The best places to go whale watching in Australia

by Brittany Wheeler

More than 60 per cent of the world’s whale population can be found in Australian waters, offering locals and visitors a rare front row seat to the action. The most commonly sighted whales are southern rights and humpbacks, but there’s also a high chance to spot other species such as blue whales, minke whales and orcas. From the warm tropical waters of Queensland to Bremner Bay in WA, we’ve rounded up Australia’s best whale watching locations. Join one of our unforgettable whale watching cruises or observe the magic from the land at a popular vantage point or viewing platform.

Whale watching cruise
Near Perth, Western Australia

You can witness the majestic beauty of whales and their fascinating array of behaviours all year round in Western Australia. From January to April, join a full day tour around Bremner Bay to spot pods of orcas, or in Augusta from late May to the end of August you can view humpback whales on their northern migration through the Ngari Capes Marine Park. Over in Perth, humpback whales pass through from late August to November and you can get up close and personal with a cruise departing from Hillary’s Boat Harbour.

Whale watching cruise Sydney
Near Sydney, New South Wales

More than 30,000 whales make their way along the NSW coast from May to November each year. Departing from Circular Quay or Manly Wharf, you can get in on the action with a high speed boat tour or venture south to Jervis Bay which has some of the best calm water viewing for a 2-3 hour cruise and make a full day of it. For those living or holidaying up north, Port Stephens, Newcastle and Byron Bay are also hot spots. But if a cruise isn’t your style, Cape Byron Lighthouse, Muttonbird Island Nature Reserve and Coffs Coast Regional Park all offer incredible whale watching vantage points.

Whale watching cruise Melbourne
Near Melbourne, Victoria

Whales can be spotted along the Great Ocean Road, around Phillip Island and down to Gippsland’s south coast between May and early October. Watch humpback whales, southern right whales, blue whales and orcas on their annual pilgrimage with one of our spectacular cruises. Choose from Phillip Island, Port Welshpool or San Remo, or watch from purpose-built viewing platforms and vantage points along the coast.

Man swimming next to humpback whale
Near Brisbane, Queensland

Hervey Bay is Queensland’s premier whale watching area with whales arriving in May and staying until November when they make their return journey to Antarctica. This area provides the perfect conditions for mothers to teach their newborn calves survival skills and we suggest embarking on a full day tour inclusive of a buffet lunch to soak in the magic. If you really want to get in on the underwater theatrics, don’t miss the once in a lifetime opportunity to swim with them right on the Sunshine Coast. For those in Brisbane, an award-winning cruise through Moreton Bay will have you watching in awe while you listen to expert commentary.

Whale watching cruise Bruny Island, Tasmania
Near Hobart, Tasmania

Witness humpback whales and southern right whales coasting past Bruny Island from May to July and September to December. Our full day coastal wilderness tour will have you exploring deep sea caves and cruising alongside some of Australia’s highest cliffs as you keep an eye out for whales, dolphins and seals.

Whale watching cruise
Near Adelaide, South Australia

From June to September, you can catch a glimpse of these gentle giants frolicking around Kangaroo Island, the Fleurieu Peninsula and the Eyre Peninsula. Victor Harbor, located an hour’s south of Adelaide, is one of the best whale watching spots in Australia and also offers you the chance to come in contact with common and bottlenose Dolphins, New Zealand fur seals and Australian Sea Lions on their local sightseeing cruises. On solid ground, the best vantage points include The Bluff, Encounter Bay and Freeman Lookout.

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