A Guide to Whale Watching in NSW: What you Need to Know

One of the best places in the entire world to observe whales in their natural habitat is the Sapphire Coast in NSW, as the Humpback Whales make their annual migration north from Antarctica to the Great Barrier Reef, which begins in May and continues until the end of July. This northern migration sees tens of thousands of these majestic creatures travelling to the warm waters around the Great Barrier Reef, where they will breed. Southern Right Whales are also making this epic journey at the same time and they have some amazing surface behaviours that you will witness first-hand.

The Southern Migration

As far as whale watching is concerned, the southern Humpback Whale migration offers more excitement than the earlier one, mainly because during this trip, the new mothers and their calves are clearly visible and they prefer to swim quite close to shore, rather than out in the deeper waters. If you want the best possible chance to witness the migration, whale watching in Eden is the best solution and there are family-owned whale watching boats that leave twice a day; mornings and afternoons.

Whale Surface Behaviours

The Humpback Whales exhibit a wide range if surface behaviours, which include the following:

  • Pectoral Fin Slap – The whales lie on their side and expose one of their pectoral fins, which they slam onto the water.
  • Air Blow – The most common behaviour of all, this is when the whale exhales on the surface after a long dive and the whale watching boat skipper will look for the tell-tale signs of extended sprays of water.
  • Spy Hop – Wales are just as curious about us as we are about them and the spy hop is when the whale sits vertically in the water, with its head out of the water. The whale might turn from side to side, which allows it to see a wider arch of vision.
  • Tail Slap – The whale sits vertically in the water with its tail protruding and it slaps down on the water surface, which scientists believe is a way of removing parasites from the fluke (tail). Tail slapping is very common and it might also be a playful action, although no one really knows for sure, indeed, we know very little about the majestic whales, aside from their surface behaviours.

The above are only some of the actions you will observe when you book a whale watching voyage out of Eden, the jewel of the Sapphire Coast.