One of the longest whale watching seasons in the world
Follow the epic annual migration of humpback, southern right whales and the rare blue whale, from the food-rich Southern Ocean to warm breeding grounds on the north Kimberley coast.
Seven months of sensational viewing
The season begins in May and finishes in December, watching the whales as they swim along the continental shelf, hugging the coastline. In some areas, the playful giants come so close to shore, you can see them clearly through your binoculars from vantage points and viewing towers along the coast.
The best time to observe these gentle giants of the ocean is at midday, when the sun is directly overhead. To get closer to the breaching, spy-hopping and tail-slapping action, jump aboard one of the many whale watching cruises available.
When and where to go whale watching
From May to September, all eyes watch the waters of Flinders Bay in Augusta, where migrating whales gather to rest and play. During this time they can also be seen from several vantage points throughout Fitzgerald River National Park (located between Albany and Esperance). And from July to October, you’ll see them frolicking in King George Sound, near Albany. Ironically, they’re also spotted just a few hundred metres from the slipway of Albany’s old whaling station.
Further north, the humpback whales reach Kalbarri, Exmouth, Coral Bay, Broome and the Kimberley between June and November. They can be seen from Kalbarri’s scenic vantage points at Natural Bridge, Eagle Gorge and Red Bluff. You’ll need to join a tour in Coral Bay and Exmouth to reach the whales beyond the Ningaloo Reef, and in the Kimberley, you can spot mothers and calves taking shelter in the waters of Camden Sound and Broome’s Pender Bay.
On their return journey, between September and December, humpbacks take a rest-stop in the coastal waters of Perth and Geographe Bay. You can catch the tail-end of the whale season by joining a tour from Rottnest Island, Fremantle, Hillarys, Dunsborough or Busselton.
The Killer Whales of Bremer Bay Canyon
Did you know that if you head 60km off the coast of the South West, you'll encounter the largest pod of killer whales in the Southern Hemisphere? Technically belonging to the dolphin family, the killer whales are drawn to the marine-life hotspot of Bremer Bay Canyon, where you'll also find whales, dolphins, sea lions and masses of sea birds.
Expeditions to see the killer whales (also known as orcas) depart daily in February and March, with proceeds from the tours supporting vital scientific research.
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