Whale watching tours are planned adventures that allow you to view whales in their natural habitat; swimming and leaping from the ocean, in what is known as breaching.
May to November is the perfect time to go whale watching in Australia. During summer, whales live in the southern waters. As winter approaches, whales migrate north to warmer waters.
This makes the southern hemisphere winter and spring ideal times to go whale watching. In late spring, you will see baby whales with their mothers.
Whale watching can be from a boat, as a walking tour of the shoreline or, from vantage points around the coastline.
Whale watching is an outdoor activity, often in cool, windy and sunny weather.
To make your whale watching adventure enjoyable, consider taking these things with you:
If you get motion sickness, seek advice from your doctor or pharmacist prior to booking a whale watching boat tour.
The most common types of whales you will see are humpback and southern rights during whale watching season. It’s also possible to see blue, minke, killer and pilot whales. Sperm whales are quite rare. Sometimes you may also see dolphins or seals.
If you are lucky, you may see Migaloo, a pure-white, albino whale if you go whale watching in Queensland or New South Wales.
Many organised whale watching boat tours take you out closer to whales. By law, whale watching boats cannot get too close to the whales and, no one is allowed to touch them.
Many boats have a money-back offer that you will see whales. These boats have technology that lets the captain find the whales. Some boats include headphones so you can listen to whale-songs.
The majority of Australia’s coast, with the exception of the Northern Territory, is filled with great whale watching spots.
The best way to find a tour that suits you is to decide if you want to go on a whale watching boat, or stay on shore. Local tourism centres and websites, and local hotels will have details of whale watching tours in your area.
There are many places in go whale watching in New South Wales. In Sydney, it is possible to go whale watching from many of the beaches and cliffs around the city.
Areas such as Botany Bay, La Perouse, Maroubra, Bondi and North Head are common vantage points for whale watching during migration season. Whale watching boats also operate from Circular Quay, Manly and Darling Harbour.
Other areas outside of Sydney popular for whale watching include Wollongong, the Kiama Blowhole, Seven Mile Beach, Jervis Bay, Batemans Bay, Eden and Ulladulla.
North of Sydney, whale watching is common in Newcastle, Terrigal, Port Stephens, Foster, Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, Byron Bay and Coolangatta.
The Great Ocean Road has many vantage points for whale watching. At Warrnambool, a special viewing platform at Logans Beach makes seeing southern right whales an easy, shore-based adventure.
Southern right whales and blue whales can also be spotted around Portland.
The coast line from Cape Bridgewater to Narrawong, is dotted with great whale watching spots.
Up and down the Queensland coast, whales are visible from the shore during migration. Whale watching boat tours are available on the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast, Hervey Bay, Brisbane’s Moreton Bay, Tangalooma, Redcliffe, Stradbroke Island, Heron Island, Keppel Island, Yeppoon, the Whitsundays and Cairns.
South Australia is home to the Great Australian Bight Marine Park Sanctuary for southern right whales. Victor Harbour, about 80km south of Adelaide is the best vantage point for whale watching.
Whale watching is possible anywhere along the South Australian coastline during whale migration season.
In Tasmania, the best whale watching destinations are Frederick Henry Bay and Great Oyster Bay. Look out for dolphins and seals while on Tasmania whale watching tours!
Whale watching season is longest in Western Australia, starting in May and ending in December. Humpback, southern right and blue whales can all be seen on whale watching tours in Western Australia.
Whale watching tours are available in Perth, Fremantle and Augusta.
Coastal spots between Albany and Esperance are popular whale watching spots during migration season. Humpbacks go as far north up the WA coast as Exmouth, Broome and The Kimberley.
If you head offshore from Dunsborough, about 250km south of Perth, you can join a whale watching tour of Bremer Bay Canyon where you will discover the largest pod of killer whales in the Southern Hemisphere.
Whales are huge mammals, and seeing them breaching the ocean is an incredible experience.
Australia is fortunate to have so many great vantage points for amazing whale watching experiences that everyone can enjoy.