Info Overload on Whale-Watching. HELP!

Old Sep 15th, 2005, 11:22 PM
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Info Overload on Whale-Watching. HELP!

Greetings from Southern California!

My husband and I are planning our 2-year anniversary trip to Australia, 24 Oct - 06 Nov. We've got 3 days allocated to whale-watching, but don't know where to go. I've browsed the forum, read books, and asked friends, yet I have not been able to deduce the BEST place for whale-watching on the Eastern Coast (NSW/Queensland). I've heard Jervis Bay, Hervey Bay, Frasier Island, Port Stephens, and Eden. What do you think?

We will be based in Sydney, but are willing to travel, as we're greatly looking forward to seeing the humpbacks for the first time. So...shall we take a poll? Any input would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks so much!
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Old Sep 16th, 2005, 02:21 PM
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I think the time you are coming will be out of Whale season unless you do it from the most southern areas of Australia. They migrate back to the colder southern oceans after winter ( June - August).
Perhaps look at a google search on whales in Australian waters and see where exactly they would be at that time of year.
Over the past month they have been very active but I have not heard much this last week or so but I live in Queensland and they would be heading south.
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Old Sep 16th, 2005, 04:13 PM
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Whale watching is available from places like Bateman's Bay on the coast south of Sydney. You can often book accommodation which includes a whale watching cruise or you can book from the pier/jetty when you get there, not many have online booking sites.

Do a search on 'south coast' and whale watching and you should find something. We plan on doing this in the next month or two so cannot, at this stage, recommend anyone in particular but many of the charter boats are fishing excursions that do whale watching cruise tours as well.
We stayed in Bateman's Bay in May and it is a truly lovely seaside town.
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Old Sep 17th, 2005, 09:33 PM
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We hope to see whales October (early part of the month) down the south coast from Sydney. We have booked a tour wiht the NSW Parks and Wildlife Service that includes a stop at Montague Island where we also hope to see Australian Fur seals and Fairy penguins.

I have been dealing with the South Coast tourism office which includes Batemans Bay and I couldn't get better service. They will give you all the information you may need plus more and are local government employees, not private business. The website is
www.naturecoast-tourism.com.au

You can see whales from Sydney depending on the migration time and also just luck I guess. I know the best land site in Sydney is at Kurnell (Salamander Point)and plenty of whales are seen there so should be even better from a boat.

However have a look at the nature coast tourism webiste, it may help you in your planning.
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Old Sep 19th, 2005, 03:59 AM
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Hi MissingMN,

I have done several whale watching trips and it really depends on where you are going to be positioned whilst in Australia.

Without a doubt the whale watching capital of Australia is Hervey Bay when the whale season is in full swing.

But if you are not going to be in Brisbane but rather in Sydney then you can do whale watching trips from there or Port Stephens. Port Stephens does offer a very good fleet of whale watching vessels and the last time I did a watch out of there we were treated to some spectacular breachings within about 50 metres of the boat. We saw a total of 20 whales during our trip that day.

However my best experience was in Hervey Bay where we had the company of a huge female whale for about an hour whilst she kept popping her head out of the water right next to the boat so she could look into it. She was close enough to touch and she came to us we did not chase her, it was truely magical.

Cheers

Paul_S
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Old Sep 20th, 2005, 12:07 AM
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Whale watching tours are definitely still operating out of Port Stephens, and whales are still being sighted. When they travel back down the coast they are further off-shore than when they travel north, but you are more likely to see them breaching for some reason. Go to www.portstephens.org.au to see details of tour operators - you can then contact them direct for advice. Come visit us, and enjoy!
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Old Sep 26th, 2005, 10:59 PM
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Thanks to all for the great information! I'm still a bit torn; reconsidering Port Stephens and looking at Nature Coast...

Based on what I've read, the Port Stephens area reports whale watching season as June - late October, while the "Sapphire Coast" and "Nature Coast" boast sightings through end of November. Since we won't arrive for whale watching until 29 Oct., I'm inclined to try and catch up with the whales as they head south. We're thinking either Narooma or Merimbula/Eden. Both have whales and golf--a winning combination for us! I guess we'll decide as the date approaches (keeping an eye on the whale watching reports) and post the results when we return!

Thanks again for the input! I appreciate all of your time.
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Old Oct 5th, 2005, 11:38 PM
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I have just returned from Narooma for the blues/rockabilly festival. The golf course has outstanding views and we were told a pod of about twenty whales was seen offshore by the golfers. Off we ran but we missed this sight (waaaaa).

However we took a tour with Narooma charters with the NSW Parks and wildlife service
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Old Oct 5th, 2005, 11:47 PM
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I have just returned from Narooma for the blues/rockabilly festival. The golf course has outstanding views over the ocean and we were told a pod of about twenty whales was seen offshore by the golfers. Off we ran but we missed this sight (waaaaa). But the view over glass house rocks from the golf course was sublime so not a wasted run.

However we took a tour with Narooma charters with the NSW Parks and wildlife service providing the guide and saw and mom and baby whale quite close to shore with plenty of breaching. We saw loads of dolphins and loads of seals and if you take the 3.30pm tour it includes the little penguins coming ashore on the island for the evening. They also have nesting seagulls which is quite a sight in itself. I am totally awestruck by this tour. How it rates compared to one later in the month I am not sure. They say the single adult whales are well on their way with mum and kids being much slower to meander down the coast.

It was really amazing. I recommend to anyone and everyone. But take a hanky to breathe through for the seal watching. Stinky!!
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Old Oct 6th, 2005, 05:11 AM
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hi,

first off ill declare an interest,since I run a whale watching company in Sydney and noticed you post on a search of fodors (we are www.whalewatchingsydney.net BTW

to give you a quick rundown, the humpback migration is the main group of whales you get on the NSW coast at the moment (early Oct) they are about 1/2 way thru the southern migration. To see them you have to take a boat trip, they tend to be 4-12 miles off the coast at this time of year (although 1 or 2 have been within 100m of the cliffs off Sydney in the past month).

Pretty much anywhere on the coast from Pt Stephens down will have a similar number of whales on any given day, as the whales swim, there is only about 2-4 days diff from pt stephens to Eden. The main thing is conditions, all the cruises, excepting those in queensland go into the open ocean, so weather will make a big differance to sightings.

We plan to offer whale watching cruises to the 7th of Nov, however the peak is right now, so there will be lower numbers in NSW waters by then and definitly a lot less in Hervey bay ,so earlier is better.

hope this helps, good luck in your search and I hope to see you on board!!
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Old Mar 9th, 2007, 03:15 AM
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Hi,
This may be a bit late, but Port Stephens is a great place, You dont get much whale activity until about July and goes through to November.
There is a website that has really good accommodation in Port Stephens, its address is
www.port-stephens.org

I am sure you will enjoy your trip
Cheers
Bucko
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