FROM full breaches like this photo supplied by the Wild About Whales crew to tail, chin and peck slaps, there’s a lot of action in the waters along the NSW and Queensland coastline with more than 20,000 migrating Humpback whales carving a path in the ocean. Where to spot them? There’s plenty of options along the east coast.
As the Destination NSW gang says, this winter is all about following a do-it-yourself whale trail along 2000km of scenic coastline between the Tweed and Eden offering a multitude of vantage points and experiences to spot these majestic beasts of the deep. Here are just some of their suggestions:
In the Camden Haven area south of Port Macquarie, walk through Kattang Nature Reserve to Perpendicular Point to spot the passing whales. Wander along the 9km Port Macquarie Coastal Walk, where boardwalks and viewing platforms hug the coastline to the historic Tacking Point Lighthouse, looking for tell-tale signs of whales passing – breeching, tale splashing and water spouts. Closer to Coffs Harbour, the 10-metre catamaran Pacific Explorer makes daily whale watching trips to the nearby Solitary Islands Marine Park, one of the places where humpback whales converge on their annual migration to and from Antarctic waters.
The Central Coast is buzzing with whale watching vantage points. Captain Cook Lookout, Copacabana is a great place to take the kids with two viewing decks, interpretative signage and a fully accessible path. The Skillion is the iconic tall outcrop at Terrigal with amazing views of North Avoca and Avoca beaches to the south, and Wamberal and Forresters beaches to the north. Set up a picnic blanket and enjoy expansive views over The Entrance and Shelly Beach at Crackneck Point in Wyrrabalong National Park. Norah Head Lighthouse also offers stunning views out to the Pacific Ocean and is home to the annual Whale Dreamers Festival in July.
The Legendary Pacific Coast’s Whale Watching Trail features 71 of the best places to spot a whale between Avoca Beach and Tweed Heads. Plan a whale watching day-trip or week long whale watching mission with information on the website detailing best vantage points and experiences. A must-do is a cruise with Tamboi Queen, Imagine or Moonshadow in Port Stephens who all offer memorable experiences with whales.
Grab a pair of binoculars and make the short climb to Newcastle’s iconic Nobbys Lighthouse, a popular place to spot whales with 360 degree views of the city, beach, coastline and ocean. Nova Cruises operate 2.5 to 3 hour ocean cruises from Newcastle including a bonus harbour and outer beach cruise.
See whales from the air in Sydney with Blue Sky Helicopters on a 60 minute flight over Botany Bay and Cape Banks, heading north up the coast towards Palm Beach and Broken Bay. Be sure to visit the aptly named Whale Beach, which is said to have been named after the shape of its northern headland. Closer to town the viewing platform at Cape Solander in Botany Bay National Park is popular with whales often spotted only 200 metres from the coast. The site is is also part of a long-running whale-counting volunteer program running each June and July. The stunning cliff-top walking trail from Bondi to Coogee beach also offers fantastic opportunities for whale watching as do headlands at Clovelly Beach and North Maroubra. Plus get up close to these majestic animals on a whale-watching cruise departing from Circular Quay or Manly with Fantasea, Captain Cook, Manly Whale Watching, Oz Whale Watching or Whale Watching Sydney.
Jervis Bay boasts a huge array of land and sea based whale watching options. Find a vantage point on the headland overlooking the bay, and head to Penguin Head at Culburra or the viewing platform in Booderee National Park located at Cape St George Lighthouse. Enjoy a seafood platter at Portside Cafe before boarding a Whale Eco-Cruise with Jervis Bay Wild. Dolphin Watch Cruises specialise in calm water whale watching staying close to shore to view the “Humpback Highway” as it passes by. They also offer special event cruises including sunsets with the whales, BBQ with whales and even weddings with the whales.
For more visit www.visitnsw.com and www.wildaboutwhales.com.au
Also try Whale Watching Hot Spots