18 Feb 2018
With one of the longest whale watching seasons in the world and sixty per cent of whale species calling our waters home, Australia is one of the best places in the world for whale spotting.
Whale watching season begins in May and finishes in December. During this period, these playful giants make their annual pilgrimage north to warmer waters of the Australian west and east coast. It’s not unusual to be able to simply spot them right off the beaches and cliffs along our vast coastlines.
Are you planning a whale watching trip this season? We’ve rounded up the top whale watching spots around Australia to help you with your travel plans.
Read also: How to dress for whale watching
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. We highly recommend signing up for any whale watching tours to reach the whales beyond the Ningaloo Reef. Places like the Kimberley are hotspots 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 calve (give birth) between September and December. If you’re lucky, you can also catch the tail-end of the season in places like Fremantle - close to Discovery Parks - Woodman Point, and Coogee cliff-face, which is located right by Discovery Parks - Coogee Beach.
Did you know? Humpback whales are the most acrobatic of the species. By simply venturing out to their temporary home, you will get to watch these gentle creatures leap, roll, flipper slap, and generally have a whale of a time in their winter getaway.
One-third of whales are born in the bays of the Great Australian Bight in The Head of Bight region. This 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, mother whales and their calves swim in Guichen Bay by the famous Obelisk.
New South Wales
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.
Forster is also a popular spot to catch the migration of these giant mammals. Cosy up at Discovery Parks - Forsters, then head out to Tuncurry Beach (Nine Mile Beach) or Pilot Hill with your binoculars for a grand show!
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.
Read also: Whale watching at Hervey Bay
Logans Beach Road in Warrnambool is an ideal location to catch the ‘Right’ whales (or also known as black whales) arriving in June through September. The name ‘Right’ was given to the whales for their slow movements, which makes for great whale watching as it 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 rare occasion, other species like the Minke whale and Orca can be spotted in deep waters as they migrate past the island.
How to dress for whale watching
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 a wet, chilly 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 bring the sunscreen to slip-slop-slap!
Your whale watching attire checklist:
- Digital Camera with strap and waterproof case
- Sunscreen and zinc
- Water bottle