As the water gets cooler, the annual whale migration up Australia’s east coast lures thousands of visitors from far and wide. Sydney is one of the most diverse and unique spot whale watch, but to make the most of your experience, we’d like to share a few tips and tricks with you.

Here’s your ultimate guide to whale watching in Sydney this whale season!

When is the best time to whale watch?



In Sydney, the whale watching season runs from May to November each year, meaning there is a wide range of time to spot them. Whale numbers are at their peak in Sydney between late June to mid-July, so if your heart is set on seeing a number of whales breaching and frolicking in the cool water, this might be a good time to book. As the official season ends in November, you can rest assured that you’re still likely to spot whales outside of the peak time.

Over 16,000 whales transit through the cool Sydney waters during whale watching season, gracing the east coast with their playful energy.


What is the Best Way to Whale Watch?


best way to whale watch


On-land watching

There are a number of different ways to whale watch in Sydney depends on your itinerary, your budget and how close you want to get. For those looking for a no-frills approach, there are around 40 vantage points on dry land around the Sydney region where you can spot these gentle giants, including Bondi Headland, Fairfax Lookout and Barrenjoey Head.


Whale watching cruises


For a more intimate and memorable whale watching tour and experience, there’s no better way to soak up the adventure than with a cruise. Jump on board the beloved Enigma and invite 11 of your closest friends for an exclusive whale watching tour. Make a day of it by enjoying a scrumptious seafood platter donned with the freshest catch of the day, and soak up the wondrous sights of nature at its best.

Or take a half-day adventure cruise with Harbour Cat, a stable, twin-hulled catamaran designed with a whale watching tour guests in mind. Enjoy the use of the large netted trampoline at the front of the vessel and watch the whales play in front of you.

For a different kind of experience, you might also like to embark on Ocean Dreaming of their two or three-hour cruise or be whisked away by True Blue. Whichever cruise you choose to go whale watching in Sydney, you’re bound to be delighted by the magic of these mystical creatures.


When is the best time of day to whale watch?


Whale watching in Sydney is best done between the hours of 11 am and 3 pm every day when the sun is at its highest point in the sky. This makes for excellent visibility, but it’s important to note that this light may also make photography a little more difficult. If this is important to you, try whale watching in the morning or afternoon light.


What Kind of Whales Can You See in Sydney?


see whales in sydney harbour


The most common whale to spot during whale season in Sydney is the Humpback whale, but you can also see Southern Right whales. As Humpbacks are the most playful of the lot, they are more easily spotted. Minke whales, false killer whales, killer whales and pilot whales also migrate up the east coast at this time, if you’re lucky to also see them.


How Do You Spot a Whale?


best time to whale watch

If you take a whale-watching cruise with a professional crew, you’ll be guided on where to look and what to look for. Regardless, the best way to spot a whale is to look for its spout! Also, look out for big splashes, and keep your eyes peeled! On a calm day with no white caps, most disturbances you spot are likely to be a whale!


What Should I Pack?


best time to whale watch

Depending on the way you whale watch, you’ll want to take a few important items with you to make your experience comfortable. On a whale-watching harbour cruise, always pack water, snacks and a blanket as you’ll likely be out to sea for a good few hours! Some people also like to take binoculars.


Can You See Whales in Sydney Harbour?


can you see whales in sydney

In the last 15 years, only two Humpback whales have been spotted in the harbour, resting at Rose Bay. Sightings in the Sydney Harbour are extremely rare, so make sure you hop on board a whale-watching vessel to see these majestic creatures.

Book Now - Boat Hire Sydney