Heading to Perth for a holiday? Then be sure to pack binoculars and a camera with a good zoom lens.
Perth is a great base for whale watching – either from the land or on a whale watching tour boat.
There are many opportunities to observe these gentle, playful creatures as they cruise down the West Australian coastline on their annual migration. They stop off in Perth waters for a rest en route.
No one has actually counted the whales, but it’s thought around 30,000 humpbacks do the journey, and the population is growing. Increasing numbers of Southern Right whales and Blue whales are also seen.
One thing is for sure: these giants are hard to miss – especially when they goof around, breeching, playing, and showing off.
The whale watching season kicks off around mid September and goes until early December. During this period, family groups with new calves leave the warm waters of their breeding grounds up North to return to their summer home in Antarctica.
Whale Watching Boat Tours
There are so many whales swimming and cavorting along the West Australian ocean highway that tour operators can guarantee sightings. On those rare occasions when none are seen, there’s a free tour to try again.
The beauty of going on a boat is that you get nearer to the whales. Many people report having startlingly close encounters, with whales playing around boats and making eye contact with the occupants.
There are various kinds of whale watching boat tours out of Perth and Fremantle, including whole boat charters and eco tours.
Land-based Whale Watching
Whales can be seen from land along the entire WA coastline, with prominent headlands the best vantage points. Keep an eye on local media for the locations of the latest sightings.
Keen whale watchers head to beautiful Kalbarri, several hours south of Perth, to take up whale watching positions at Natural Bridge, Eagle Gorge, and the coastal cliffs of Red Bluff.
Whale Watching Facts
The whales make the 13,000 kilometre round-trip between March and December. They follow the continental shelf, staying close to shore.
From June to November, head to the Kimberley to spot whales in Pender Bay, Camden Sound, and the tranquil sea off Broome – this is where females give birth.
Between June and September, whales hang out in Flinders Bay Augusta.
From September to December, Dunsborough and Busselton are good places in WA to watch whales.
From July to October, they be seen frolicking in Albany’s King George Sound.
Albany’s old whaling station is now a whale museum with excellent interactive displays.
The ideal time for seeing whales is around noon, when the sun is directly overhead.
To find out more about whale watching in WA, go to Tourism Western Australia.