It’s whaling time! No Captain Ahab vibes here though, we’re doing it 21st-century style, where you put down your half-eaten cronut and say to Damo, ‘Hey mate, fancy trying to spot some whales?’
Every year, whales migrate their way up the NSW coastline, and now is the perfect time to head out and spot them. Luckily for those of you in Sydney, you’re in a prime spot to head north or south and catch a peek of these magnificent cetaceans.
Whether you’ve only got time for an after-school outing, a cheeky mid-weeker, or a full blown coastal sabbatical, hook into one (or all) of these top whale watching spots near Sydney.
Top Whale Watching Spots Close to Sydney
1. Fairfax Walk
Location: Sydney Harbour National Park
The Fairfax Walk in Manly is a no-brainer when it comes to whale watching in Sydney. Close to the city and accessible for most abilities, the 1km walking track is perfect for a quick outing that means you won’t be late for tea.
2. South Head
Location: Sydney Harbour National Park
Across the bay from spot number one, South Head offers the same great views and gets you up close and personal with a classic striped lighthouse to boot. This whale watching spot also delivers a couple of swimming options and a heritage trail if the whales don’t show – better pack those budgy smugglers just in case.
Looking up Palm Beach towards Barrenjoey Lighthouse | Photo by Neil & Gabby Massey
3. Barrenjoey Lighthouse
Location: Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park
Sitting at the pointy end of the Northern Beaches, Barrenjoey Lighthouse offers a pretty speccy day trip. Not only is the lighthouse an absolute beauty, but the view from the top reaches over the oceans, or inland towards Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. There’s a moderately easy half-hour walk to the top, or you can pack a flagon of rum and summit via the aptly named Smugglers Track.
4. Garie Beach Picnic Area
Location: Royal National Park
About an hour south of the city, Garie Beach offers whale watching and a beach holiday in one. Head up to Governor Game Lookout for a better vantage point, or bring surfboards and fishing rods to fill your arvo in the Royal National Park.
Whale Spotting Further North
5. Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse
Location: Myall Lakes National Park
Finished in 1875, this beautiful lighthouse stands at the north end of Myall Lakes National Park. Enjoy far-reaching ocean views for bagging a whale, or head south to tackle the Treachery Headland Walk. While you might not spot a whale or two from here, you’ll definitely be rewarded with views back up the coast to the lighthouse.
6. Toomaree Head
Location: Tomaree National Park
At just over 2km return, head up the Tomaree Head Summit Walk for a greater vantage point and better whale spotting potential. From the summit you can look over Port Stephens, or out to sea for a glimpse of several islands. Finish your trip with a solitary afternoon on Wreck Beach or hit up Point Stephens Lighthouse.
7. Elizabeth Beach
Location: Booti Booti National Park
Sat in Booti Booti National Park, Elizabeth Beach could turn into your favourite getaway. Hang out at the picnic area, or head up to the summit of Booti Hill to really earn your whale views. If you don’t want to leave, consider checking out The Ruins Campground, perfect for a weekender extender.
Spotting Whales South Of Sydney
8. Bull Hole Lookout
Location: Jervis Bay National Park
While Bull Hole Lookout might not be the most well-known spot in Jervis Bay National Park, it’s probably your best bet for spotting migrating whales. No whales today, no worries, head out for a surf on one of the local beach breaks.
9. North Head Lookout
Location: Murramarang National Park
Further south, in Murramarang National Park, North Head Lookout is the perfect spot for sighting whales, dolphins, or sea eagles. The lookout is an easily accessible and safe spot for the whole family. So pack up, hit the road and take the clan south for the entire weekend.