Seeing a whale in the wild is a truly humbling experience. Watching something so gigantic breach the ocean’s surface and fall with an all-mighty splash is nothing short of magical. If you have never spotted a whale before, it can be hard to know what you’re looking for. There is definitely a technique to it and knowing the right spots, and time of year to do it is a start. Check out our whale watching tips to find out how you can spot a whale for an amazing experience that you’ll never forget.
Where to go
In Australian waters, there are 45 cetacean (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) species with Humpback and Southern Right Whales being the most commonly sighted. During their annual migration, you can spot them along the coastline in many locations. One of the best spots for whale watching is Hervey Bay and the Fraser Coast in Queensland. They visit the calm waters around Fraser Island with their calves to show them a thing or two about being a whale. The best way to spot a whale in Hervey Bay and Fraser Coast is onboard a whale watching boat. There are plenty of operators running tours to spot these majestic creatures splash about.
Hervey Bay is a haven for Humpback Whales
Another resting point for the whales is on the south coast of New South Wales in the clam blue waters of Jervis Bay. Join a whale watching cruise or take a drive along the coast where there are plenty of headlands and lookouts perfect for spotting a whale or two. Racecourse Beach in Bawley Point has a lookout on South Pacific Crescent which is the perfect vantage point to spot them frolicking about.
You can even spot whales closer to home. Whale watching in Sydney is rather popular with many vantage points along the coast and whale watching cruises. Take a walk up to Long Reef headland, North Head or Barrenjoey Lighthouse in the Northern Beaches or walk along the Bondi to Coogee walking trail or Federation Cliff walk in the Eastern Suburbs. There are many fantastic options for whale watching in Sydney.
Best time of year
Depending on where you are along Australia’s coastline, the best time of year to spot a whale is between May to November. In North Queensland the best time is between July and November, in southern Queensland between May and November, in New South Wales and Victoria between May and November, in South Australia between June and September, in Tasmania between May and July or between September and December, and in Western Australia between May and December.
The best conditions
The best conditions to spot a whale is when the sea is calm. It’s much easier to spot a splash or tail when the water is still. It can become difficult when the oceans surface is disturbed by rough seas and wind.
What to look for
When trying to spot a whale there are a few things you should be looking for.
Whales are mammals and breathe air through their nose which is located on the top of their head. As they surface, they blow out air which causes water to spurt up like a cloud of smoke.
When looking out to sea, start scanning from left to right nice and slow. Start with looking close to the shore working your way out to the horizon. Also look out for boats that are sitting still. Quite often they have stopped to look at something and that something could very well be a whale.
Be on the look out for a whale breaching. This is where they jump out of the water and land with an all-mighty splash. You may also spot whales slapping their tails on the oceans surface.
Get up close and personal
For an experience like no other, join a tour that takes you out to swim with these amazing creatures. A great place to do this is in Hervey Bay or Jervis Bay. Step off the boat into the ocean to watch these gentle giants glide past you. You may even hear them sing to each other.
Where to stay
If you are planning a holiday to either Hervey Bay, Fraser Coast, Jervis Bay, or Racecourse Beach for some whale watching, Tasman Holiday Parks have you covered. Every Tasman Holiday Park is secure, meticulously clean and designed to offer timeless holiday experiences in places of vibrant natural beauty. Choose from a range of accommodation to suit everyone’s needs and budget.