Bioluminescence in Jervis Bay

Jervis Bay is famous for many things – white sand, crystal clear waters and whale watching to name a few. Jervis Bay is also one of the few places in Australia where you can witness the incredible natural phenomena known as bioluminescence.

There have been some incredible displays over the years, but the light show witnessed by lucky spectators in July 2020 was reported to be one of the brightest ever. We haven’t been lucky enough to have a bioluminescence event in 2021, but there’s still time! Famously unpredictable, bioluminescence was seen in Southern California in March 2021, after an epic six-week stint in 2020. Typically it only lasts for short periods, so your best chance to catch bioluminescence is by following the hashtags #bio2021 or #bioluminescence on social media.


What Is Bioluminescence?


Bioluminescence Jervis Bay 2020


Known as the blue tide, bioluminescence makes the ocean glow blue, green and sometimes red. But what is the scientific explanation?

According to Catalyst:

Bioluminescence – is a chemical reaction inside a living cell which generates light. From sea creatures to mushrooms, bioluminescence provides a glowing existence.

Certain conditions (usually an algae bloom of plankton) create large amounts of bioluminescence (also known as Sea Sparkle) in the water which will glow when disturbed by a wave or a splash in the water.



Where Can I See Bioluminescence in Jervis Bay? 


Bioluminescence can only be witnessed at a few locations around the world and it is notoriously difficult to photograph. It is also difficult to predict, with its appearance relying on the right temperatures and wind.

When bioluminescence arrives in Jervis Bay, it can be seen in a number of locations.  Head to your nearest local beach after dark and you will probably get lucky. We’ve seen it at Barfluer Beach just north of Plantation Point, Callala Bay  and Blenheim Beach.

There were significant bioluminescence events in Jervis Bay in 2018, 2019 and 2020, so it would seem we’re on a bit of a roll.



Where Else Can I See Bioluminescence?


In Australia, bioluminescence has also been witnessed in Preservation Bay, Tasmania and Port Lincoln, South Australia. Outside of Australia, you might be lucky enough to witness bioluminescence in the following locations:


  • New Zealand (Auckland)
  • Puerto Rico (Mosquito Bay and Paquera Bay)
  • Mexico (Puerto Escondido)
  • Thailand (Krabi and Railay Bay)
  • Southern California (Crescent Bay and Crystal Cove)
  • Hong Kong (Sam-Mun-Tsai Beach)
  • Japan (Toyama Bay)


Learn more about bioluminescence in this definitive guide to sea sparkle. If you love nature and are visiting Jervis Bay in the coming months, check out our whale watching and dolphin cruises. Got a question? Contact our friendly reservations team.

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