As we say hello to June, we also happily welcome the 2021 whale watching season!


If you have never experienced the annual migrations, it is an absolute must to see these magnificent whales breach and play in the water. Here are our top picks for the best tours and experiences of whale watching in NSW for the upcoming 2021 season.


Eden Whale Festival, Sapphire Coast NSW

From 15–17 October, the stunning NSW Sapphire Coast will be celebrating whale season with its annual Eden Whale Festival. Come along and watch the southern migration of the mighty humpbacks, learn about Eden’s fascinating whale history and discover the unspoilt wilderness of this stretch of coastline. There’s plenty of onshore and offshore fun to be had, as well as live entertainment, delicious seafood and local market stalls. Find the full program and more info here.


Nelson Bay, Port Stephens, NSW 1

© redballoon


Nelson Bay, Port Stephens, NSW

Sail with Humpback Whales, spot flocks of oceanic sea birds, Southern Fur Seals, and dolphins, and enjoy breathtaking landscapes out of Port Stephens! Don’t fret, you are hosted by an Advanced Eco-Accredited company dedicated to protecting dolphins and whales. The catamaran allows for 360° viewing from a covered foredeck and cosy cabin. This whale watching in NSW cruise is 3 hours long and is equipped with tea, coffee, biscuits, and informative commentary as you sight-see. There is also a licensed bar on board if you’re looking to really unwind. If the conditions allow, the sails will be up for you to ride with the wildlife. This cruise is available from mid-May to early November and commences daily at 10:30 am and 2:00 pm. What are you waiting for! Check out pricing and availability here.


Circular Quay or Manly Wharf

© redballoon


Adrenaline-pumping whale watching in Sydney

Whale watching AND a high-speed vessel that reaches speeds of 80km/h? The Ocean Extreme experience guarantees you will see whales in their natural habitat and includes a thrilling 2-hour fast boat ride. That’s right, guaranteed! If you happen to not spot any whales on your tour, you will be issued a ticket to come and tour again for free! Head into the Tasman Sea, then head out to visit the most friendly and approachable whale pods sought out by your skipper. This tour is offered from mid-May to late November. More details on this incredible Sydney experience can be found here.


Jervis Bay, South Coast NSW

© redballoon


Jervis Bay whale watching, South Coast NSW

Looking for more relaxation than thrill? The Jervis Bay provides some of the best calm water viewing and gorgeous scenery. Last season the record was over 100 individual whale sightings on one cruise during the southern migration! Even if you aren’t lucky enough to see quite this many, this cruise assures you that you will spot some, offering a free return cruise if no whales are sighted. Bottlenose dolphins may also be spotted! Sit back and watch these incredible animals breach and play in their pristine natural habitat. This cruise is 2 hours in length and times vary depending on the vessel used that day. Check out the details here!


Newcastle, NSW

© redballoon


Whale watching in Newcastle, NSW

This 3-hour harbour and ocean whale watching cruise is a RedBalloon exclusive, so be sure to check out this page to find out more! Sip on your morning coffee or tea, read the wildlife fact sheets provided, hear the captain’s commentary, and see the whales, as well as possibly dolphins, sea birds, sharks, and penguins for yourself. Experience the amazing migration of over 20,000 humpback whales while learning about the wildlife off of Newcastle’s speculator coastline. There is also a licensed bar with drinks and snacks for you to enjoy on your endeavor. This cruise operates every Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday in June through late November (Except in September).


Manly, Sydney

© redballoon


Whale watching cruise from Manly, Sydney

Set sail on this luxury catamaran which allows you to get close to the dolphins and humpback whales. This catamaran also spoils you with jaw-dropping 360-degree views (perfect for you to capture that perfect shot). An experienced skipper also provides commentary and can answer your questions throughout the cruise. This journey is 3 hours long, departing Manly Wharf at 10 in the morning, and sailing through the beautiful Sydney Harbour. The vessel has an outdoor seating area fit for 12 people. Need yet another added bonus? The vessel allows you to bring your own food and drinks, so you can stock up and sail off with your faves! Book your spot here.


Sydney, NSW

© redballoon


Whale watching tour in Sydney Harbour, NSW

This 4-hour whale-watching cruise provides lunch while on board as well as expert commentary! Departing from Circular Quay, enjoy this world-famous location before arriving just off of Sydney Heads. Here is where you’ll look out for these majestic creatures. Gain a greater understanding of the whale’s characteristics, migrating patterns, and history, all while the remarkable city skyline and landmarks surround you. The vessel has an indoor lounge area, a licensed bar, and spacious outdoor viewing areas! See the availability and price point to plan your trip here.


Also, be sure to check out our Deputy Editor’s personal favourite locations, Norah Head on the Central Coast. It has a few marvellous lookout spots, a gorgeous lighthouse and a couple of local cafes to visit.


Enjoyed learning about whale watching in NSW? You may also want to check out:

Make a splash at the 7 best water parks in Australia

10 stunning waterfalls to visit in Australia

10 animal encounters that will blow you out of the water 

Leading image © redballoon, Nelson Bay, Port Stephens, NSW

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This