The Best Sydney Whale Watching Spots

Sydney and its surrounding national parks offer a host of options for whale watching throughout the season (May to November). Some of the city’s locations in whale season get you close enough to see the ripple of barnacles on a whale’s back. There are ocean lookouts in national parks, cruises from Circular Quay and you can even go whale-spotting in a sea plane. Whale watching season is also a great time to explore the Sydney coastline, which is full of dramatic cliffs, sea views, flora and fauna. The Best Sydney Whale Watching Spots
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The best Sydney whale-watching spots

There’s nothing quite like spending a day whale watching and Sydney’s stunning coastline is packed with perfect vantage points.


Sydney and its surrounding national parks offer a host of options for whale watching throughout the season (May to November). Some of the city’s locations in whale season get you close enough to see the ripple of barnacles on a whale’s back. There are ocean lookouts in national parks, cruises from Circular Quay and you can even go whale-spotting in a sea plane. Whale watching season is also a great time to explore the Sydney coastline, which is full of dramatic cliffs, sea views, flora and fauna.

Kamay Botany National Park

This is one of the prime spots to begin spotting these majestic sea creatures thanks to the purpose-built whale-watching platform at Cape Solander, where caramel-coloured sandstone juts out over the ocean. Volunteers man the platform from 6.30am to dusk during whale season and provide statistics to the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service to help with whale protection and conservation. On a good day, you can spot numerous humpbacks while on the nearby Yena Trail walk you’ll see eucalypts, ferns and wildflowers. 

Whale Watching, Sydney, New South Wales

Sydney Harbour National Park

You don’t have to head very far from central Sydney to whale watch, with the gentle giants sometimes venturing right into Sydney Harbour. At North Head you can take the scenic Fairfax Walk leading to spectacular lookouts. Or walk around to Arabanoo Lookout on Dobroyd Head to peer across the Pacific Ocean. At South Head, the sheer cliffs of The Gap and the Coast Walk also offer great places to spot whales.  If you fancy spotting humpbacks from the air, Sydney By Seaplane offers coastal flights from Rose Bay with the hope of some aerial whale watching thrown in. If the pilot spots any whales, they’ll circle them so you get a good look. To get up close, Fantasea Cruises runs whale watching tours from Circular Quay. 

Barrenjoey Head, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, New South Wales

Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park

Take a walk up to Barrenjoey Lighthouse in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. The Barrenjoey Head Aquatic Reserve walk starts with a stroll along a small patch of beach before the track curls inland and branches into the Service Road or the steeper, shorter Smugglers Track.  Both leave you a bit breathless but it is all worth it when you reach the summit, almost 100 metres (330 feet) above sea level, where the sandstone lighthouse sits. Tours to the top of the lighthouse run regularly but there are also plenty of spots at ground level to scan the seas for a whale spray and the slap of a huge fin. 

Governor Game Lookout, Royal National Park, Sydney, New South Wales

Royal National Park

Take a guided tour along the Royal National Park Coast Track with tour operator Sydney Coast Walks where you can see the whales as they swim along the deep channels close to the rugged clifftops. Guides explain how the traditional owners, the Tharawal (or Dharawal) people, used to gather on these rocks and feast on humpback whale meat. Along the Coast Track you can also spot Tharawal engravings over 1000 years old.  Elsewhere in the National Park you can take the Palm Jungle Loop Track to add some forest into the clifftop vantage points. You can also spot circling wedge-tailed eagles, beautifully ragged coastline and chalk-white sandstone cliffs. The nearby Governor Game lookout is easily accessible by car, or walk the Curra Moors Loop Track and picnic at the Garie Beach Picnic area. 

Broken Bay, Bouddi National Park, New South Wales

Bouddi National Park

North of Sydney, near Gosford, the eight kilometre (five mile) Bouddi coastal walk links Putty Beach to the popular weekender spot of MacMasters Beach with a coastal ramble that takes in beaches, cliffs and plenty of chances to see a whale playfully breaching as it heads up to the warmer waters in the north. Pack a picnic and perch on the bench carved into the Gerrin Point lookout with a cup of tea for some relaxing whale watching and panoramic views of Maitland Bay and the Bouddi National Park Marine Extension, a unique 278 hectare (687 acre) area of ocean off the National Park where fishing is prohibited. 

Wyrrabalong National Park

Not far from The Entrance, an easy hour’s drive north of Sydney, you can do some beachside whale spotting at the Bateau Bay Beach Picnic area or climb to higher ground at the Crackneck Lookout which has a great view over The Entrance and Shelly Beach where local surfers share the waters with the mighty migrating mammals. The Pelican Beach Road Lookout also offers a great option for getting high above Pelican Beach to search the seas for signs of whales. 

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