Whale watching in Byron Bay

Whale watching in Byron Bay

Every year, from May through November, more than 25,000 humpback whales travel up and down the east coast of Australia on their annual migratory path from Antarctica. They linger in the warm waters off the Byron Bay coast, the most easterly point on the mainland, providing ample opportunities for spotting these gentle giants as they breach and blow – whether from shore, on a cruise or in a kayak. 

Humpback whale breaching and rolling

Credit: Wild About Whales, National Parks

Whale watching on dry land 

The Cape Byron Headland Reserve is where thousands of morning people flock every year to watch the first sunrise across mainland Australia – this is the continent’s most easterly point (islands excluded). Views abound for observing migrating whales, whether you’re at the whitewashed Cape Byron Lighthouse that gleams year-round, or wandering through glorious coastal forest to deserted beaches. 

Cape Byron Lighthouse, Byron Bay

Sunrise at Cape Byron Lighthouse, Byron Bay - Credit: Murray Vanderveer, Office of Environment and Heritage

Travel just 30min south to coastal Ballina to watch whale acrobatics from Lighthouse Beach (also a hotspot for seabirds and dolphins), or from the viewing platforms at Angels Beach, Flat Rock and Skennars Head. Rocky Point and the Pat Morton lookout in Lennox Head also provide ideal vantages.  

To experience the best such vistas up and down the coast, book a tour taking you to top whale-watching locations with Boomerang Bus Byron Bay.  

 

Whale watching from the water 

Want to get closer to the whale-watching action? Companies along the coast offer eco-friendly cruises out to ogle these agile creatures in their natural environment. Try Blue Bay Whale Watching, Wild Byron or Out of the Blue Adventures – the latter is the only tour in the area with a marine biologist on board.  

Some cruise boats have hydrophones that let you listen to humpback whales singing; many are escorted by experienced marine biologists with expert insight into these fascinating creatures. 

For eye-level encounters with the whales, take a tour with Go Sea Kayak Byron Bay or Cape Byron Kayaks, or snorkel around Julian Rocks with Sundive Byron Bay. If you have your own equipment, paddle and snorkel through Cape Byron Marine Park to enjoy dolphins and whales in your wake. Does it get any better than this? 

Aerial over a guided kayak tour with Go Sea Kayak, Byron Bay

Go Sea Kayak, Byron Bay

For more information about whale watching in Byron Bay, visit the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service website.