Plan your whale watching adventure

In by mike

Image: Matt Blakers

Plan your whale watching adventure

Did you know the whale watching season in Australia’s South West is one of the longest in the world, spanning from June to December annually? Whales head north annually in search of warmer waters to breed and calve, and then head south with their young later in the year. We’ve got some really easy advice to help you spot whales during your Winter Down South. Ready?

  1. Go to coast
  2. Look out to ocean
  3. Keep looking
  4. See whale

It can be that simple. There’s about 30,000 humpback, southern right (and sometimes blue) whales that swim past the south west corner of WA annually. You’ve just got to sit a while and look out to the horizon to spot them. Keep reading below for the best vantage points to see whales from the shore.

You can increase your chances by being in the right place at the right time. The season starts in Albany and Augusta from June to August as the whales head north, then they hug close to the coast around Dunsborough and Busselton as the return south from September to mid-December.

Whale Watching Tours

If you’re after a more intimate experience, there’s several tour companies that run daily tours (weather dependent) during season, allowing you to get up close with these gentle giants of the deep. 

Tours operate out of Augusta from June to mid September, Albany from June to October and Dunsborough or Busselton from mid September to mid December. Bookings can be made through a visitor centre. Check out the current offers from regional tour operators:

 

Top spots to see the whales

You don’t have to go far out to sea to see these gigantic mammals and you can often see them frolicking close to the shore. The below vantage points will give you the best view.

  • Cape Leeuwin & Flinders Bay, near Augusta – there are numerous vantage points along Leeuwin Road, however for fantastic views you can’t beat the top of Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse.
  • Cape to Cape Walk Trail, Margaret River region – This walk covers 140km of coastline between Cape Naturaliste near Dunsborough and Cape Leeuwin near Augusta. It offers breathtaking coastal scenery, with opportunities to spot migrating whales from June and wildflowers from August.
  • Point D’Entrecasteaux, south of Northcliffe. This area offers a range of walking trails, a scenic drive and several spectacular lookout points along the cliffs.
  • Conspicuous Cliffs, 15km east of Walpole – There is a beautiful coastal walk from the carpark to a cliff-top viewing platform.
  • Ocean Beach, Denmark – There are two great vantage points to choose from; Wilson Head and Lions Lookout.
  • Albany’s Historic Whaling Station, 22km from Albany – with uninterrupted views over King George Sound and extensive history about whaling and conservation in WA, this is a top spot to see and learn about whales in WA.
  • Torndirrup National Park, near Albany – Take a walk along the coast where the rock formations nearly pre-date all life on Earth. Spectacular on fine winter days, The Gap and Natural Bridge walk is an easy 300m return, providing an access friendly walk to spectacular lookouts, ideal for spotting whales.
  • Point Ann, Fitzgerald River National Park 65km east of Bremer Bay – this spot is one of two southern right whale nurseries in Australia, and between July and November you can often see baby whales being calved. Pictured below by Peter Nicholas and Parks & Wildlife WA.
 

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