Whale watching in Shoalhaven & Jervis Bay

From whale watching cruises to clifftop lookouts in rugged national parks, there are many ways to spot whales in the wild in the Shoalhaven region on the NSW South Coast. Between May and November, more than 30,000 whales cruise past this stretch of coastline, with their acrobatic spectacles making for incredible viewing.

Jervis Bay marks the halfway point on the Humpback Highway, the whales’ 5,000km annual migration to and from warmer waters. The whales use the calm waters of Jervis Bay Marine Park as a place to rest and play with their newborn calves. Dolphins, turtles, seals and a menagerie of other marine life also call these waters home.

Humpback whale migrating off the south coast of NSW near Jervis Bay, South Coast

Land-based lookouts

From the Shoalhaven Heads in the north to Bawley Point in the south, you’ll find spectacular headlands that make for great whale watching. Crookhaven Heads Lighthouseand Penguin Head at Culburra Beach are great vantage points, as is Hammerhead Point, a short drive south near the seaside village of Currarong.

Nearby are the sheer cliffs of the Beecroft Peninsula, a great lookout for spotting whales. You can drive along Lighthouse Road to Point Perpendicular Lighthouse at the northern entrance to Jervis Bay for more dazzling views, while on the southern edge of the bay in Booderee National Park is Cape St George Lighthouse.

Farther south are more headlands perfect for sighting southern right and humpback whales. Head to Warden Head Lighthouse in Ulladulla and Bannisters Head in neighbouring Mollymook for great vantage points and rugged coastal scenery. You might even spot a whale breaching while playing a round of golf at Mollymook Golf Club.

Humpback whale breaching off Jervis Bay on the south coast

Whale-watching cruises

For a close up view of these majestic animals, a whale-watching cruise is the ultimate experience. Jervis Bay Wild and Dolphin Watch Cruises operate tours out of Huskisson, on which you can learn about the whales and their calves from knowledgeable guides. Farther south, join a whale tour with Ulladulla Fishing Charters.

Seal pups basking in the sun in Jervis Bay, South Coast

Meet dolphins & seals

It’s not just whales that frequent the waters of Jervis Bay. Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins are often spotted from shore chasing school fish and socialising in pods. Cruise alongside them on a journey with Dolphin Watch Cruises or get in the water on a boomnet adventure with Jervis Bay Wild.

Shoalhaven is home to two fur seal colonies, found at either headland of the Jervis Bay Marine Park, with numbers peaking during winter. Join a snorkelling tour with Dive Jervis Bay to swim with the seals. Snorkellers and divers will also encounter more than 220 species of fish, as well as weedy sea dragons and stingrays.

For more information about whale watching on the NSW South Coast, visit the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service website.