Merimbula & Sapphire Coast Whale Watching
Sapphire Coast waters provide a spectacular feeding ground for whales. It all begins in late winter when huge numbers of whales, primarily humpbacks and lone southern right whales, stop to feed their young before the last stage of their journey to Antarctica.
It is here that the warm East Australia Current and the nutrient rich Arctic flow converge to create an explosion of krill and pilchards that sustains life above and below the waves, year after year. You may very well encounter a spectacular humpback or rare blue whale, minke, southern right or orca. The area thrives with other sea life as well, such as common and bottlenose dolphins, seals, penguins, sunfish and turtles.
Experience a whale from close quarters, on an unforgettable boat tour along the coast. You can be on the migration path within minutes of leaving port, and most guides offer guaranteed encounters between September & early November.
Many ports offer a variety of trips, from short to day tours. The far south coast town of Eden has a rich fishing history and offers one of the state’s best vantage points for whale watching.
To learn more about Eden’s history, including the hunting partnership between local indigenous Australians and killer whales, follow the Killer Whale Trail, which includes the Killer Whale Museum, Eden Lookout, the Davidson Whaling Station and Boyd’s Tower. The Killer Whale Museum houses the skeleton of a famous local killer whale. Each Tuesday and Wednesday in August and September you can watch whales with experts from the Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre at Eden Lookout.
Each November, the Eden Whale Festival highlights the southern migration of humpback and other whales and commemorates the town's fishing and other histories with street parades, music, food, wine, storytelling and more. You can explore the Sapphire Coast on a whale watching tour with Gang Gang Tours or with Merimbula Marina and Cat Balou Cruises.
Shore-based whale watching is another fantastic way to combine a hike through the unspoiled wilderness of one of the area’s rugged national parks with some coastal viewing. Bournda National Park is a natural playground filled with secluded beaches and scenic coastal walks.
The superb views from the Tathra headland are dramatic. The challenging Kangarutha Walking Track near Tathra also offers spectacular sea views and lookouts for whale watching. Other activities to enjoy in the Bournda National Park include bird watching, camping, kayaking and canoeing.
Explore ancient trails and lookouts and find plenty of opportunities to survey the ocean from an elevated vantage point. You can also drive to areas such as Short Point in Merimbula. Make yourself comfortable in one of the sun deck chairs that look out over the beach and ocean.
Visit Ben Boyd National Park, drive along the Tura Beach Headland or hike through Mimosa Rocks National Park for more fantastic vantage points from which to view these remarkable giants. The coastline stretches across 45 km at Ben Boyd National Park so you’re sure to find the perfect place for whale watching along the way.
Following several kilometres of scenic coastline, the Green Cape Lighthouse to Pulpit Rock Walk also offers expansive ocean views. Head through coastal heath towards Pulpit Rock and savour great northerly vistas. The Sapphire Coast is home to a number of bird species, which can often be sighted from whale watching tours. Keep your eyes open for albatross, shearwaters, white breasted sea eagles and gannets.
For more information on whale watching around NSW, visit www.wildaboutwhales.com.au