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Whale & Dolphin Watching

A fascinating annual migration of giant sea mammals

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Sydney residents and guests have the advantage of observing an annual phenomenon: a massive migration of about 30,000 whales passing the Humpback Highway from Antarctica to the Pacific Ocean. One of the world's longest whale migrations lasts along the coast of New South Whales from early May to late November. The peak time for whale watching is late June and early July.

Whales pass quite close to the shore and can be easily spotted in many locations in the city. The Barrenjoey Lighthouse Track on Palm Beach Peninsula and Cape Solander in Kamay Botany Bay National Park are among the best whale watching spots, equipped with covered platforms and signs. The south Head peninsula offers excellent places for whale watching, including a cliff called the Gap. The Royal National Park coastline also provides a few lookouts. The Federation Cliff Walk (between Dover Heights and Watsons Bay) and between Bondi and Coogee are great places for a winter whale-watching walk. The North Head Lookout and Harbor offer whale-watching walking tours. Cruises regularly leave from Manly, Darling Harbor and Circular Quay.

Australian waters are home to 45 species of whales and dolphins, including spot killer whales, sperm whales, blue whales, orcas and minke whales. Humpback and southern whales can be seen the most often.

Dolphin sightings are common during whale-watching cruises. Tourists can observe pods of bottlenose and common dolphins. There are also dolphin watching tours leaving from Sydney three times per week, heading to Nelson Bay and Port Stephens. Swimming with dolphins in the wild is possible at the Port Stephens-Great Lakes Marine Park, a 2.5-hour drive from Sydney.

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Last updated: by Olha Savych