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Catch the Whales

August 9, 2016 - Southern Gold Coast


The playful antics of migrating Humpback Whales travelling close to shore along The Legendary Pacific Coast is an annual, awe inspiring spectacle from June to November and can be best enjoyed aboard this selection of cruise operators between Port Stephens and Byron Bay.

Annually, an estimated 20,000 whales swim north to south and back again from their summer feeding grounds near the South Pole to warmer winter breeding waters closer to the Equator.

Feeding on tiny shrimp-like krill, plankton, and small fish, mothers and their young swim close together, often touching one another with their flippers with what appear to be gestures of affection.

The Humpback Whales are also the most inquisitive and acrobatic of all the great whales.  They love to leap out of the water, smash their huge tails and pectoral fins against the surface, and will often approach boats for a closer look.

Weighing in at an impressive 40,000kg and growing to a length of 16m for a fully grown female, they are one of the largest animals to have ever lived on earth.

Want to get amongst the whale watching action on the legendary seas? Try these top picks:

  1. Moonshadow/Tamboin Queen Whale Watching Cruises out of Nelson Bay in Port Stephens:

The expansive, pristine waterways around Port Stephens are an idyllic location to simply take a cruise and enjoy the added bonus of Whale and Dolphin sightings.

2.3 to 3 hour cruises offer morning or afternoon tea with a knowledgeable and often amusing commentary around t the location and the giant marine mammals.

Cruise aboard the Hinchinbrook Explorer, a 30 metre, catamaran cruising past the imposing Tomaree and Yacaaba Headlands and the outer islands of Port Stephens. Enjoy the view from the walk around deck or the air conditioned interior with a fully licensed bar and food selection.

And, if you don’t see a whale they will give you a free return cruise (conditions apply). The Cost: $56.70 per person for adults, student and senior concessions available, family tickets and 10 per cent discount if you book on line.

  1. Amaroo Whale Watching Cruises out of Forster in The Great Lakes: The Great Lakes is a much loved holiday haven only 3.5 hours north of Sydney. It boasts a diverse marine ecology due to the intertwining nature of the still lakes and estuaries flowing through different towns providing a fertile feeding ground for the migrating whales.

Amaroo Cruises offers a 100% Whale Guarantee during the whale migration season (early June to late November). If no whales are sighted on your cruise then they will issue a full refund (conditions apply).

Be welcomed aboard the band new $2.1 million Whale Watching Adventure Cruise vessel “AMAROO”,  a purpose built, large, fast, spacious and stable vessel with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating.

Operating since 1978 Amaroo Cruises is the most experienced cruise operators in the Forster/Tuncurry region.

The Cost: $65 per adult with seniors, student and family tickets also available. Enjoy a commentary and a complimentary morning tea.

  1. The Cruise Terminal, Greater Port Macquarie:

Operating from a riverside location on the Hastings River in Port Macquarie, Ocean Adventure 1 is a smaller, faster vessel travelling down the picaresque Hastings River, through the mouth of the river and out to sea.

This fast paced excursion regular captures Humpbacks leaping from the water and landing with a tremendous splash. Scientists aren’t sure if this breaching behavior serves some purpose, such as cleaning pests from the whale’s skin, or whether whales simply do it for fun.

Enjoy the commentary from the knowledgeable and observant crew, take in the coastal beauty of this riverside town and don’t forget to bring your sunglasses, a waterproof jacked and a camera.

The Cost:  $49 for adults. Children and family tickets also available.

  1. Jetty Dive, Coffs Harbour:

The Jetty Dive folk are professional and well practiced mariners who take clients to enjoy what is above and below the sea.

Their Whale watching tours operate daily for one and a half hours in the beautiful waters of Solitary Island Marine Park only minutes away from Coffs Harbour and easily accessed in their small fast vessels. If they see whales in the distance jumping, they can move from one group to another in a very short time and stay close to the action.

They know the continual movements of these gentle giants from early June to October each year and readily share their vast knowledge of all things marine on their whale, dolphin and dive tours promising “real whale action” during the migration season.

The Cost: $59 for adults. Children’s and seniors rates available too.

  1. Wooli Dive Centre and Fishing Charters:

Enjoy the 7 nautical mile ride out to North Solitary Island on a 12 metre 300 hp Suzuki powered cat and the chance to spot whales, dolphin pods, turtles and the many varieties of sea birds that live out on the open waters surrounding the Clarence Valley coast.

This family owned business also operates one of he most respected dive centre on the north coast and is located closest to the North Solitary Islands and another popular dive spot Pimpernel Rock

The Cost: $70.00 per person a two to three hour tour including morning tea for a minimum of 10.

  1. Byron Bay’s Go Sea Kayaks:

Bring your sense of adventure, bathers and sun screen for an exhilarating kayak paddle through the Cape Byron Marine Reserve riding waves, spotting dolphins, turtles and whales.

This up close and personal tour is suitable for novices and the more practised accompanied by experienced surf life saver guides full of knowledge on the region’s marine life, history and indigenous culture.

All their tours include free pick-up and drop off, a kayak lesson, wet suits and safety gear, snacks and drinks and secure storage for belongings.

The Cost:  from $69 per person.

 For further information, contact: Ms Belinda Novicky, Executive Officer,         The Legendary Pacific Coast Phone: 0400 033 663

Issued by: Sonia Fingleton, Good Company Communications Phone: 0414 376 868