Whale Watching Sydney
By Garry Sonter
Between the months of April and November, the Humpback Whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) are most commonly sighted along the east coast of Australia. The best months are June and July as the Humpbacks are on their northern migration and travel fairly close to shore to avoid the south moving currents. On their return trip south, October and November is the best time to see the mothers with their newly born calves.
After spending the summer feeding on krill in Antarctic waters the whales migrate north to sub-tropical water to mate and give birth, and then make the journey back again. This annual migration can be as a long as 10,000 kilometres.
The name humpback comes from the hump-like appearance as it dives. They are mostly black with white marking or patches underneath including their flippers which can be used to identify an individual whale. Humpbacks are well known for their spectacular breach out of the water and their songs.
Some Facts about Humpback Whales:
- Population of about 80,000 worldwide
- Average length of around 14 to 18 metres
- Calves average 4 to 5 metres at birth
- Weigh up to 50 tonnes
- Diet of krill and fish
- Are known to hunt together in large numbers
- Cruising speed of 7km/hr
- Catch schools of fish by circling and releasing air bubbles trapping fish within and taking turns feeding.
- Protected since 1965
There’s always a chance to see other whales or marine life which include:
- Minke Whales
- Southern Right Whales
- False Killer Whales
- Bryde’s Whales
- Pacific Dolphins
- Flying fish
- Fur Seals
One of the best ways to see watch whales is by joining a whale watching cruise but if you don’t have a stomach for it or a boat is not your thing just grab yourself a set of binoculars and head to one of the many vantage points around Sydney.
Some of the best vantage points for whale watching around Sydney are:
- The Cobblers, Royal NP, Bundeena (our guide for this hike is here)
- Cape Solander, Botany Bay NP, Kernell
- North Head, Sydney Harbour NP, Manly
- South Head, Sydney Harbour NP Watsons Bay
- Ray O’Keefe Reserve (Ben Buckler Lookout), Nth Bondi