WHALE WATCHING on the Nature Coast
Australia is unique when it comes to whales and in terms of population we have over 50% of the worlds whales skirting our southern seas. They now estimate that at least 45 species of whales and dolphins can be found around our coastline.
Experts estimate around 30,000 humpback whales alone will migrate north along the NSW coastline this year to head for warmer waters before returning between September and November with their newborn calves.
Whale watching season on the South Coast initially starts in late Autumn as thousands pass by on their annual journey north to escape the cool waters of the south. They rarely pass in close to the coast on their way north as they hurry by however from September to November their southern migration whales move more slowly and are often with calves travelling closer to the coastline.
Southern right whales are known to come in close and just hang around for hours as too do the humpback whales with calves returning from their northern birthing and mating grounds.
Southern right whales are easy to tell apart from humpbacks as they have a flat, broad back without a dorsal fin, and a long arching mouth that begins above the eye. The head is often covered with white growths, known as callosities.
The species is listed as "endangered" and there are around 10,000 southern rights thought to be in existence. They were called the “right” whale as they were easy to harpoon by whalers.
For those who want to see the whales breaching the best time is when a breeze comes up. As females migrate south with calves you will often see the young ones practicing leaps and flipper flapping.
The whales often do come close to the shoreline and shelter in the bays of the South Coast so the best land based vantage points to see them are:
Guerilla Bay: Burrewarra Point Lookout
Moruya South Head: Toragy Point
Tuross Head: One Tree Point
Potato Point: Marka Point
Dalmeny Viewing Platform: On the coast side in Ocean Parade
Kianga: Carters Beach Headland at Kianga
Narooma: Bar Rock Road Lookout at Narooma