What is common between Australia and whale watching? For a lot of people it can be surprise but Australia is one of perfect countries for whale watching lovers as more than half of the world’s total number of whales, porpoises and dolphins are found in Australian waters.
During my trip around Australia I visited a lot of places known as good points for whale spotting and want to share my experience with you.
During whaling operation in Australia a lot of whales were killed, but whales’ population is slowly recovering after Australia terminated whaling in 1979 and the country became more attractive for whale watchers. Humpback whales, Southern Right whales and Killer whales (Orcas) are most seen types of whales from the shore in Australia. Whales usually spend summers in Antarctica and in later autumn start migrate north to warmer waters of Australia for breeding and in the spring they slowly go back to Antarctica with newly born calves. Killer whales keep a little bit shy from the coast line and are not so often seen during land-based whale watching or on whale watching tours. But Humpback and Southern Right whales are usually spotted during whale migration time.
Southern Right whales don’t go very far north and are usually seen in the southern Australia. Head of the Bight in South Australia near the border with Western Australia is one of the best places to see them. Full coast line from Adelaide in South Australia to Albany in Western Australia is an important calving and mating area for this kind of whales and between May and September it is possible to see whales anywhere along the coast. Head of the Bight with high cliffs offers exceptional coastal whale watching opportunities. Except it is not an easy place to reach. It literally is located in the middle of nowhere on Eyre Highway, but the trip itself on this highway is worth it.
Humpback whales migrate further north to subtropical water of Australia and May-November is whale watching high season on both – Eastern and Western coasts of Australia. On the west coast the waters north of Western Australia is humpback whales calving and breeding area. There are no much whale watching opportunities there, but you can do it in Coral Bay or Exmouth during whale migration in June-October. You need to go on whale watching tours there as land is protected by the Ningaloo Reef and it would be hard to spot whales from the shore. The coast between Perth and Augusta is another good place to spot whales in Western Australia. You can go on a tour or visit lighthouses at Cape Leeuwin or Cape Naturaliste for coastal watching during migration season between July and November.
On the east coast Hervey Bay Marine Park in Queensland is called whale watching capital of Australia as humpback whales and calves are resting there before a long trip to Antarctica. Between August and October it is one of best places for whale watching in Australia. But the rest of east coast (Queensland and New South Wales) is also a great place for whale watching. Almost any bigger city on the coast have whale watching tours or there are good spots for shore whale watching, like Fraser Island, Tweed Heads to Cape Byron or cliffs of North and South Sydney heads.
Victoria and Tasmania are not so famous for whale watching, but still there are places where you can see whales. Logan’s Beach at Warrnambool in Victoria is place for Southern Right Whales viewing and Adventure Bay at Bruny Island not far from Hobart in Tasmania is a known area for sighting Southern Right Whales. But you should know too that there is something even more attractive to do then whale watching from the shore or from the boat. If you like scuba diving you should go on a “live a board diving trips north of Cairns between June and August. At that time you’ll be able not just to watch but also to swim or may be even to dive with Minke whales. That is an incredible experience and it is difficult to describe it.
About this Guest Author: Vi is addicted whale watcher and you can find more detailed information about whale watching in Sydney on his blog Travel Tips or on his facebook page. If you have questions Vi can be found on twitter @ShortTravelTips