In Sydney, we’re lucky enough to live along the very path the beautiful humpback whale takes during their annual migration from Antarctica to the top of far north Queensland.
From May to November each year, the whales travel along Australia’s eastern coastline so they can have their calves in warmer waters. So, here’s where we come in. We have found the best spots along the New South Wales coastline to catch a glimpse of these incredible creatures as they set out on the swim of a lifetime.
Here are the best spots for whale watching in NSW.
Best Whale Watching NSW North Coast
Broken Head Nature Reserve
Take a stroll through the rainforest down the Three Sisters walking track and you’ll find yourself at the top of the cliffs that line our beautiful north coast. This spot will give you the perfect vantage spot to watch the beauties frolic around in the water.
Pat Morton Lookout
Situated at the southern end of Lennox Head, this lookout will not only give you a killer view over the town, but you’re also pretty much guaranteed to catch whales, dolphins, hang gliders or even have a spot of fishing. Our tip: head here on weekdays, as the small car park gets chock-a-block on weekends and holidays.
Best Whale Watching NSW Central Coast
Muttonbird Island Nature Reserve
While this hotspot is named after the Muttonbird, it’s also a spectacular spot to check out the pods of whales as they migrate up the coast. The 360-degree views are incredible, and on the walk out over the jetty, you might even catch some other marine life swimming below you.
Tacking Point Lighthouse
This iconic lighthouse is the perf spot to watch a few humpbacks pass by before you soak up the Port Macquarie sunset. We suggest checking out a few beach coves afterwards as well because the swimming spots around here are unreal (even in the cooler months).
Tomaree Head Summit Walk
Start your walk on the picturesque Shoal Bay and head up the nature trail to the top of the summit, where you will not only cop some amazing views, but also a few of our favourite ocean friends. Check out this spot during September and October for an almost guaranteed chance to see a few baby calves.
Best Whale Watching Sydney
Arguably the best whale-watching spot in all of Sydney, Cape Solander is your go-to for checking out their migration. Get yourself down here during June and July and you might see a few whales as close as two hundred meters from the coast. We’re not kidding around here.
With nearby Whale Beach, this spot pretty much speaks for itself. A short bushwalk will lead you to the top of the Headland, where the breathtaking views over Pittwater and Palm Beach are enough to leave you speechless. This spot is notorious for checking out the migration, so bring along your binoculars and set yourself up for some serious whale watching.
Wedding Cake Rock
Royal National Park
Instagram at the ready, this spot is about to turn up the beauty of whale watching to a whole new level. These sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean are exactly how whale watching should be done.
If you find yourself at South Head between June and September, whales will probably be the reason you are there. This local hot spot is perfect for soaking up the views and watching a tail slap or two.
Best Whale Watching NSW South Coast
Seven Mile Beach
Jervis Bay is a whale-watching haven, with numerous spots to check out these beauties, and Seven Mile Beach is one of the very best. If you’ve decided to head to Jervis Bay to see the humpbacks, you cannot beat getting up close and personal with them on a boat tour, trust us.
This vantage point will give you unreal views of not only some impressive whales, but also dolphins, eagles, and albatross. It’s a real nature mecca. The lookout is also a great spot to check out the rather impressive Aboriginal landmark, Gulaga mountain, which is marked as a place of healing.
Wajurda Point Walking Track
A short walk up through the eucalypt forest will shoot you out by the lookout where you can spend hours (and hours) watching whales pass by. Drop by during winter and spring and remember it's BYO binoculars because we guarantee no one will want to go sharesies with you.
Best Whale Watching NSW Far South Coast
Ben Boyd National Park
If you’ve never trekked it to Ben Boyd National Park, you’re in luck. For newbies, you can scope this full guide but forever whale watching enthusiasts will already know that Boyds Tower has been dubbed one of the best spots in NSW to watch the great winter whale migration. If you want to make the most of your time here, you can also start on the Light to Light trail for a number of vantage points and lookouts worth stopping at to catch glimpses of these beautiful ocean creatures.
Whale watching capital of Australia? We’d back that. Tathra is famous for being the home ground for witnessing huge pods of whales coming in hot with all the breaching and tail-waving flukes you could ever hope for. This area is particularly special because it’s the unofficial rest stop for whales to rest and nurse their bubs as they make their way back to Antarctica for the summer.
You can also now camp overnight at this South Coast wildlife park!
Image credit: Destination NSW, Florent Rols, Olga Kashubin, YuSong Oh, Johannes Wittig, Karin de Mamiel, Markrhiggins