EXPEDITIONS > Best time of year

Best Time of Year?

There are two prime seasons for viewing great white sharks at the Neptune Islands in South Australia, these are spring/summer' and 'autumn/winter'.

The first of these is our summer season where thousands of fur seals congregate for their annual pupping and breeding season. Spring/summer shark activity starts in November and usually lasts until the end of February.

The 'winter' season seems to be changing and over the last few years late March and April has become a very good time for shark activity. This is great news as this is the best weather of the year!  We had previously been cautious about recommending this time, however 2011,2012 and 2013 has produced great action shark action throughout.

Advantages at joining us at this time include enjoying longer "summery" days, and warmer water up to 20 C. The generally milder weather of this summer season also allows us more opportunities for island shore parties where we encourage all passengers to explore the wonder of these remote islands on our expedition tender boat. We also have permission to explore the Neptune Islands on land, a unique and unbeatable experience! This is dependent of course of the weather and not when the fur seals are breeding.

On many summery dates bronze whaler and mako sharks also visit us in addition to the great whites.

Our main viewing season however, is from May through to October. This is a time when the growing seal pups that were born in the summer start to venture out further from the safety of the shore and hunt for themselves. This provides a natural food source for the sharks to target and as a result this time of year we witness more natural predation events.

Huge super female great white sharks are seen more reliably in the months of May, June and July. Most shark numbers of all are often recorded in July and August. However September and October does often match July and August and can have clearer water and milder weather and longer daylight hours than earlier months in this season.

The potential downside of the "winter season" is that there is more of a chance of experiencing blustery winter weather. However with the multi-day itinerary, and from our sheltered anchorages and large stable and warm vessel, we can happily operate and view the generally bigger and more active sharks in comfort at this time. Also note that in the offshore winter waters around the Neptune Islands, a warm water current does tend to keep the temperature above 15-16 Celsius.

Summary: Although there are strong annual trends in both shark reliability, activity and weather conditions, great white sharks can actually be found at the Neptune islands in any given month, and we experience great variations and exceptions to rules every season with both the weather and sharks.