Best Spots to Spot Whales this Whale-Watching Season

I love whale-watching season in Coffs Harbour! It makes all those walks over Muttonbird Island and any other headland and coastal lookout point that much more exciting!
Will we see whales today? If so, how many? And will they merely spout some spray into the air to alert us to their presence, will we see their backs glide gently out of and back into the water, will there be some tails up in the air or are they putting on a full-on breaching and tail-flapping show for us?

Watching mighty humpback whales in the ocean off Coffs Harbour

Watching mighty humpback whales in the ocean off Coffs Harbour

No matter how many times you’ve seen whales, because they’re so mighty and so unpredictable, every time you see one it’s exciting again. And it unites people, pointing them out to those who haven’t spotted them yet and going “oh” and “ah” and “wow” in unison.

Every year from late May, thousands of mighty humpback whales migrate north along the east coast of Australia from the cold Antarctic seas to the warm ocean waters off the Queensland coast to breed.
Along the NSW Coffs Coast, in June, July and early August you’ll see them on their way up, while from late August to early November they’ll be going back south with their calves. The whales actually tend to swim a bit closer to shore on their way back in order to protect their calves, so you may even get a closer view then.
Various tail-shots of migrating humpback whales along the Coffs Coast

Various tail-shots of migrating humpback whales along the Coffs Coast

Here are some excellent ways and places to watch whales around Coffs Harbour:

On the water:
Board a whale-watching cruise. Choose from trips with the following operators (all from the Coffs Harbour Marina):

  • Sailing catamaran ‘Pacific Explorer‘ – ph. 02 6652 8988
  • Jetty Dive’s ultra-fast ‘Wild Fin‘ – ph. 02 6651 1611
  • Double-deck catamaran ‘Cougar Cat 12‘ – ph. 6651 6715

(The Spirit of Coffs Harbour no longer operates in Coffs.)

On land:
  • From the top of or the viewing platform on Muttonbird Island in Coffs Harbour
  • From Beacon Hill Lookout on Victoria Street, Coffs Harbour Jetty area
  • From Boambee or Bonville Headlands in Sawtell
  • From Macauleys Headland, between Diggers Beach and Park Beach in Coffs Harbour
  • From Look At Me Now Headland in Emerald Beach
  • From Woolgoolga Headland in Woolgoolga

Bring your binoculars and if you’re going on a boat, make sure you bring your camera as I guarantee you’ll want to take lots of photos and/or videos!
All the headlands and lookout points mentioned above have benches to sit on, or bring a rug and a picnic and park yourselves on the grass for a relaxing game of “spot the whales”.
It’s a good idea to wait for calm weather because it can be incredibly difficult if not impossible to spot whales when the sea is choppy. Have fun!

2 thoughts on “Best Spots to Spot Whales this Whale-Watching Season

  1. mo eel

    I’m a visitor in Coffs and just found more useful information about whale watching on your blog than the official Coffs tourism site. Well done! I’m phoning both tours in a few minutes.
    Earlier this week i visited the dolphins, seals, fishes and little penguins at another fantastic Coffs attraction called the Pet Porpoise Pool. It’s so much fun and kid friendly that I think it deserves a mention along with the aquarium you have included on your blog.

  2. admin

    Thanks for your feedback. Actually, the official Coffs Coast website also has good information about whale-watching, but provides the telephone number of the Coffs Coast Visitor Information Centre so they can make sure to give visitors the most up-to-date info and details about whale-watching operators.
    You are very right about the Pet Porpoise Pool being a fantastic attraction in Coffs Harbour and I will definitely put up a blog post about them as well. I have started this blog writing about some lesser known attractions which I thought could really use some publicity, but I will go on and write about the bigger and more popular attractions over time as well.
    Thanks again for taking the time to leave some feedback. Enjoy the rest of your stay in Coffs!

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