Whales visit Sydney twice every year. The first season comes in the winter months around May to August when humpback whales head north to breed and give birth. The second season lands in the summer months, as the whales travel back down south with their calves to feed in the Antarctic waters. Humpback whales migrate around 5000km on average and have one of the longest migratory journeys of any mammal.
The timing of each migration varies every year and is dependent on water temperature, sea ice, risk of predators, prey abundance and location of feeding grounds.
The first season, in the winter months, is the best time to spot the whales from shore with as many as 20,000 whales swimming along the New South Wales Coastline.
So where are the best lookouts to spot migrating whales?
1. The Barrenjoey Lighthouse
The Barrenjoey Lighthouse sits at the very northern part of the Palm Beach Peninsula in the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. The lighthouse is heritage listed and stands at 113 metres above sea level.
2. Kamay Botany Bay National Park
Cape Solander is one of Sydney’s best whale watching spots, located in the Kurnell section of the National Park it was named after famous botanist Daniel Solander. Whales have been known to swim just 200 metres from the shoreline.
3. Bouddi National Park
The Gerrin Lookout situated in Bouddi National Park looks out across Maitland Bay. Whales are often spotted from this lookout in the Winter months. The lookout is a short walk from Putty Beach.
4. North Head
Situated around the corner from Manly, the North Head lookout is renowned for its panoramic views and whale spotting.
The New South Wales coastline is home to an abundance of marine life. While whales are a rarity at times and seasonal migrators, dolphins are often spotted playing in the waves and feeding just off shore. Lucky viewers may even spot minke whales and orcas.