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Whale watching on Northern Beaches
Best spots for whale watching on the Northern Beaches

It’s that time of year again when over 35,000 whales swim onto the Humpback Highway for their yearly migration to the much warmer birthing waters of Queensland. The Northern Beaches has some of the best spots for whale watching in Sydney.

You will mostly see humpback whales or southern rights, however, orcas, blue whales, minke whales and sperm whales have also been sighted. Be sure to rug up as Sydney’s winter weather can be cool, especially if you are out on a boat. The Northern Beaches offers many vantage points during the season from May until November from where you can spot whales.

Use the app ‘Wild about Whales’ or hashtag, #whaleon to find out where whales have recently been viewed.

Check out our list below for the most popular whale watching locations on the Northern Beaches:

1. Out at Sea

Most of the Whale watching tours start on the 15 May 2021. Head out into the Pacific Ocean on a whale-watching cruise for the best chance to get up close and personal with these giant 30-45 tonne mammals. Make sure you take a ginger tablet before going out if you are prone to seasickness.
From Manly, there are various whale-watching cruises on offer; Ocean Extreme, Sydney’s fastest high speed inflatable boat will take you on an exciting and personal cruise with a maximum of 21 passengers. You will enjoy close up views of some of nature’s most awesome and majestic creatures in an experience you will remember for years to come. Another option is aboard a catamaran, Manly Harbour Cat, departing from Manly on a 2.5 hour cruise at 11am and 2pm on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. This is a great experience for families, giving fantastic views of the ocean’s general giants.

From Palm Beach you can join a Fantasea whale watching cruise for a scenic, educational and up-close encounter of the whale migration. They run every day in school holidays and after that, weekends only, until the end of the season.

What are you waiting for?! Book yourself on a whale-watching cruise today to experience these amazing creatures of the sea.

2. North Head

North Head has multiple fantastic vantage points to spot whales but the most popular and easiest to reach is the lookout behind the carpark at Shelly Beach. Keep an eye out for telltale splashes as the whales flick their tails or fountains of water spouting from a whale’s blowhole each time they breathe out. The lookout at the top of North Head can be reached by walking a 9km return scenic route, or you could catch bus 161.

3. Long Reef Headland

One of Northern Beaches’ hidden whale watching spots is at Long Reef Headland. Here there is a viewing platform from which you will have views all the way south to Manly, north to the Central Coast and east, out across the Pacific Ocean. A mother whale and her calf will often come in quite close to the coastline and beaches to find a spot to rest or socialise.

4. Palm Beach

One of the most impressive whale watching spots in Palm Beach is from the top of the Barrenjoey Lighthouse. Pack a picnic and hike to the top of the headland to enjoy the impressive views across the ocean, if you wait long enough, you might be lucky enough to spot a whale or two!

For some extra tips on how to find whales from the shores, check out this blog written by Northern Beaches Council.