Australia is one of the best destinations for whale watching in the world, with a range of locations across the country offering excellent opportunities to see these majestic creatures in their natural habitat at different times of the year.
Not only that, but there is such a diverse range of different whale species you can see in Australia, from humpbacks to whale sharks, dwarf minke whales and blue whales to pilot whales, sperm whales and even killer whales!
With so many incredible species to see, it can be tough to decide which whale watching experiences to do. So without further ado, here are four of the best whale watching experiences in Australia:
1. Killer Whales (Orcas) at Bremer Bay, Western Australia
Bremer Bay is not only the best place in the whole of Australia to see killer whales, but it is one of the best places in the world to see them in their natural environment! A boat trip to see the orcas in Bremer Bay is unlike any other whale watching experience in Australia!
Between January and mid-April you can get up close with killer whales, the apex predator of the ocean when they come to Bremer Canyon – 50km offshore from Bremer Bay to feed! Go on a full day boat trip departing Bremer Bay to visit the offshore Bremer Canyon where you’ll get the chance to see orcas swim next to the boat, on the hunt for food and even you might get to see some baby orcas!
Around 200 orcas call the Bremer Canyon their home during the summer months of Australia as it has such a rich food supply for them, so there’s a good chance you’ll see several pods of orcas when you’re here! In addition to orcas you’ll most likely get to see other types of whales – including pilot whales and sperm whales, which makes this a really fun and educational day trip!
The tours run by Naturaliste Charters use experienced guides, feature a Marine Biologist onboard to provide you with lots of information, and even have a photographer onboard who will email you the best pictures of the day for free!
2. Humpback Whales in Hervey Bay, Queensland
Humpback whales are perhaps the most populous whales in Australian waters, with thousands migrating along the east and west coasts each year in the cooler months. There are many places in Australia where you can go on a whale watching tour to see them, from Jervis Bay to Eden, Sydney, The Gold Coast, Albany and Exmouth just to name a few.
Hervey Bay however is known as the whale watching capital of the world and the first World Whale Heritage Site as the encounters you get on the boats here with the humpback whales are unlike what you’ll experience elsewhere! Whereas in most destinations the humpback whales are just passing by on their migration, between July and October, the humpback whales stay and rest for a while in the calm waters of Hervey Bay – recuperating from the first part of the tiring migration, and gaining enough energy for the second part of the migration back to the Antarctic.
The humpbacks are very curious and often willingly come right up to the boats to get a good look at you, which provides excellent viewing and photo opportunities and makes for some unforgettable memories. Whale watching trips in Hervey Bay do not disappoint – get ready for lots of breaching, tail slapping and even close encounters with curious mum and baby calf whales approaching the boats as Hervey Bay’s calm waters provide the ideal place for the humpback whales to look after their young until they adult.
There are several whale watching companies in Hervey Bay – some which even offer the experience to swim responsibly with the humpback whales – an absolutely incredible moment you won’t forget!
3. Whale Sharks in Exmouth, Western Australia
If you’re keen to see the beautiful whale sharks, then a boat trip to Ningaloo Reef from Exmouth is the best place in Australia to see them. More than 400 whale sharks come to Ningaloo Reef each year, and as they stay here for a few months, it’s one of the only places in the world where you can actually swim with these gentle giants!
With the accessibility of the interactions and high success rate (over 95%!), this is without a doubt one of the best places in the world to see whale sharks in their natural habitat! These breathtaking animals are so beautiful and mesmerising to look at, with white spots across their dark body, a blunt snout and white belly. Whilst whale sharks are very large and their name may sound scary – they are anything but that and don’t mind humans one bit!
Whale shark experiences in Ningaloo Reef occur between March and July, and in addition to seeing the beautiful whale sharks you might get the chance to see other marine life on the trip, such as humpback whales, dolphins, manta rays, and turtles!
4. Victor Harbour, South Australia
Victor Harbor is a great place to go to see southern right whales! Between the months of June to October, southern right whales are a common sight in the waters off South Australia as they migrate from Antarctica to South Australia’s warmer waters to give birth and nurse their young.
As southern right whales are large and slow-moving whales, you get some really great opportunities to get up close with these whales and create some unforgettable memories. If you head out on a boat tour you’ll often get to see these majestic giants tail slapping, breaching and playing in the water. Sperm whales and even blue whales – the largest animal on earth, have even been spotted on whale watching tours here!