazy fun time.
Yeah.. Not going to lie, I was in struggle town with sea sickness here.
Despite throwing up on the boat and in the water, I managed to still have a great time (it’s hard not to when sea lions are playing with you, they are so cute). So many curious seals came over to visit us. One nibbled on my fin and another got right up and close to my face and blew bubbles at me! I also witnessed two in some sort of erotic seal mating dance. All in all, swimming with seals make the sea lions certainly makes for great photos. This is one of those experiences where an underwater GoPro is essential.
Here are some more pictures below of how playful these Australian sea lions get with humans underwater:
We swam and snorkelled in a very shallow area that is surrounded and protected by reef, making it absolutely shark-proof for those who are particularly paranoid about sharks. That small island is where the sea lions and their big sugar daddy hang out – a ‘bull’ is what a male seal lion is called.
We were advised to not go too close to this island for obvious reasons, as we don’t want the bull charging at us and to not scare the sea lions too much, as that is their home base. The staff were saying they’ve worked hard to establish a trust relationship between them and humans for decades, and for that reason, the bull doesn’t mind his girls taking breaks from him to play with visitors. What a stand up guy! Bulls may reach about 2.5 metres long and weigh up to 300 kilograms. Here he is in the picture below:
Other Jurien Bay Attractions:
Still need some convincing on why you should drive 2 hours up to Jurien Bay if not for swimming with seal lions?”
- Enjoy safe swimming in the tranquil area within the inland harbour, or more excitement in the surf at the other beaches in the bay. All have pristine white sand and enticing clear waters, and some are also good for windsurfing.
- Dive or snorkel WA’s Jurien Bay Marine Park and see the endangered Australian sea lions
- Go skydiving and land on the beach or take a scenic flight of the area.
- Check out the vibrant Jurien Bay Marina.
- Fish for your supper from the beaches, the Jurien Bay Jetty or the limestone groynes. If you’ve brought your own boat along, fuel, jetties, ramps and pens are all available to the public.
- Visit nearby Lesueur National Park for wonderful wildflower displays and magnificent views from the lookouts, walking trails and scenic drive.
- Take a drive south to Cervantes to see the magical Pinnacles of Nambung National Park.
- Catch the Blessing of the Fleet, a lively local event held every November.
Jurien Bay Accommodation & Further Info
Make the most of all that Jurien Bay has to offer and spend the weekend up there. There’s a good selection of accommodation options available.
Search the Cervantes & Jurien Bay Accommodation list here.
Alternatively, you can visit the Dandaragan Shire website for more information on accommodation, tours and local attractions.