Have a whale tale of a time without having to spend a dime.
It’s not every day you can get to grapple with the enormity of the big mammal that rules the oceans – humpback whales. Luckily for us, right in our very own backyard, can you spot these majestic creatures making their grand hello from the depths of the South West’s turquoise coast; leaping bounds above sea level showing off their might or either having fun. Either way, their tail blazing movements will thrill you enough to pursue one of the ocean’s great adrenaline-charged adventures.
Australia’s South West whale watching season is one of the longest in the world. The Margaret River region even attracts the largest humpback whale migration on Earth! West Aussies are in for an excellent chance to spot some of the 30,000 humpbacks, southern right, blue and orca whales that swim along WA’s southern coast from May to December.
Expect the whales to follow a predictable itinerary each year, making it easier to scout where they will be performing their oceanic aerobatics off the coast. The whales head north to search for warmer waters to give birth to their calves then make the epic journey back south with their young ones in tow. (Just imagine catching sight of a cute, baby whales swimming alongside its elders!)
Avid humpback whale lovers rejoice as the watching season commences from mid-May in Augusta and Albany from June until they swim northbound. The whales return down south around Busselton from September to November and around Dunsborough from September until mid-December.
Best vantage points to see the whales – without going to sea
To increase your chances of seeing whales, here are the best vantage spots that make for a grand viewing without leaving land.
Cape Leeuwin & Flinders Bay, near Augusta
There are several great spots dotted along Leeuwin Road to see the whales. It is recommended to go sky high to reach the top of the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse for the ultimate vantage point.
Cape to Cape Walk Trail, Margaret River region
After seeing the whales near Augusta, trail 140km of the coastline, starting from Cape Leeuwin to Cape Naturaliste. Spot all things beginning with “W” as the whale exodus commences from June and wildflowers start to bloom from August, making it one wondrous coastline to see up close.
Point D’Entrecasteaux, south of Northcliffe
There are numerous spots to keep an eye out for the whales along its walking trails and lookout out points along the cliffs. Better yet, the drive itself is also scenic.
Conspicuous Cliffs, east of Walpole
Head 15 km east of Walpole, and you will find discover a stunning coastal walk from the car park to the death-defying Conspicuous Cliffs’ viewing platform.
Ocean Beach, Denmark
Double up on your whale watching in Denmark with Wilson Head and Lions Lookout proving to be great viewing spots.
Albany’s Historic Whaling Station, near Albany
Have the ultimate viewing platform by heading to King George Sound (22km from Albany) and receiving the 101 about WA’s whale activity and conservation efforts.
Torndirrup National Park, near Albany
Mix whale watching with seeing spectacular rock formations that almost pre-date life on Earth. The Gap and Natural Bridge walk is a mere 300 metres round trip, making it one magnificent spot to set sight on the whales.
Cruise for the ultimate whale encounter
To seek out the ultimate watching experience, set sail along WA’s coast to get close and personal with these giant mammals.
There are various local cruise tour operators with daily departures ready to give you a priceless experience at sea.
- All Sea Charters – Offers humpback and southern right whales tours departing from Augusta and Busselton.
- Jet Adventures – Offers one-of-a-kind tours on board WA’s fastest jet boat, departing from Dunsborough.
- Leeuwin Marine Charters – Offers whales, birds and seals tours departing Augusta Boat Harbour on route to Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse.
- Legend Charters – Offers tours (humpback, southern right whales, blue and orcas) all year around the South West Coast that include trips to Albany, Augusta, Margaret River, Dunsborough, Busselton.
- Naturaliste Charters – Offers tours (humpback, southern right whales and orcas) all year around the South West Coast that include trips to Bremer Bay, Dunsborough, Albany and Augusta.
- Whale Watch Western Australia – Offers tours (humpback, southern right whales and orcas) all year around the South West Coast that include trips to Bremer Bay, Dunsborough, Augusta. Departures from Perth also available.
Enough talk, more whale
Tick off whale watching on your bucket list and head down south to Albany today on the Albany fly+drive.
Fast whale fun facts
- The humpback whale weighs 50 tonnes and grows up to 110 feet on average. To put it into perspective, that’s heavier than a triple-trailer road-train, and almost as long.
- The size of its heart is the size of a small car.
- The whale’s tongue can weigh just as much as an elephant.
- Talk about demanding – the Baby Blue whale can need up to 240 litres of milk per day and grow 90 kg each day!
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