Sydney Whale Watching Adventures

From May to December each year, approximately 20,000 humpback whales travel along the east coast of Australia, first heading north for the warm waters of the Great Barrier Reef to reproduce and then returning south to feed in Antarctic waters. The whales migrate thousands of kilometres in one of the longest migrations in the world, passing Sydney on their way.
For Sydneysiders, the seasonal highlights include:

  • From May to August, the humpback whales travel north to mate and give birth. At this time whales can often be spotted breaching.
  • From July to September the whales may be found heading in both directions as some continue to head north, while others have begun their southward journey.
  • From August to December, all the whales are heading south. At this time mothers can be spotted with their newborn calves.

In addition to spotting humpback whales, there is also a chance of seeing Southern right whales, blue whales, minke whales, orca, fur seals, various seabirds and, on rare occasions, sharks, rays, turtles and more!
Whale watching cruises usually last around three hours. The boats depart from Darling Harbour or Circular Quay, passing numerous famous landmarks as they head for the entrance to Sydney Harbour. Once out in open water (within about 20 minutes of departure), you’re into prime whale watching territory.

There are several Sydney-based whale cruise operators, including Whale Watching Sydney, Captain Cook Cruises and Oz Whale Watching. Most of the cruise operators offer a whale guarantee – that is, in the unlikely circumstance that you don’t spot a whale on your trip, you can return for free.
We recently took the family on a cruise with Whale Watching Sydney. We went on a glorious sunny Sunday afternoon with optimal conditions for whale spotting. A commentator gave us helpful tips on how to spot the whales also shared some information about these wondrous creatures. We were thrilled to spot eight whales, including a calf. It was a fantastic afternoon out – highly recommended!
Here are some tips in planning a whale watching adventure with your family:

  • Keep in mind that cruises are subject to weather conditions. If conditions are too rough, the cruise will be cancelled. You will need to check on the day of your cruise that your cruise is running. Wind or rain is not a reason for cancellation and the boats do have indoor seating.
  • Remember that the waves, swell, wind and visibility can differ greatly outside Sydney Harbour from within it. Pack warm layers for sitting outside.
  • Bring hats with cords to avoid losing them in windy conditions.
  • Apply sun cream generously – even if you go during the winter months.
  • It’s best not to cruise after a large meal. Bring some light snacks that can be easily consumed (even in bumpy waves) and water bottles.
  • If seasickness is likely to be an issue, bring your usual seasickness remedies (armbands, tablets, etc.), and pack extra clothes in case anyone gets seasick!
  • Take a good camera with you (and be sure to charge it in advance!) Phone cameras may not capture the action if the whales are not close to the boat. (Some cruise operators also include a photographer with images available for purchase.)

All images courtesy of Whale Watching Sydney
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  • Daytime Date Ideas | IWM
    21/07/2019 at 11:56 pm

    […] offers daytime yacht cruises with BYO food and beverages. For something truly memorable, go on a whale watching adventure. Between May and December each year, thousands of whales migrate along the East Coast and can be […]

  • […] Juggle Creative Classes for Adults Spacemakers and Roomshakers, Art Gallery of New South Wales Sydney Whale Watching Adventures Spectacular Sydney Park! A Family Trip to Bowral and Berrima The Inner West’s Best … Parks and […]

  • […] also like: A Family Trip to Bowral and Berrima Beyond Your Postcode: Fun Family Excursion Ideas Sydney Whale Watching Adventures Spacemakers and Roomshakers, Art Gallery of New South Wales Sydney’s Best … Family-Friendly […]

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