Whale watching refers to the act of observing whales in their natural habitat, with spectators using binoculars as they stand at the end of a pier or on the deck of a boat. In recent years, the practice has become a multi-billion dollar industry with people all over the world engaging in whale watching either as a recreational or a research activity. As popular as the activity is all over the world, Sydney is a destination of choice thanks to the incredible variety of marine species that can be spotted here when you’re out in local waters.

Whale watching season in Sydney divides itself neatly into two parts. The first is when humpback whales head north from May to august in order to mate and breed. This is when viewers have a higher chance of spotting whales from the shore as they migrate in the thousands along the New South Wales coastline. The second is typically from August to December, when they return south along with their new calves in order to feed in the Antarctic waters. In addition to humpback whales, one might also witness orcas or minke whales.

So if you’re in or near Sydney, where should you head to with your binoculars? Well, here are some lookout points worth mentioning. Tour operators like www.ozwhalewatching.com.au should be able to accommodate your party.

Barrenjoey Lighthouse

On the northernmost part of the Palm Beach peninsula is the Barrenjoey Lighthouse, a structure that stands over 113 meters above sea level, making it an incredible spot to glimpse whales. You can enter the park on foot for free, but it will cost you a small fee to park your car here.

Bouddi National Park

Bouddi National Park hosts the Gerrin Point lookout. Beautifully crowded with wildflowers in the spring, the lookout really springs into whale action in the winter, when migrating humpback whales populate area. Additionally, you can enjoy spectacular panoramic views of Maitland Bay. There’s also a bench for visitors in case they want to sit and rest. Bring a picnic as well as a jacket!

South Head

South Head is famed for its military history, its sharply steep ocean cliffs, as well as for its being the site of the instantly recognizable Hornby Lighthouse, with its red and white stripes. However, it is also known for a good number of vantage points from which whales can be spotted. One great spot to watch for whales is the Gap, an ocean cliff located on the South Head peninsula. You can climb to the very top to look over Sydney Harbour and the Tasman Sea.

Kamay Botany Bay National Park

Kamay Botany Bay National Park’s Kurnell section is host to Cape Solander, one of Sydney’s best whale watching spots. The cape, which was named after renowned botanist Daniel Solander, has a peerless lookout from which visitors can watch for whales. Whales have been known to swim as near as 200 meters to the coast and information on the majestic beasts can be found near the lookout.