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The Great Migration

More than 30.000 Humback Whales swim past Sydney each year

Humpback Whales travel thousands of kilometers from early May to Late November, between their winter breeding grounds to their summer feeding grounds along the East Coast of Australia.

We are lucky enough to witness one of the longest whale migrations in the world off the coast of Sydney.
Humpback Whales are the most watched species for us with about 30.000 animals passing Sydney each year with an annual increase by about 10%

May to August

In mid May humpback whales begin passing by Sydney on their northern migration coming from antarctic waters to the south.

Whale numbers are low for the first few days, but are building quickly each day, reaching the peak of the northern migration with hundreds of whales passing per day towards the end of June / beginning of July.

By mid August we see the last whales going north as they will have moved past Sydney onto their breeding grounds up north.

On the northern Migration we see a lot of breaching whales and active males showing their dominance to impress females for mating.

August to September

In August most whales are now swimming south with the very last whales still going north.

By mid August most whales will have gone past Sydney to the north and we are starting to see the first whales swimming south again. An interesting time of the season with whales going both directions!

Towards the end of August and through September we quite regularly encounter very curious humpback whales that are coming right up to our boat, swimming circles around us for hours. This is called a mugging and is some of the best whale watching you can have.

Whales during this time of the season can be quite far away from land as they follow southerly flowing currents that are further offshore.

October and November

In October and November we will have a lot of mothers and calves coming down the coast

Mothers and calves usually swim slower than the other whales as the calf isn’t that fast just yet and her mother is looking after it on it’s journey south. They are the last whales to come past Sydney before our season comes to an end.

Mothers and calves are usually very close to the coast as its the easiest for the mother to protect her calf as they can seek shelter if sea conditions get worse and its easier to hide her calf from predators like Killer Whales and sharks.

Mothers and calves are usually great to watch with the mother teaching her calf how to breach and the calf repeating what it has learnt for hours non stop!

Other Animals

There is more to see than just humpback whales!

Humpback Whales

Humpback Whales we see on almost every trip. They are the main species of whale migrating past the coast of Sydney from May to December.

Dolphins

There is a 50/50 chance to see dolphins on your cruise with us. The most common species are Bottlenose Dolphins and Common Pacific Dolphins.

Southern Right Whale

We get to see Southern Right Whales around 4-5 times a season. They don’t migrate like the humpback whale does and there are not as many.

Blue Whale

A very rare visitor to the shores of Sydney. We only saw two in the last 10 years. With up to 35m long it is the largest animal to have ever lived on our planet

Minke Whale

Minke Whales are a little bit smaller than Humpback Whales and very elusive. They don’t like to be watched making for tricky whale watching.

Orca

Also known as Killers Whales. Also a rare visitor with 3 sightings over the last 10 years. Easy to identify with a dorsal fin measuring more than 2m tall.

Fur Seals

Often seen relaxing on the surface of the water soaking in the sun or at a seal colony close to the harbour entrance

Sea Birds

We get many different species of Albatross (mostly Black Brow and Yellow Nose), Gannets, Shear Waters, Terns, Petrels & Skuas

Other Species

Every once in a while we come across something we don’t usually get: Sharks, False Killer Whales, Pilot Whales, Sun Fish, Rays, Turtles

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Download our whale app today

Whale knowledge at your fingertips. Available in English, Chinese and Japanese.