Every year between May and November, more than 40,000 whales leave Antarctica and travel up and down the east coast of Australia to feed, warm up and give birth. Whether you’re trailing these gentle giants – both humpback and southern right – from a clifftop perch or in a boat, their acrobatic spectacle will leave you speechless. Thanks to food-rich waters, the NSW South Coast is a magnet like no other across the country. Here’s where to get in on the action.
You don’t have to travel far from Sydney to find a top whale watching vantage point. Just a short drive south you’ll discover stellar lookouts in Stanwell Tops – known for its lofty escarpment – near Wollongong. Continue driving toward Kiama, where the rugged headland around the Kiama Blowhole provides wide expanses for spotting whales, with a regular ‘whoosh’ of water as your backdrop.
Along the Kiama Coastal Walk, there are two whale watching platforms to view the whales as they migrate north. Depending on what end of the walk you are on there are platforms at Minnamurra and Gerringong.
Make the marine park in Jervis Bay your base for some of the most remarkable nature experiences and finest whale observation opportunities in the state. Huskisson is the main departure point for whale-watching cruises. Join a tour with Dolphin Watch Cruises or Jervis Bay Wild and gain an insight into whale behaviour from knowledgeable guides.
From the shore, Jervis Bay’s dramatic coastline and rugged headlands make a scenic grandstand to spot whales in their calm, clear waters. Penguin Head at Culburra and the viewing platform at Cape St George Lighthouse, located in Booderee National Park, are prime observation spots.
Shellharbour Wild offers daily whale-watching cruises from May through to November out of the Shellharbour Marina, and you can expect to see some of the best whale watching the state has to offer.
A wildlife wonderland nine kilometres offshore from Narooma, Montague Island is a year-round destination for those looking to glimpse seals, penguins, and all manner of seabirds. Then during their migration, the big guns make an appearance, with whales regularly spotted close to the island’s shores. Stay overnight at the historic lighthouse to savour the coastal views and vivid sunsets.
While the whole South Coast is a whale wonderland, the Sapphire Coast is particularly attractive, thanks to its food-rich waters. Beginning in late September, huge numbers of whales stop to feed their young before the last stage of their journey south to Antarctica. Come close to these giants of the sea on an unforgettable boat tour along the coast.
If you want to explore the long relationship this part of the South Coast has with whales, visit the Eden Killer Whale Museum, attend the Eden Whale Festival (celebrating the southern migration of humpback and other whales) and learn about Eden’s whaling history on the self-drive Killer Whale Trail – past Eden Lookout, Davidson Whaling Station and Boyds Tower.
This part of the state is also home to wildlife-rich Beowa National Park, formerly Ben Boyd National Park, covering a staggering 45km of coastline. Lace up your walking shoes and take on the multi-day Light to Light Walk, traversing the cliffs between historic Boyds Tower and Green Cape Lightstation, with unbeatable views of migrating whales along the way.
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