Here's where to spot whales in Port Stephens
Each year, the east coast of Australia turns into the Humpback Highway, as thousands of humpback whales migrate north to warmer waters to breed, then return south again with their calves in tow.
Taking place from late May to early November, Port Stephens is lucky to have plenty of spots that are fantastic for spotting whales. Keep reading for our guide to whale watching in Port Stephens.
Whale watching vantage points
The sleepy seaside town of Boat Harbour is renowned for its whale watching spots! The headland juts out from the coast at just the right angle, giving you unobstructed views of the Humpback Highway. You can get even closer to the water by venturing over the rocks to the far end of the headland.
Alternatively, make your way along the Boat Harbour Whale Watching Path, accessible from the car park near Solace Place. The walk takes you up to the headland, but offers some great views of the ocean on the way there.
It might be a steep walk, but the Tomaree Head Summit walk isn’t very long, and is well worth the effort for the views you’ll be rewarded with at the top. With two viewing platforms, there’s plenty of space to take in the panoramic vistas. On a sunny day, it’s pretty damn spectacular.
Plus, you’ll have ample time to look for whales as you catch your breath before the descent. Don’t forget good shoes, and plenty of sunscreen and water.
Just south of Boat Harbour is Fishermans Bay, a stretch of foreshore that’s great for family picnics with a spot of whale watching. Don’t forget your binoculars!
Perch yourself on the headland at Birubi Point, located at the northern end of Birubi Beach, and while away some time looking for telltale spouts of water.
While you’re at it, grab a coffee from Crest Birubi Beach to fuel your whale spotting endeavours.
Iris Moore lookout and picnic area
Want to spot whales up close? For a great vantage point, head to Iris Moore lookout and picnic area.
The views at this spot are south-facing, back towards Birubi Beach. Chances are you’ll see some whales here during peak season. Then, kick back on the big patch of grass afterwards and enjoy a picnic.
At the south end of Fingal Bay is Barry Park, home to its own whale watching platform. There’s a lovely walk around the headland to reach the platform, so you can take your time exploring the area and keeping an eye out for whales.
Whale watching cruises
The below companies all offer tours departing daily throughout whale season. Boats depart from d’Albora Marina in Nelson Bay, and all three companies offer a whale guarantee – if you don’t see whales on your trip, you’ll get a return trip for free.
Also offering a 90 minute express cruise, Aquamarine Adventures is a great option if you have less time, but still want to head out on the water and whale watch. With a smaller boat, an Aquamarine Adventures cruise feels more private.
Jump on board Imagine Cruise’s luxury catamaran and head out to whale watch in the Port Stephens-Great Lakes Marine Park. With a 90 minute express whale watching tour or a three hour whale and dolphin watching cruise, there’s an option to suit everyone.
Moonshadow-TQC Cruises have decades of experience taking cruises out to whale watch in Port Stephens. Boat trips last around three hours, and will get you up close to the whales. Chances are, you’ll see some of the area’s bottlenose dolphins too!