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.
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.
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.
Byron local and owner of Go Sea Kayak Byron Bay, Kurt Tutt, says he still gets goosebumps as he paddles alongside some of Australia’s most majestic mammals and sea creatures off the coast of beautiful Byron Bay.
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