Where to go Whale Watching in Sydney & Surrounds

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Whale watching in Sydney is an incredible time of year when the waters along the New South Wales coast burst into life! Thousands of whales migrate north from the cold Southern Ocean to feed and breed in the warmth of the Pacific.

The Humpback Highway runs right alongside the New South Wales coast and each year more than 30,000 whales make their annual migration from Antarctica to the Pacific (and back again).

Nature lovers can revel in whale encounters from numerous scenic coastal lookouts and walking tracks. Or for those who want to get closer to the action, hop aboard a whale-watching cruise and observe humpback and southern right whales in their natural habitat. Whichever way you do it, whale watching in NSW is a must-do activity - enjoy!

Where to go Whale Watching in Sydney & Surrounds

Whale watching in Sydney
Look out for Migaloo, the famous white whale, on his journey from Antarctica to Queensland.

When is the Whale Watching Season in Sydney?

Whale watching season runs from late autumn to early spring, between May and November. However, the best time to see these majestic mammals in action is late June and early July - around the time of the winter solstice.

During May, June and July, the whales head north toward the warm tropical North Queensland waters. In September, October and November, they head south back to their home ground in Antarctica.

Whale Watching Vantage Points in Sydney

Sit back and behold the whales pass by from the lookouts at Sydney Harbour’s North and South Head. The best vantage points are high places with good elevation, sticking out east into the ocean.

Hit up North and South Head for some of the best vantage points, where the elevation and eastern outlook provide primo whale-spotting conditions. For a different perspective, check out Barrenjoey Head at Palm Beach, or set up a picnic at Mona Vale Headland. For those in the east, the cliffside walk at Watsons Bay is a top pick.

For on-the-water whale watching in Sydney, Captain Cook CruisesFantaSea CruisingOz Whale Watching and Manly Ocean Adventures are just some of the whale-watching cruise boats that leave from Circular Quay, Darling Harbour and Manly.

Whale Watching on the NSW North Coast

Whale watching in Sydney
Port Macquarie on the NSW North Coast is a whale-watching hotspot!

Cruise with Coolangatta Whale Watch near Tweed Heads or catch the whales from Cape Byron, the most easterly point in Australia. Get adventurous with Go Sea Kayak Byron Bay, or enjoy panoramic views from Ballina Head Lookout.

Iluka and Wooli offer spectacular coastal views and boat tours to get up close with the whales, while Coffs Harbour offers the unique chance to swim alongside these giants.

Whale watching in Newcastle
Take a cruise through Newcastle Harbour to see whales frolic in the open water.

Scope out whales from multiple points in Port Stephens (Tomaree Headland, Barry Park at Fingal Bay, Fisherman’s Beach, Birubi Point and Stockton Beach north of Newcastle), or take a thrilling ride with Port Macquarie Seaplanes for an aerial view.

RELATED: 20 awesome things to do in Port Macquarie.

Combine a scenic bushwalk with whale watching at Lake Macquarie, or spot these ocean giants from Shepherds Hill Lookout in NewcastleNOVA Cruises make the short trip from Newcastle Harbour to spot whales in the open water.

Whales breaching
The stunning hub of Port Stephens is overflowing with vantage points.


Whale Watching on the NSW South Coast

Jervis Bay is a hotspot for whales, especially to see them play with their newborn calves. Jervis Bay Wild will get you close to the action, or head to Penguin Head or Caves Beach for shore-based watching.

Whales in Jervis Bay
You'll have a whale of a time in beautiful Jervis Bay!

Narooma Charters offer tours to Montague Island where you can see pods of whales, and further south, Merimbula Marina guarantees whale sightings with their cruises.

Joined to the mainland by a sand bar, Broulee Island is a great vantage point. It only takes about an hour to walk around the small island and there are views from all sides. At Toragy Point near Moruya, a panoramic lookout has information about whales and marine life as well as great views.

Dive into history and modern-day whale watching in Eden. Check out the Killer Whale TrailCat Balou Cruises and Freedom Charters, or join the festivities at the Eden Whale Festival for a full experience.

More Winter Fun in Sydney

Visit a Glow Worm Cave in NSW
Where to Go Winter Fruit Picking
Sydney's Best Winter Festivals

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