Whale Watching in Port Stephens
You'll have a whale of a time in Port Stephens, a beautiful destination for whale watching only 2h 30min drive north of Sydney. Spot humpbacks breaching and southern rights spy-hopping between May and November from vantage points along the spectacular coast and on whale-watching cruises.
Tens of thousands of whales migrate along the NSW coast every year. In late autumn humpbacks swim north to breeding grounds and return south in spring to feed in the Antarctic over summer. During the southern migration you might spot humpback mothers with their new born calves.
Pods of whales are easy to spot from Tomaree National Park, a splendid backdrop to the charming towns of Nelson Bay, Shoal Bay, Fingal Bay and Boat Harbour. Take the short Tomaree Head summit walk for one of Australia’s best panoramic views, perfect for sighting humpbacks and other whales.
Another popular vantage point is the Barry Park whale-watching platform, at the southern end of lovely Fingal Bay Beach. At the northern end of the wonderfully curved beach is a tidal sandspit to Fingal Island and an 1862-built lighthouse, though the best way to travel to the island is by boat.
The Port Stephens-Great Lakes Marine Park’s sparkling blue waters extend east to the three nautical mile limit, providing a haven for migrating whales and resident bottlenose dolphins. You can spot playful dolphins all year from rocky headlands and sandy beaches or on dolphin-watching cruises.
Several whale and dolphin cruises depart from the Nelson Bay marina. Moonshadow- TQC Cruises and offer both whale and dolphin cruises, as well as sunset and other blissful cruises in the calm blue waters. Hoist a sail with Blue Water Sailing and glide with the whales and dolphins.
You can swim with wild dolphins, too. Dolphin Swim Australia offers the opportunity to swim with resident bottlenose dolphins between September and May. The tour operator also offers regular dolphin-watching cruises. Dolphins and whales are members of the same animal order, cetaceans.