Travellers and locals are indeed fortunate that Australia is one of the world’s best locations for whale watching. The months between June and October represent the best time for witnessing large whales in Australian waters. While more than 40 species of whales and dolphins have been identified in Australian waters, it is the enormous and amazing humpback whales that are most often seen.
Whales on the move
The large whales found in the southern hemisphere follow a migration pattern each year that takes them from the cold waters of Antarctica (in which they spend the summer and feed on great amounts of krill) to waters further north that are more temperate and subtropical. In these warmer waters, whales mate and give birth before they head back to the cold waters of the Antarctic at the end of spring.
Humpback whales and their movements
Each year, from May to August (and even beyond), humpback whales move north, following the east and west coasts of Australia as they head to the ideal breeding areas off Queensland, Western Australia and further north. When the humpback whales have mated and given birth, they return to feeding areas closer to the Antarctic.
Include whale watching in your travel itinerary
There is no denying that whale watching is spectacular and special. To many, it is considered an activity that should be done at least once in every person’s lifetime. The very good news is that Australia offers many great places and opportunities for whale watching, and it is relatively easy to include whale watching with the other activities of your holiday.
Travelling in Victoria: Melbourne tours, Phillip Island tours, Great Ocean Road tours… whale watching!
When travelling in Victoria, be sure to take a Melbourne tour that will introduce you to the wonderful sights and history of Victoria’s capital city and lead you to some of Melbourne’s most charming, delicious and fabulous features.
From Melbourne, it is also recommended that you take one or more great day tours that showcase other parts of this beautiful state. A Great Ocean Road tour fits the bill perfectly in this regard. When you join a Great Ocean Road tour you will see some of Australia’s most breathtaking beaches, charming towns, pristine national parks and amazing natural formations, such as the Twelve Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge. Such a tour is even better when it takes you to some of the best vantage points for whale watching. Warrnambool, in the south west of Victoria, is the largest city along the Great Ocean Road and is not only a great place to visit, but also an ideal location for whale watching.
This year, conditions are perfect and whales are expected in the area any time now. In fact, from May to November, southern right whales are often seen close to Australia’s southern coast, with females and their calves spending much time close to the surf break and often seen from the headlands of the Otway coast of Victoria. This includes towns such as Warrnambool, Port Fairy and Portland Bay, offering great opportunities for whale watching).
How to have an effective whale watching experience
- Take your binoculars
- Try to whale watch on a day between June and October that is clear and calm
- Prominent headlands usually provide the best vantage points for whale watching, but heading out on a boat or aircraft can also enable great views of the whales
- As you try to ‘whale spot’, look for the blow of a whale. The cloud of spray or mist that can be seen as air is exhaled through the blowhole of the whale is usually how a whale is first identified.
Whale watching is a fun and quite amazing activity. There is something very special about seeing whales frolicking and propelling themselves from the water, and learning about the behaviours of whales is fascinating to many. Australia offers many great opportunities for whale watching, and in the state of Victoria it is possible to spot whales in some of the state’s most beautiful locations.