With over 45 different species of whales around the continent and over 60% of the world’s whale population found in these waters, Australia is a popular choice for whale watchers around the world. Here are some of the top areas for whale watching:
Hervey Bay, QLD
Humpback whales that annually migrate south have made Hervey Bay their regular stop. They begin arriving at this location mid July, where they stay until mid November before continuing south. Since Fraser Island shelters these waters, humpback whales stop here to play and rest with their young.
Humpbacks migrating north-west towards Broome are seen travelling across Albany Bay between the months of June to November. Southern right whales migrate from Antarctica towards the north as well, and take shelter in this southern bay to mate or give birth prior to returning south. If you visit Albany for whale watching, you can learn about the various whale species at “Whale World”, an interactive museum that was once a whaling station.
Between the months of April and July, Exmouth is visited by whale sharks, usually to feed on the zooplankton that thrives in the warmer waters. Given their name, a whale shark is actually the world’s largest sea mammal that can grow as long as 18 meters in length. These mammals swim across the world in search for locations that have food in high concentrations. The only place where whale sharks are known to return regularly and in large numbers is Ningaloo Reef at Exmouth, WA.
Port Stephens, NSW
Made up of 26 glorious sandy beaches, Port Stephens is home to about 160 bottlenose dolphins. This is also a great location from where tourists can admire the humpbacks and their acrobatic displays during their annual migration in the months of June to August and their return from the southern region in September and November.
Victor Harbor, SA
The best time to spot whales here in Victor Harbor are the months of July and August. It’s the time when southern right whales return to these sheltered bays to mate and calve. Victor Harbor is also home to penguins, an entire colony of the world’s smallest penguin breed. Southern right whales are usually seen about 100 meters offshore. Since these whales don’t swim very fast, they can be seen near the horizon for long periods of time.
The very first humpback whales to make their annual migration to the warm waters of Queensland are seen in the south coastal town of Eden between the months of June and August. If you wait a while longer, you can see mothers and their calves as they return to south Antarctica as well. Humpbacks travel in big numbers and usually stay close to the shore with their young ones. Orcas and sperm whales can also be found here, but they are usually a bit further off the coast, close to the continental shelf.
These are among the top destinations in Australia that are definitely worth exploring if you fancy experiencing the thrill of watching some of the largest mammals on this planet.
Tips provided by Colin @ozwhalewatching.com.au