When in the best time to go whale watching?
We operate whale watching tours during the Humpback Whale annual migration. They are travelling north during the months of mid May, June, July. August is a month where some whales are heading north and some have started back south. September, October through to mid November they are coming south. Any time during this period is good for whale watching. However from our experience over the past 17 years, we would recommend that mid June to mid July is peak for Sydney. This is when the largest number of whales is passing on their northern migration. It is this time when we see large pods and generally a wide range of behaviours.
Is the morning or the afternoon better?
People always want to know if whale watching is better in the morning or the afternoon. To be completely honest there is really no ‘better time.’ As a general rule, the ocean is calmer in the mornings. However this is not always true! In Sydney there are generally more boats out in the afternoons that can impact upon whale behaviour.
How close will we get to the whales?
This really depends upon the whales. There are regulations in place to protect whales. All boats, both whale watching and recreational are required by law to limit their approach to 100 metres from an adult whale. Humpback whales are very inquisitive whales and often come closer to the boat. In some instances they come so close that the boat cannot move! We call this a ‘mugging,’ however this does not happen every tour.
What type of whales will I see?
On most tours we see Humpback Whales. However we may also sight Southern Right, Brydes, Sei, Minke and Blue whales. We also often sight Common and Bottlenose Dolphins, Australian Fur Seals and although rare we have also sighted Orca’s and False Killer Whales. For more whale information please see our whale page (link to page)
I want to see whales breaching. Will I?
We all love to see a whale breaching (jump out of the water) however lets be realistic, they do not do it every day! They are wild animals and when we approach them we seek to simply observe their behaviour. Our skippers are committed to driving is a respectful manner around whales. The behaviour you see from the whales is entirely up to them! We need to remember that they are on migration and just like us their activity and behaviour is different each day. If you want to see the full range of whale behaviours you will most probably need to go whale watching more than once. Although every so often we do get lucky and see all behaviours in the one tour.
What happens if my tour does not find whales?
Please be assured that we will do our best to find whales each tour. However it is important to remember that they are wild animals! In the event that no whales are sighted we will give you the opportunity to come on another whale watching tour free of charge. This offer is valid for the current season only and is not transferrable. This offer is not redeemable for a refund. If no whales are sighted during the last few weeks of the whale watching season a voucher will be issued for the following whale watching season.
What does a ‘whale sighting’ mean?
At Go Whale Watching by ‘whale sighting’ we mean that we successfully approach one whale and view this whale at least three times. Onboard most of our whale watching tours we would spend time with more than one whale and would sight it many times. It is important to remember that whales live under the water, they only come to the surface to breathe which they do every 5-20 minutes. It is only when they come to the surface that we are able to view them.
Will my tour still go out if it is raining?
All our tours are dependent upon suitable ocean conditions. We do not tend to cancel based on forecasted rain. Unless it is vey heavy rain which of course affects visibility and our ability to find and follow whales. The factors that influence when a tour is cancelled are based upon the wind strength and direction and the swell height and direction. Our decision to cancel a tour is based upon forecasts from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. If you are concerned about the weather please contact our office (02) 6495 1686.
If my tour is cancelled, what next?
If a tour is cancelled a notice will be placed on our website. An email and a SMS text message will be sent to the contact person for your booking. If you have booked and paid direct through our office/online booking system we will contact you to offer to reschedule your tour to an alternate time. If you are unable to reschedule a full refund applies. Please note if you have booked through a third party agent or are travelling using a gift voucher or discounted voucher the terms of your voucher / booking agent will apply.
Will I be affected by sea sickness/motion sickness?
All our whale watching tours go out into the open ocean. Even on the calmest of days there is movement on the ocean. We recommend that if you do not go to sea regularly then it is advisable to visit your local chemist (Pharmacy) and talk to them about preventative measures. There are tablets, magnetic wristbands and a range of other measures that may help to prevent you from becoming sea sick.Other tips that may help include:
- Get a good night’s sleep the night prior
- Have light breakfast (no rich or fatty foods). It is important to eat breakfast as being hungry can lead to nausea.
- Avoid going into the toilet or inside cabin, the fresh sea air does help.
- Look out at the horizon or at the land. This helps your sense of balance.
- Avoid looking down at screens such as phones, iPads, cameras.
- If you do start to feel seasick please do not worry, let our staff know and they will do their best to help you. We have seasick bags onboard for your convenience.
What should I bring with me?
All our whale watching tours take us out in to the open ocean so it is best to be prepared for all weather eventualities. Ocean conditions can change whilst we are out. We recommend bringing warm clothing, rainproof jacket, hat, sunglasses, any food you may want whilst on the tour and your camera to take photos.
Where should I park my car?
Parking in the City is always in demand so please allow plenty of time. We suggest planning your trip into the city. Parking can also be pre-purchased. We recommend visiting either: www.wilsonparking.com.au/find-a-park or http://www.secureparking.com.au/ When you are searching use ‘King Street Wharf’ Darling Harbour, Sydney.
Is there public transport available?
Our tours will depart on time so please plan your trip into the city. The boat will not be able to wait for you if you running 5 minutes late. We recommend visiting http://www.transportnsw.info/ and using their trip planner.
Sydney Ferries – Services to Darling Harbour depart Circular Quay Wharf 5 about every half hour. Please check timetables for full schedule on Transport Info: 131 500 or www.131500.com.au
Train – Town Hall or Wynyard stations. 5-10 min walk from CBD down Market St. or King St.
Bus – Sydney Explorer Bus Stop No 24, or hop off any bus service in that city that drops near Market Street or King Street and take the short walk down to Darling Harbour.
Taxi – Ask to be dropped at King Street Wharf on Lime Street or Wheat Road.
If you have a question that you can not find an answer to on this page please contact us.
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