Where To Go Whale Watching In NSW This Winter

Cool Sh*t, Guide, Play, Sydney, Winter Guide / 29 July 2023

Get outdoors and spot beautiful pods of whales migrating along the coast this winter.

Looking for an out-of-the-box date idea this weekend? We’ve found the answer! Why not head for the NSW coastline and make a bee-line for ‘Humpback Highway’. From late autumn to early spring is your golden opportunity to spot over 30,000 whales migrating along the coastline.

Not sure where to head to spot these beautiful creatures. Discover the best spots across NSW to go whale watching this winter below!

Near the city

Closer to the city, watch whales from the lookouts at Sydney Harbour’s North and South Head. For on-the-water experiences, Go Whale Watching Sydney, Captain Cook Cruises, Fantasea Cruising and Manly Ocean Adventures are some of the many whale-watching cruises that leave from Circular Quay, Darling Harbour and Manly.

There is plenty to do in Sydney in and around your whale watching. Check out the cute new baby otters and baboons at Sydney Zoo or stay harbourside and take in the rides at Luna Park Sydney. Take a winter surfing lesson with Let’s Go Surfing at Bondi Beach or hike the impressive Bondi to Manly Walk…its 80km of beauty between the city’s two most iconic beaches.

Up the coast

Swimming with humpback whales is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and Jetty Dive in Coffs Harbour runs tours where you can swim alongside a pod of them. While you’re there, make sure you stop in at the iconic Big Banana and for something truly spectacular, drive through Waterfall Way between Coffs Harbour and Armidale to experience Australia’s highest waterfalls.

Come further south to Port Macquarie where the 9km Coastal Walk is dotted with stunning vantage points for whale spotting. For a taste of the action, cruise on Port Jet Cruise Adventures’ Wave Rider, one of the fastest commercial whale-watching boats around.

Down the coast

Jervis Bay is a top spot to see newborn whale calves frolicking with their mothers. It’s about halfway along the migration, so they often stop to rest and play. Swim with whales and seals on a tour with Dive Jervis Bay or jump on a cruise with Jervis Bay Wild. If you prefer to stay dry, there’s a viewing platform in Booderee National Park. Travel further south to Eden – a whale-watching hub. Whales and their calves often rest in Twofold Bay before their final leg back. And then stop in at the fascinating Killer Whale Museum, also in Eden where you can learn everything there is to know about these beautiful animals.

For a weekend away

Spot whales from Australia’s most easterly point, Cape Byron. Small cruise tours like Whale Watching Byron Bay and Blue Bay Whale Watching will give you the full experience, or check out Go Sea Kayak Byron Bay or Cape Byron Kayaks to get even closer to the action.

Hire a house and spend a week in Byron. You can snorkel at Julian Rocks to check out the vibrant sea life and take away enjoy fish and chips on Main Beach.

Looking for more whale-watching advice? Check out Destination NSW’s guide to whale watching in NSW here.

Taking a road trip this winter? Discover the top luxe NSW accommodation to book here.