Whale Watching in Port Stephens

There are many ways to enjoy the spectacle of whale watching season in beautiful Port Stephens, from whale watching cruises to lofty coastal lookouts. In addition to admiring the beauty of these majestic mammals, more than 100 bottlenose dolphins call this area on the NSW North Coast home and can be seen year-round.

A humpback whale breaching as it passes the Port Stephens coast

Between May and November, thousands of humpback and southern right whales make their annual migration to and from warmer waters. Throughout this period, it’s possible to spot these huge, graceful creatures as they cruise up and down the east coast of Australia to feed, warm up and give birth.

Couple enjoying a dolphin watching cruise with Moonshadow Cruises in Port Stephens

Whale watching cruises

Several whale and dolphin cruises depart from the Nelson Bay marina. Moonshadow – TQC Cruises and Imagine Cruises offer whale and dolphin watching cruises, as well as sunset dinner cruises and snorkelling tours in the calm blue waters of Port Stephens. Hoist a sail with Blue Water Sailing, and quietly glide with the whales and dolphins.

Couple enjoying the coastal views along Tomaree Head Summit Walk, Port Stephens

Lookouts

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 but invigorating Tomaree Head summit walk for one of Australia’s best panoramic views, perfect for sighting whales.

The heritage-listed Port Stephens Lighthouse on Fingal Island

Spot humpbacks breaching and southern rights spy-hopping from 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 sand spit to Fingal Island and an 1862-built lighthouse, though the safest way to travel to the island is by boat.

Dolphins swimming in Shoal Bay - Port Stephens

Swim with dolphins

During the warmer months, Dolphin Swim Australia offers the unique opportunity to swim with resident bottlenose dolphins. You’ll feel like you’re part of the pod as you witness dolphins frolicking in the ocean up close. The only experience of its kind in NSW, the tour has been approved by the Marine Parks Authority NSW and NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service.