A Yearly Round Up of the Whale Watching Season in Australia

Posted on Jan 5 2017 - 10:48pm by Johnny B

Australia is among some of the best places to go whale watching as these creatures can be sighted from the edge of the cliff and without one having to go in the waters altogether. However, cruise rides are the best ways to get up close to them.


If you are also interested in whale watching, book a tour with Oz Whale Watching. The most commonly sighted whales in Australia include the southern rights and humpbacks which make annual migrations each year to breed and mate.

The whale watching season in Australia begins every year, starting from late April when southern rights start to journey for temperate breeding. On the other hand, humpbacks also travel north for warmer waters along the western coast of Australia. They can be spotted doing so for approximately 6 months, that is from May till late November. There was a time when the humpbacks were on the verge of being extinct as barely 500 of them remained in the entire world. But luckily, the prediction was proven wrong as more and more started to breed and their count increased.

What most people don’t know is that Australia is the only country that has over 50% of all the worlds’ cetaceans in its waters alone. It was recently estimated that up to 45 different species of whales, porpoises and dolphins permanently live or migrate to Australian waters, including 36 toothed whales and 9 baleen whales. With a rapid increase in cruising and whale watching near the NSW coastline, all of these and many other sea creatures can also be spotted swimming and migrating to warmer lands.

2016 has been a fairly good year for sightseeing. Record instances of sightseeing were documented as hundreds and thousands of tourists rushed to see the biggest sea creatures in action. Annual migrations of whales has always been an integral part of the tourism industry as it brings people to this marvelous country each year to have an up-close encounter with these sea giants. These sightseeing tours are charted by the hundreds of cruising companies which are reaping big revenues year-in year-out.

According to the figures recorded by Tourism and Events Queensland, a total of 164,000 domestic visitors showed up on the shores to watch the whales and dolphins last year. The number of international tourists was even greater as they always seem to think of it as a life-long experience.

So How Good Was The Whale Season In NSW This Time Around?

According to the data recorded by Wild About Whales, the main highlights of 2016 included:

  1. The return of Migaloo: for those who don’t know, Migaloo is the most beloved albino whale in Australia which rarely makes an appearance. It was first spotted at Byron Bay in 1991 and has become everyone’s favourite due to its all-white colour. After a 24-month absence, it was finally spotted on 22nd July 2016.
  2. The highest number of humpbacks (3,032) was also recorded from 24th May to 31st
  3. Approximately 24,000 humpbacks were seen passing the NSW coastline.
  4. A 10% increase in the population of humpbacks was also recorded.
  5. For the first-time ever, a burping humpback was spotted near the coast of Jarvis Bay.
  6. A sighting of a rare Omura whale was also made near the Great Barrier Reef. A snorkelling boar officer photographed it and submitted the photo to Great Barrier Reef Marine Authority who later confirmed it was, in fact, an Omura whale.