From the Sydney Harbour you can see a variety of whales with many different boat tour companies on offer or maybe you’ll be lucky to see them on land from the coastline if you prefer. We used a company called Whale Watching Sydney and got upgraded to their discovery cruise, a total of 3 hours of whale watching time 🙂
What whales could you see?
Humpback whale : these are the most common species encountered in Sydney as they migrate past the coast between May and December. Find out more about them here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humpback_whale
Minke: smaller than the humpback and difficult to spot due to their shy nature
Dolphins: bottle-nose and common dolphins may be seen showing off along the coast
Other species: you may be lucky enough to spot: orcas, southern right whales, blue whales and the odd fur seal
When is the best time to go?
The humpback migration occurs between April and December, happening in two parts.
Between April and August they swim north to give birth in the coral sea. You may be lucky to see whales tail slapping and breaching
Between August and December they head south to the Antarctica to feed. This is the most common time to see whales approaching the boat with a curious shy hop or a very spectacular breach.
What should I take with me on the day?
Motion sickness tablets: especially if you suffer with sea or travel sickness as the waves are very rocky
Waterproof jacket: to protect you from ocean spray
Camera: your boat tour is likely to have a professional photographer on board but you may want to take your own pictures…so don’t forget your camera
Warm clothes: it’s very cold out there in the exposed open ocean
Sunglasses and sun cream: it may be cold while on the boat but the UV in Australia can still be high
My experience…our cruise departed from Circular Quay early afternoon. It takes about 15 minutes to head out to the open ocean but once out there you are likely to head further out in the search for Whales. We headed out about 8 miles before spotting our first whale blowhole spray about 1 mile in the distance. We continued at a slow pace on the outside of the whale seen in the distance to meet it in the centre of its migration line. Once there we came across a pod of 3 whales. We experienced a pectoral fin slap and fluke dives. Although very exciting, there was a pod of whales mugging a smaller boat in the distance, so we cheekily headed over in a plan to steal the show. Cheeky I know, but well worth it. We arrived to a pod of 4-5 whales, keen to give us a perfect show. They circled the boat, swam underneath and started mugging us (when they come up close and surround the boat, it is now best to let them leave first before setting off). At the end of the mugging by the whales we were given a speculator show with a whale giving us a final breach. I took lots of photos and videos while on the 3 hour cruise, the video clips can be found here.
For more pictures from Australia and my travels check out my Instagram: themelissadiaries