Best time to travel to New South Wales

Whale Watching in NSW

Witness northern or southern migration of these majestic mammals from land or boat

Whale Watching in NSW in New South Wales - Best Time
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© Jim McLean

The migration of humpback whales near NSW coast takes place between May and November. The season can be split into two parts depending on the direction of travel for the majority of whales during this time.

During the northern migration, the Humpbacks head north between May and August mostly to give birth and to mate in the Coral Sea waters. At this time of year, they swim continuously at 5–9 km/h and have regular surface intervals. During the southern migration, the whales head south from mid-August to November to return to the Antarctic feeding ground for the southern hemisphere summer. When they move southwards, they can swim for hours in any direction at a time, with less regular surface intervals.

A tale of Two Tails.... a mature Humpback whale along with its calf
A tale of Two Tails.... a mature Humpback whale along with its calf

The best shore locations to watch whales are on high points along the coast, headlands, and cliffs. Port Stephens is a large natural harbour in the Hunter Region of NSW. Southern right whales and humpbacks pass here during their annual migration but are best seen in October. Humpback mothers and their calves are easy to spot from Tomaree Head, which offers a panoramic view of the sea.

Eden is the historic whaling town which is bordered by a green national park on one side and rocky cliffs on the other, making it a gorgeous spot to whale watching as humpbacks migrate along the south coast.

There are a few whale watching spots in Sydney area. One of the best spots it Cape Solander lookout within the Botany Bay National Park, just south of Sydney. Sometimes whales are spotted as close as 200 m from the coast. Another popular whale watching spot is the Fairfax Lookout, North Head—the gateway to Sydney Harbour. You can also join one of private whale watching tours running daily during the humpback seasons from various wharves around Sydney Harbour.

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