Whether you’re a National Geographic enthusiast or new to nature, the whale watching season is here and Australia has a plethora of viewing spots ready for you. So pack up the car, head for that well-earned road trip, take in some of Australia’s coastal highlights and witness one of the greatest ocean migrations in the world.
Australia is one of the best places in the world to see whales, we are privy to more than 45 species of whales, dolphins and porpoises – in fact nearly 60% of the world’s whales can be found in our waters. Off the Australian coast the most commonly sighted whales are Southern Rights and Humpbacks that make their annual migration up the west and east coast of Australia from Antarctica, to breed and mate. There is also a chance to see other species including Blue Whales, Minke Whales and Orcas, from many spots along Australia’s coast line.
Here are Australia’s best Whale Watching spots -
New South Wales
Coffs Harbour – The whales are sure to entertain at Coffs Harbour between early May until late November. Due to their close proximity to the cliffs, the whales are renowned for their wonderful performance in this region with plenty of excellent whale viewing spots to choose from.
For accommodation in this region, take a look at BIG4 Emerald Beach or NRMA Darlington Beach Holiday Park.
Tweed Heads – Enjoy spotting Humpbacks as they continue their migration. However be sure to keep an eye out for Migaloo – the only albino Humpback Whale known in existence, who frequents Tweed Heads in June when migrating North and then in September on the return migration south. Share whale watching stories by night at BIG4 Tweed Billabong Holiday Park.
South West Rocks – The waters surrounding South West Rocks become a temporary home for migrating whales and their calves from April through to November. Perched on top of a headland, with a 360 degree view of the coastline, the Smoky Cape Lighthouse makes for a fabulous vantage point to observe majestic humpback whales, Southern right whales, pilot whales and dolphins. Stay at BIG4 South West Rocks.
Port Macquarie – Take a boat ride between July and October; enjoy first hand the wonderful view of Humpback whales. The whales are smart and sometimes even put on an impromptu show for boat passengers. Try your luck at whale spotting and stay at nearby BIG4 Bonny Hills Holiday Park or Sundowner Breakwall Tourist Park.
Sydney – The region of Sydney has two distinct seasons for whale watchers. Their season spans from April to December as Humpbacks continue their migration. The inshore currents are typically stronger and whales take advantage of the favourable conditions, smart creatures! Stay at BIG4 Sydney Lakeside Holiday Park or Sydney Gateway Holiday Park.
Port Stephens – Whether its whale watching, dolphin spotting or snorkeling, with 26 golden sandy beaches, you’ll be spoilt for choice. A great destination to admire the acrobatic displays of Humpback whales on their annual northern migration from June to August. Base yourself at BIG4 Karuah Jetty, BIG4 Koala Shores Port Stephens Holiday Park or BIG4 Soldiers Point Holiday Park.
Merimbula – Though the migration of Humpback whales is the main attraction from July to December, take the chance to see Blue, Minke and false killers. Whale watching cruises are available and have your camera ready to capture whale aerobics – breaching and jumping out of the water! A spectacle for all, stay at nearby BIG4 Merimbula Tween Waters Resort and NRMA Merimbula Beach Holiday Park.
Eden – The first Humpbacks can be viewed in this far-south coastal town between June and August. Whale watching by day and relax at either BIG4 Eden Gateway Holiday Park or Twofold Bay Beach Resort by night.
Hervey Bay – Humpbacks have made Hervey Bay part of their annual migration south. They begin to arrive from mid- July where they’ll remain until late November before heading south again. Due to the sheltered waters the Humpbacks often rest or play with their young before heading South. Stay at BIG4 Point Vernon Holiday Park or Fraser Lodge Holiday Park.
Gold Coast & Brisbane – From May till November you’ll find many Humpbacks. Whales hover close to the shores providing great viewing and wonderful photo opportunities for visitors. Place yourself at BIG4 Gold Coast Holiday Park, NRMA Treasure Island Holiday Park, BIG4 Tweed Billabong Holiday Park or BIG4 Brisbane Northside Caravan Village.
Sunshine Coast – Escape to warmer weather and watch the winter migration of Humpback whales from June. The whales head south in October so you can watch them on both journeys, stay at BIG4 Forest Glen Holiday Park, BIG4 Maroochy Palms Holiday Village, BIG4 Noosa Bougainvillia Holiday Park or Caloundra Waterfront Holiday Park.
Cairns – From July to November, watch the gentle giants of our waters; the Humpback as they impress. The warmer waters mean visitors can enjoy a water spectacle, stay at BIG4 Cairns Coconut Holiday Resort or BIG4 Cairns Crystal Cascades Holiday Park.
Whitsundays – From May to September Humpback whales call the waters in and around the Whitsunday Islands home. Humpbacks can be seen amongst the islands and occasionally on the Great Barrier Reef with their young. Don’t miss this spectacle and stay at BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort or Airlie Cove Resort and Van Park.
Exmouth – Between April and July Whale Sharks visit Exmouth to feed on zoo plankton. Don’t miss the opportunity to swim with these beautiful whales and enjoy a stay at Exmouth Cape Holiday Park.
Albany – Humpbacks travelling north –west can be viewed from Albany’s bays from June to November. Southern Right whales also migrate north from Antarctica but they shelter in Albany’s southern bays to mate and give birth before returning south. Stay at BIG4 Albany Gardens Holiday Resort or BIG4 Middleton Beach Holiday Park.
Perth – Follow the migration from Perth or enjoy a scenic day trip to Rottnest Island. Did you know Whale Sharks can grow up to 16 meters in length? Whether it’s a whale watching cruise or coastal vantage point you choose, base yourself at Discovery Holiday Parks – Perth, Perth Vineyards Holiday Park or Woodman Point Holiday Park.
Melbourne – In Victoria, whale watchers can see Southern Right whales, Humpbacks, Bottlenose dolphins and the Australian Fur Seal. Start your whale watching trip from Melbourne and book an accredited cruise, stay at Melbourne BIG4 Holiday Park, Ashley Gardens BIG4 Holiday Village, BIG4 Dandenong Tourist Park or BIG4 Frankston Holiday Park.
Warrnambool – Each year Southern Right whales return to Warrnambool to give birth in the sheltered bays along the coast. Enjoy the free viewing platform off Logans Beach, which is open year round; whales are best spotted from June until September. Stay nearby at BIG4 Hopkins River Holiday Park or Discovery Holiday Parks – Warrnambool.
Whether it’s a memorable cliff top walk or scenic cruise that you choose, plan a memorable holiday and capture memories to last a life time.
PS – Don’t forget your camera!