If you’re trying to think of a fun activity for the entire family, especially if you have older children, you should consider a whale watching tour. You will be able to spend the day outside, away from the television, smartphones or any of the other electronic devices to which your family seems addicted. If you do decide on a whale watching tour, here are some things you can expect while taking one.
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Where to Find Whales
The success of seeing whales in their natural habitat largely depends on what time of year you plan on taking a tour. Many species of whales can be seen during their Northern or Southern migrations each year. Starting in May, and going through mid-November, you will be able to see whales in and around Sydney Harbour.
Another whale watching area is located in Merimbula, which is a small community on the South Coast, also known as the Sapphire Coast, of New South Wales. The Northern whale migration is from May through July, and you are more likely to see humpback whales in the area. There will be a better variety of species during the Southern migration, which takes place in September through November.
Types of Whales
Along with the migratory periods, you can see a variety of whales throughout the year off the Australian coastline. Along with humpback whales, you may also spot minke whales, blue whales, southern right whales, Bryde’s whales, or orcas, otherwise known as killer whales. Over the past year or so, a rare albino humpback whale has been spotted north of the Gold Coast, so you may be able to see such rare sights on a whale watching tour.
Listen to Whale Calls
You may be able to hear the whales call to each other when they surface, but some of the boats available for tours will also be equipped to allow passengers to hear whale calls. They use hydrophones, which are microphones that go into the water to detect sound waves. This may allow you to hear the whales sing or call to each other as they migrate past the boat you’re on.
When Are Tours Available?
Depending on where they are located, most tour companies will schedule tours around the same time as the Northern or Southern migrations. If you want to book a tour for whale watching in Sydney, most companies schedule them from mid-May to mid-August. If you are viewing whales around the Merimbula area, then you can usually book a tour starting in September through November.
Most companies offer daily tours, so you should be able to book one when it is convenient for you and your family to go on one. However, you will want to try to book one as early as possible because they are popular with tourists and native Australians alike.
There are packages for different lengths of tours, but you can plan on spending about two to three hours out on the water. Whale watching can be a fun adventure for your entire family.