Whale Watching in NSW
From Tweed Heads in the north to the Sapphire Coast in the south, the whole coast of NSW is prime whale-watching territory from May to November each year. More than 30,000 whales make their way along the Humpback Highway, and you can watch the spectacular show from clifftop lookouts, beaches and cruises.
Use the Wild About Whales website and app to find the best vantage points, and you can even log your own sightings using the #whaleon hashtag. You are most likely to see humpback and southern right whales, though you could also spot killer whales, blue whales, minke whales and sperm whales.
Spot whales from Australia’s most easterly point, the Cape Byron Lighthouse, then get up close on a kayaking tour with Go Sea Kayak or Cape Byron Kayaks. There are two lookouts around Ballina and a viewing platform at Iluka Bluff. Take a cruise with Wooli Deep Sea Tours to spot whales in the Solitary Islands National Park.
Coffs Harbour is one of just a handful of places where you can swim alongside whales. Take a tour with Jetty Dive for a magical encounter. In Port Macquarie, cruise on Port Jet Cruise Adventures’ Wave Rider, one of the fastest commercial whale-watching boats, or get a bird’s eye view with Port Macquarie Seaplanes.
In Port Stephens, Fishermans Bay and Boat Harbour in the Tomaree National Park are the best places for whale-watching, and sightings are virtually guaranteed. Take a trip with NOVA Cruises from Newcastle Harbour or head to the Shepherds Hill Lookout to spot whales from land.
Jervis Bay is halfway along the whales’ 5,000km migration route, and they often stop here to rest and play with newborn calves. A cruise with Jervis Bay Wild will get you in the thick of the action. Narooma Charters runs cruises to picturesque Montague Island and pods of up to 10 whales are commonly seen.
Join Region X or Bay and Beyond for a sea kayaking tour in Batemans Bay to paddle close to pods of whales while the bob in the swell or breach from the water. Walk out to Broulee Island (connected to the mainland by a sandbar) for 360-degree views of the ocean.
Once a major whaling town, Eden is now a whale-watching hub. Whales stop to feed in the calm, nutrient-rich waters of Twofold Bay and it’s one of the best places to see killer whales. Learn about the areas rich history at the Eden Killer Whale Museum and don’t miss the annual Eden Whale Festival in November.