Guarantee yourself a whale sighting during your Australian adventure as you follow our list of the ultimate whale watching destinations!

Whale Watching in Australia

Australia is one of the best places in the entire world to see whales. With around 36,000 kilometres of shoreline, it has no shortage of spots for you to catch a glimpse of these magnificent creatures. It is also renowned for its wide variety, with around 60% of the entire world’s species found in Australian waters.

Not sure where to go for your best whale watching opportunity? Then look no further, because here are five of the best destinations to spot these amazing marine mammals.

  • Venture out to the Great Barrier Reef

    The Great Barrier Reef may be famous for the vast numbers of fish that live there, but it is also a home for whales. The most common species spotted in this region is the dwarf minke whale and from June to September, pods of them gather here during their migration. These unique whales can easily be recognised by their smaller size, and their mixed colours of black, grey, and white. If you would like to get up close and personal with minke whales, then the Great Barrier Reef is the only place in the world where snorkelling or diving with them is available.

  • Visit the Whitsundays

    It’s not just tourists that flock to the Whitsundays every year, whales also like to make an appearance during the winter months, choosing the warm, protected waters of the region to give birth to their calves. Humpback and short-finned pilot whales are the most common sightings here, swimming near the islands, coastline, and even occasionally around the reef. The short-finned pilot whales are highly social creatures, often spotted in large pods ranging from 15 to a maximum of 50. However, the humpbacks are typically an easier spot, with even a famous albino humpback named ‘Migaloo’ seen every year.

  • Trek down to Tasmania

    Whales and Tasmania have a long and, at times, terrible history. Sadly, whale hunting was once a popular activity in the region, with nine separate whaling stations in Hobart alone. Luckily, all these stations were closed down since a number of the whale species were on the edge of extinction, including the southern right whale, which is now one of the rarest species of whale in the world. Nowadays, however, Tasmania celebrates their whale neighbours, with a number of excellent vantage points along the coast or boat tours to help you spot the marine creatures in their natural habitat.

  • Ride along the Great Ocean Road

    The long stretch of the Great Ocean Road is bursting with attractions, including incredible rock formations, charming towns, and lush rainforests. However, one of the most popular sights along this road are the whales that swim offshore. Between June and October, the seas are busting with these beloved animals, with locals providing live updates to help any whale seekers hoping to catch sight of one during their road trip.

  • Sightsee at Sydney

    You don’t have to trek far from the city to enjoy a whale sighting! The Sydney Harbour is located right next to the Humpback Highway, a route that over 30,000 whales travel along every year while migrating. An abundance of whales make this journey every winter from May to November, providing up close and personal views of these marine mammals in their element. Simply hop aboard a harbour cruise and zoom out to the outer waters for an unforgettable experience.

Overall it doesn’t matter where you are within Australia, as each coastal region provides an opportunity for whale sightings. Simply gaze across the ocean and look out for the plumes of spray that give away the locations of these wonderful creatures. Happy whale watching!

Cameron Ward
Cameron Ward
Managing Director at Sightseeing Tours Australia

Cameron Ward began with a passion for travel and turned it into a thriving tourism business. He co-founded Sightseeing Tours Australia after starting out as a tour guide in Melbourne. Cameron delights in helping visitors get the most from their trip to Australia. Whether he's leading tours or writing about his favourite places, Cameron loves sharing his local insight with fellow travellers.

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