Watch humpback and southern right whales frolic in Augusta’s Flinders Bay from early June. Or head to Dunsborough in September, when rare blue whales and calves join bottlenosed dolphins in Geographe Bay. Southern right, humpback and pygmy whales also glide through these aquamarine waters on their graceful northward hmigration. Spot them from Cape Naturaliste lighthouse or get closer on a whale-watching cruise. Further south, Albany’s rugged coastline makes another scenic grandstand. Between July and October, see southern right and humpback whales mating and calving in the vast, green seas of King George Sound. Learn about these intelligent creatures at Albany’s interactive whale museum, that many years ago was a whaling station.
Stand atop the steep cliffs around Victor Harbor’s Encounter Bay and watch the endangered southern right whales who come here to breed between May and October. Or take a cruise from Granite Island jetty to see them play with their calves further out in the waters of the Fleurieu Peninsula. From Ceduna, further along South Australia’s jagged coastline, you can watch the whales do slow-motion somersaults from the viewing platform or beach. They often come within hundreds of metres from the towering Bunda Cliffs. You’ll also spot Australian sea lions and great white sharks. For a closer peek, take a boat out into the protected waters of the Head of Bight whale sanctuary.
Stand on Logans Beach in Warrnambool, where between June and September, southern right whales calve in the nursery close to shore. They stay here for several weeks, helping their babies build strength for the long journey back to sub-Antarctic waters. Meanwhile the males, yearlings and young adults remain further out to sea. Capture the magical mother-and-calf interaction from the viewing platform on the sand dunes. Or head to Lady Bay, where the new mums often come close enough to spray you with breakwater. Congratulate them on a whale-spotting cruise or look out for their distinctive white calloused heads from the window of a light plane. In May, you might be able to catch rare blue whales in their last feeding month at Cape Nelson near Portland.
From May, you can see humpback and southern right whales coasting through the clear, blue-green waters of Great Oyster Bay off the Freycinet Peninsula. Take a wildlife cruise from Coles Bay and watch them wheeling through the Tasman Sea on ancient, inbuilt migration routes. With scenery that includes forests, pink granite cliffs and secret white beaches, you can see why the southern right whales often stay here for extended periods. You might spot some with calves in Mercury Passage, off Maria Island. Or head to wild and beautiful Bruny Island, just a short drive from Hobart. It’s here in Adventure Bay that sightings are most common.