18 Feb 2018
With one of the longest whale watching seasons in the world and sixty percent of whale species calling our waters home, Australia is one of the best places in the world for whale spotting.
Beginning in May and finishing in December, the playful giants continue north to warmer waters to the west and east coasts and can come so close to the shore, they can be spotted right off beaches and cliff faces along our vast coastlines.
Your best chance of spotting a whale will be around midday, particularly when the sun is shining directly overhead and we recommend jumping on a whale watching cruise get the best of the tail slapping, breaching action.
So where are the places to see whales?
We’ve rounded up the top whale watching spots around Australia.
The beginning of the season kicks off in Flinders Bay, Augusta where migrating whales come to rest and feed on zooplankton which thrives in the warmer climate. Stay at Discovery Parks - Bunbury Village or Discovery Parks - Bunbury Foreshore to start your journey off right!
Further north, humpback whales can be seen frolicking in Kalbarri, Exmouth, Coral Bay and Broome. Although, at this point, it’s best to join a tour to reach the whales beyond the Ningaloo Reef with places like the Kimberley being a hotspot to see mothers and calves stopping to rest and recharge in the waters of Camden Sound and Broome’s Pender Bay.
On the return journey, whales take shelter in Albany’s southern bays to mate and give birth between September and December. And, if you’re lucky you can catch the tail-end of the season in places like Fremantle, close to Discovery Parks - Woodman Point, and Coogee cliff-face, right by Discovery Parks - Coogee Beach.
One-third of whales are born in the bays of the Great Australian Bight, particularly in The Head of Bight region which provides spectators with excellent cliff-top viewing between May and October. Stay at Discovery Parks - Streaky Bay Foreshore before or after you hit the Nullarbor.
Down on the Limestone Coast by Robe, the mother whales and their calves swim in Guichen Bay by the famous Obelisk.
New South Whales
Humpback whales travel towards the bays of Eden in search of warmer waters between June and August. Stay at Discovery Parks - Eden to be close to the action.
Just a few months later the whales put on a truly spectacular show for viewers as mothers and calves start to arrive in pods and can be seen close to the shorelines with swimming by their young.
Up by the Central Coast? The lookout by Norah Head lighthouse is a local vantage point to see the migration.
At the start of May, humpback whales make their way to the Whitsunday Islands near Airlie Beach for the shallow, sheltered and warm water—perfect calving grounds for newborn whales.
Indeed, it’s not until July, that the whales start to arrive into Hervey Bay, a regular stop for pods as they migrate south.
Logans Beach Road in Warrnambool is an ideal location to catch the ‘right’ whales arriving in June through September. The name ‘Right’ was given to the whales for their slow movements, which is great for whale watching and almost guarantees visitors an opportunity to spot a whale or two.
Keep an eye out for rare blue whales which can be spotted feeding in deeper waters during the end of May.
Stay at Discovery Parks - Warrnambool.
Adventure Bay by Bruny Island is where humpback and southern right whales pass through close to the shoreline during May and July and occasionally September and December.
On the rare occasion, other species like Minke whale and Orca can be spotted in deep waters as they migrate past the island.
What to Wear:
May through September can be quite cool in the water, and even colder if the wind is blowing a gust. Add in the ocean spray and you’re in for quite an adventure.
Anything waterproof is definitely the way to go from shoes to pants, even a spray-proof jacket will come in handy if you’re watching in deep waters.
Come spring, lighters clothes are the way to go, especially if you’re heading out at midday. Just remember to slip-slop-slap!
Your backpack checklist:
• Digital Camera with strap and waterproof case
• Sunscreen and zinc
• Water bottle
• Snacks (the munchies are sure to make themselves known after two plus hours out on the water)