Complete Guide to Whale Watching in Sydney

With such a spectacular harbour, whale watching is a must for Sydneysiders and visitors to the city. Whether it is an organised cruise or a coastal trek, there are plenty of opportunities to catch a glimpse of these magnificent creatures.


  • East Coast Humpback Whales – This is the most common whale you will see when in Sydney.
  • Southern Right Whales – Although not as common as Humpback Whales, these whales often swim much closer to shore making some fabulous viewing opportunities.
  • Other whales such as Minke Whales, Bryde’s Whales, False Killer Whales, Killer Whales and Pilot Whales are less common but will occasionally make an appearance if you’re lucky.



East Coast Humpback Whales

The East Coast Humpback Migration Season is split into two sections which happen between April and December each year.

  • From April – August they are swimming north to give birth in the waters of the Coral Sea. At this time you might see the whales breaching, tail slapping and lunging.
  • From August – December the whales are heading south to the Antarctic feeding ground where it is summer. At this time you might see the whales breaching, tail slapping, approaching boats, feeding and spyhopping (rising and holding its position out of the water).

The Southern Right Whales

In the winter months, you may be lucky enough to see the see the Southern Right Whales in one of Sydney’s harbours or bays for days at a time seeking a place to feed or shelter their calves.



The best way to see the annual whale migration is on a boat. There are numerous commercial cruises which offer an up close and personal view of these magnificent creatures along with a professional guide, photographer and snacks on board. These cruises are daily and depart from Sydney’s Darling Harbour, Circular Quay or other major wharfs.



If boating is not your thing you can still catch a glimpse from the land. The key is to get up high along the coast on cliff tops or headlands. Bring a packed lunch and make a picnic out of it!

The most common places to spot whales along the coast are below.

  • Cape Banks, La Perouse
  • South Head Signal Station, South Head
  • North head Lookout, North Head National Park
  • Ben Buckler, Bondi
  • Long Reef point
  • Cape Solander, Kurnell
  • Magic Point, Maroubra




  • Warm Clothes – Remember if its winter, even in Sydney there’ll be a chill in the air along the coast or on a boat.
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • A Camera – Commercial cruises may have a professional photographer however is you want to take your own snaps, don’t forget your camera!
  • Wet weather jacket – For both ocean spray and the rain.

All the tips and info are provided by the team of Oz Whale Watching. This post was sponsored by Oz Whale Watching, but as always, all opinions on Wanderbug are my own.

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