Australia is home to some of the most amazing animals in the world. And this includes the beautiful species of whales that grace our oceans during certain times of the year.
Seeing these whales in their natural habitat is an experience no kid will forget and winter is just the time to do it in Victoria. This is when southern right, blue, humpback whales and sometimes even orcas play and bring up their young in the tranquil waters along the Great Ocean Road as they migrate from the cold waters of Antartica to Queensland.
Whether you are looking to spot a pod from a lookout on land, wanting to venture to Phillip Island for an idyllic escape or planning to head into the open waters (or air), we’ve narrowed down the best places to spot a whale or two in Victoria.
- When: May to October
- Types: southern right whales, orcas and humpback whales
- Prime spots: Cape Woolamai, Pyramid Rock, Surf Beach, The Nobbies and Summerlands area
One of the top locations for families looking to spot a whale is Phillip Island, an easy two-hour drive from Melbourne. Look out for these breathtaking creatures as they make their way along the Victorian coast to Queensland. You may even be lucky enough to spot a rare orca.
Phillip Island offers plenty of options when it comes to whale watching, including boat cruises and helicopter tours. Take in their popular Island Whale Festival which includes a number of family-friendly events and celebrate the annual migration of these majestic creatures. This year’s festival runs from 7-9 July, 2017 and includes the launch of the new Bass Coast Whale Discovery Trail.
- When: June to August (for southern right whales) and November to May (for blue whales)
- Types: southern right whales and blue whales
- Prime spots: Cape Bridgewater, Nuns Beach, Port of Portand, Cape Nelsen
Pods of magnificent Southern Right whales always pass through Portland on their migration trek through the Southern Ocean. You can watch the magnificent Southern Right whales from the port or on a whale watching tour and, if you’re lucky, right up close! The pods are busy trekking through the Southern Ocean. Best viewing locations include from Cape Bridgewater to Narrawong, the cliffs above Nuns Beach and at the Port of Portland where the whales often come out to play.
You may also be able to spot a pod of blue whales as they feed on the krill in the waters off Portland. The best places to see blue whales in Portland include Cape Nelsen and Cape Bridgewater.
- When: June to September
- Types: southern right whales
- Prime sites: Logans Beach and Lady Bay
Southern right whales have made Warrnambool their fave local spot to bring up their babies and, between June and September, you may be lucky enough to see the proud mums and the calves. Head to Logans Beach for your best chance to see this incredible mother-calf interaction. You can also get a front seat to the action on a whale watching tour or at Lady Bay.
- When: June to October
- Types: Southern right whales
- Prime spots: Apollo harbour and along the beach
Travellers and locals often spot southern right whales playing in the waters during the day and evenings, often only 100 metres off shore. The pods tend to stick around for a week at a time before heading to their next destination.
Whale watching on the Great Ocean Road
- When: June to October
- Types: Southern right whales and humpback whales
- Prime spots: Wye River, Lorne, Anglesea, Skenes Creek, Cape Otway and Split Point
As well as Apollo Bay, many families prefer to enjoy the vantage points along the Great Ocean Road. There are a number of parking spaces off road, small towns to stop for a pint and a peek and lookouts where you and your tribe can search for whales.
And, if you’re heading into South Australia, make sure to stop at Ceduna, where there have been quite a few whale sightings over the past few weeks.
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