With the arrival of winter comes the chance to see whales – the most majestic of mammals – in their natural habitat. And while WA is more commonly associated with wineries and first-class surf breaks, it too offers an abundance of vantage points for unrivalled whale watching. From lighthouse look-outs to beautiful beaches and beyond, here are the six best spots for whale watching in Western Australia.
While more commonly known for its vineyards, Western Australia’s Margaret River Region welcomes approximately 35,000 whales every year between June and December, as they migrate from the Antarctic to WA’s warmer waters. One of the best places for whale-watching in Western Australia, visitors can witness these majestic mammals from the shore, the top of a lighthouse or on one of the many whale-watching tours on offer. And with a 6-month season – from June to early December – the Margaret River Region sees Humpbacks, Southern Rights, Minkes and Blue Whales all making this epic journey, meaning the Margaret River is easily one of the best places to whale watch in Australia.
As WA’s capital city, it’s easy to see why Perth would offer some of the best whale watching in Western Australia. The Humpback Highway is part of an ancient system of ocean paths that circle the planet and in April each year, thousands of whales leave Antartica to raise their young in the warmer waters of the Kimberley in WA’s north west. From March to May, would-be whale watchers can tour to the Perth Canyon 30 nautical miles off the coast of Perth to see the elusive Blue Whale – the only place in Australia you can see these magnificent animals feeding.
Ningaloo Reef in Exmouth
Home to the highest density of humpback whales, The Ningaloo Coast – which forms part of the ‘Humpback Highway’ sees an unrivalled number of whales on their 11,000km migration from Antarctica to the Kimberley Coast. There are a number of beautiful vantage points from which to witness the whales rolling on the surface, slapping their fins and tails and breaching clear of the water, which include Town Beach, Sunrise Beach, Exmouth Gulf and Bundegi Beach. And for those wanting to get up close and personal with the whales, Ningaloo Discovery give guests the opportunity to swim in the pristine waters of Ningaloo Reef with the biggest fish in the world, the whale shark, just off Exmouth.
If you’re based in central WA, Hillarys is one of the best places for whale watching in Western Australia. With Humpbacks, Southern Rights and Blue whales migrating through Perth’s waters en route back to Antarctica, opt for a boat tour run by Rottnest Fast Ferries to experience the thrill of coming face to face with the majestic Humpback Whales on their annual migration along the Western Australian coastline.
A beloved tourist holiday town in WA, Dunsborough is a hot spot for locals and tourists alike who want to witness some of the best whale watching in Western Australia. Known for the annual Humpback & Southern Right Whale migration, Geographe Bay is a resting area for the southern migration of the Humpback Whale and the calving grounds of the Southern Right on their journey back to Antarctica to their summer feeding grounds. During this time of year whale-watchers will delight in the playful activity between mother and calf whales. Jet Adventures offer a unique whale watching Dunsborough adventure on board the Exhilarator in search of the gentle giants of the ocean.
Augusta’s Flinder’s Bay is widely believed to be one of the best places for whale watching in Western Australia. From late May to August, both Humpback and Southern Right whales can be seen courting, breeching and playing in the waters, and with its white sandy beaches and granite rock outcrops, Flinder’s Rock offers whale-watchers a spectacularly scenic backdrop. The Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse is a great spot from which to whale-watch, while Whale Watch Western Australia offers the chance to see ample activity amongst the Humpbacks – including intense competition pods as up to twenty male compete for the right to court a female on her migration north.
Want to know the best places to whale watch in Victoria? We’ve rounded them up for you here.