What if you could find a place where stingrays are so friendly and tame that they will casually swim along side you, and on some occasions even feed out of your hand? What if you could do this at a local south west beach, with no cost, no huge crowds, and no appointment needed? The place exists, and it is called Hamelin Bay. Around 20km north of Augusta, Hamelin Bay is well known for it’s stingrays. The number and size of them are amazing, and it is not uncommon to see some that are between 1 and 2 meters across.
They have a habit of swimming around snorkellers at fairly close range, and certain times of the day they congregate around the boat ramp and feed off the scraps left by fisherman. The combination of the friendly stingrays, plus the interesting fish and plant life in the bay make it a great snorkelling spot, whatever your swimming level. There are shallow points for those who like to stay close to shore, as well as some great rocks and even shipwrecks for those that want to go out much further. Whatever your preference, the water is usually very clear and calm.
Hamelin Bay, once the port for the sawmills at Karridale, is a sleepy little settlement which is now no more than a camping area, a beautiful beach, some islands near the shore, and a couple of remnant jetties which are literally no more than a few pylons and weathered timbers. At its height Hamelin Bay was a major timber port. The main jetty was 549 m long. However exposure to the open sea was always a problem and in 1900, during a period of particularly violent storms, five ships were wrecked in the vicinity.