Port Stephens Whale Watching… The Best Whale Watching in NSW

12 Reasons Why Port Stephens is the Best place to Whale Watch in NSW

  1. Whale Watching in Port Stephens is conducted in what is the largest Marine Park in New South Wales (98,200ha)- “Port Stephens Great Lakes Marine Park
  2. Nelson Bay Whale Watching runs for 6months of the year. It includes the Northern Migration from Mid May to August when Humpback Whales migrate to their calving ground in the Coral Sea. The Southern Migration from August to mid November is when the mothers and newborn calves make their way back down to the feeding grounds in Antarctica.
  3. Over 13,000 Humpback Whales are expected to migrate up the East Coast in 2012, making the chance to see the spectacular giants very reliable. The highlight of the season is June and July, when most of the whales migrate along what is known as the whale highway- almost 9000km. The offshore waters are generally calmer and it’s October, early November when the mothers guide their new born calves close to the coast on their way to the Antarctic feeding ground. August and September are slower months but the chance to see whales remain very high and Imagine will offer a free cruise if the whales are not sighted.
  4. The whales migrate very close to Port Stephens making the whales easier to spot and shortening the travelling time to get to the whales. In rare occasions Humpbacks come in the Port but for the most of times they are found between the outer Lighthouse and Broughton Island.
  5. All Whale Watching cruises from Nelson Bay include a dolphin watch cruise. 3 different types of dolphins use the marine park: Over 150 Coastal Bottlenose dolphins (200-300kg) can be found in the bay and are sometimes visited by their cousins, the Offshore Bottlenose dolphin up to 650kg. On most occasions the friendly and inquisitive Short Beak Oceanic Common Dolphin (100kg) can be seen in very large pods when sailing past the offshore Islands.
  6. Eight species of whales can be seen in the marine park: Humpback whales (30t), Minke Whales (9t), Southern Right Whales (80t), False Killer Whale (2.5t), Sei Whales (40t), Pilot Whales (3.5t) Brydes whales (30t), Fin whales (90t) and Orcas, these 6 to 9t killer whales have been seen in our waters but sightings are very rare.
  7. Cabbage Tree Island, just off Yaccaba Headland, is unique for its bird colony and vegetation. During Winter and Spring it attracts an Australian Fur Seal Colony. During the Whale Season we regularly stop along the rocks to observe the seals. Other wild life like sea turtles, and little blue penguins are often part of the cruise. 
  8. Bird Watching is ideal during Whale Watching, it’s a time when Gannets congregate in large flocks to feed and the Short Tail Shearwaters come by the thousands to nest on Broughton Island. Its cousin the fluttering Shearwater is often seen in big flocks hovering over the water. Magnificent albatross like the Yellow-Nose Albatross are commonly seen, on some occasions the Sooty Albatross and a variety of Petrels are sighted. Some birds are permanent residents of the Park like the Wedge Tail Eagle and the White breasted Sea Eagle who is often seen soaring above the headlands keeping check on the fish below.
  9. The Whales Migrate in the largest group of Islands along the NSW Coast, all of them National parks and the scenery is spectacular. The Port with its volcanic headlands is a wonderful heaven for wildlife and offers one of the most picturesque entrances along the NSW coast.
  10. Whale Watching is conducted along a scenic coast line composed of 2 large National parks, the Tomaree National Park to the South and the Myall River National Park to the North. The Bay with its scenic volcanic headlands is itself twice the size of Sydney harbor and offers awesome views.
  11. Whale Watching in Port Stephens is so good that is can be done from the points of Headlands. One of the best view points is Telegraph Point from Boat Harbor just a short drive from Nelson Bay, but of course your best chance to  have a great encounter and the closest view is from a Whale Watching Tour on the water.
  12. Sailing is the ultimate way to whale watch, its so quiet you can hear them blow!

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