It’s a truly amazing spectacle to see and hear the whales which migrate around the coast of Australia in cooler months. It’s a great free activity for all nature lovers. Some areas are better than others, so we’ve put together a list of the best places in each state or territory to take a peek.
Spotting whales in our beautiful top end can be tricky. It’s often more miss than hit. In May 2014, False Killer Whales were viewed in shallow water around Garig Gunak Barlu National Park, north-east of Darwin. This was unusual, as these creatures are usually found in much deeper waters. If you are looking for whales in NT waters, check recent reports.
There are a number of places to do some whale watching in QLD. The following list includes locations and the peak season:
- Gold Coast – May to November
- Hervey Bay – July to November
- Brisbane – June to October
- Sunshine Coast – June to October
- Cairns – July to September
- Whitsundays – May to September
- Great Barrier Reef – March to October
New South Wales
NSW has multiple locations. The following list has been compiled as a guide, based on peak season times, May to November, with the exception of August:
- Port Stephens
- Jervis Bay
- Coffs Harbour
- Nelsons Bay
September to November:
June to November, excluding August:
- Port Macquarie
June to November:
- Byron Bay
June to October:
- Tweed Heads
By far the most popular whale watching area in Victoria is Warnambool. Peak season is from June to September when Southern Right Whales make the annual migration to give birth to their young, along the sheltered coast. Some people have been lucky enough to spot the whales else where around the state, but these sightings are fairly rare.
Tassy isn’t a prime whale watching location, however Bruny Island is known for annual sightings. They pass by during May to July and again during September and December. Once there, some whales congregate for up to five weeks. Humpbacks and Southern Right Whales are regular visitors, while Pygmy Right Whales, Minke Whales and Orca’s or Killer Whales can be seen as they migrating along the coast.
SA has two prime locations, where whales are guaranteed to visit each year. From May to October, Southern Right Whales can be witnessed frolicking, mating, calving and nursing their young. The head of the bight, apparently has the best views, as whales are often viewed as close as 100 metres off the shore.
The second region is along the coastline from Victor Harbour to Goolwa Beach. Middleton, which is located in the middle, is a quaint surfing cove where commuters often view the whales whilst driving past. Once again Southern Right Whales dominate the area. July or August is the peak time, however you might snag you a peak during cooler months.
Albany and Broome are the hot spots around WA. Between June and November Humpback Whales are spotted as they migrate north-west to Broome, while Southern Right Whales migrating from Antarctica are know to visit Albany’s southern bays to mate and give birth.
Image via legendcharters.net.au
By Kim Chartres