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Featured Wildlife Journeys

  • Humpback Whale

  • Southern Right Whale

  • Orca

  • Pseudo Orcas

Whales

Baleen whales have comb-like plates in their mouths which they sieve their food. Humpback Whales are the most popular sighting in this group, across the eastern and western coastlines, known for their spectacular breaching of their bodies that weigh up to 40 tonnes. Recently, the Australian Government permitted approved operators to swim with Humpbacks across various regions including Ningaloo Reef.  They can be observed on their annual migrations from May-November off Sydney Harbour and Philip Island.

Southern Right Whales also migrate from June-August from the far Southern Ocean feeding close to Antarctica. They are common to the Great Australian Bight and the Western Eyre Peninsula, but can also be seen sporadically off Phillip Island and Kangaroo Island.

The Bremer Canyon in southwest Western Australia, has become one of the most sort after whale watching expeditions across the globe, with over 100 Killer Whales (Orcas) returning to the submarine canyon each year from January to April; the only place in Australia where you can regularly encounter Killer Whales in the wild.  Orcas can also be seen occasionally of the waters off Ningaloo and Phillip Island, hunting whale calves, seals and other marine animals.

Search for tours including Whales, using the seasonal viewing opportunities calendar further down the page or by using the map button directly below:

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Viewing opportunities that include whales

Months
  • Dugong

    January,February,December, Ningaloo & Exmouth

    The Ningaloo area supports 10 percent of the world’s Dugong population where they can occasionally be spotted coming to the surface for air. The Dugongs feast on Rhizones around the inner reef shallows (which are the roots & shoots of the seagrasses) and are generally quite shy. These animals can live up to 70 years but are slow breeders, emphasising the importance of the region in conserving the species.

    Bottlenose and Australian Humpback Dolphins are abundant in the area, with babies being calved around this time. It is only recently that the Australian Humpback was acknowledged as a separate species, with it’s distinctive dark triangular dorsal feature making it easy to differentiate from Bottlenoses. They usually live in pods of up to six individuals, but can be seen in larger groups and prefer to remain close to the coast in water less than 20 metres deep.

    Short-beaked Common, Spinner and Humpback Dolphins can also be spotted occasionally, with both Common and Spinner usually being spotted in very large pods.

    Tours in Ningaloo & Exmouth related to Whales

  • Bottlenose Dolphins

    March,April,May, Ningaloo & Exmouth

    The Ningaloo area supports 10 percent of the world’s Dugong population where they can occasionally be spotted coming to the surface for air. Although they are present throughout the year, May tends to be the peak viewing time as the waters cool and they head northwards. The Dugongs feast on Rhizones around the inner reef shallows (which are the roots & shoots of the seagrasses) and are generally quite shy. These animals can live up to 70 years but are slow breeders, emphasising the importance of the region in conserving the species.

    The mass spawning of coral after the full moon in March and April energises the food chain in the region, with baitfish a tempting appetiser for the plentiful Bottlenose and Australian Humpback Dolphins. Pseudo Orcas, Minke Whales, Pilot Whales, Short-beaked Common Dolphins, Spinner Dolphins are also occasionally sighted across the rich marine waters.

    Tours in Ningaloo & Exmouth related to Whales

  • Humpback Whale

    June,July,August, Ningaloo & Exmouth

    One of the world’s great natural migrations of 30,000 individual west coast Humpback Whales, takes place off the coast of Western Australia. The cooler water coincides with the highest concentration of Coral Spawn and Plankton, providing plentiful food for these amazing aerialists, with the opportunity to swim with them from July onwards.

    A large majority of Humpbacks use the shallows of Ningaloo Reef to calve and the mothers protect their Neonates (newborns) with their pale colour and floppy dorsal fins in these waters away from predators, holding them up to the surface to breathe, for the first few days.

    Orcas are prevalent at this time, attracted by the Humpback calves with research suggesting up to 15% are lost due to attacks. Pseudo Orcas, Minke Whales, Pilot Whales, Short-beaked Common Dolphins, Spinner Dolphins are occasionally sighted whilst Bottlenose and Australian Humpback Dolphins are abundant as they prey on fish and squid. The Ningaloo area supports 10 percent of the world’s Dugong population, with these passive creatures occasionally spotted coming to the surface for air, in-between feeding on the roots & shoots of the seagrasses in the Ningaloo shallows.

  • Pseudo Orcas

    September,October,November, Ningaloo & Exmouth

    A staggering 30,000 west coast Humpback Whales migrate through the region at this before heading back to Antarctica before summer. Mothers will typically move their calves into the Gulf area at Exmouth over these months, to fatten them up for the lengthy journey south. In just three months, the calf will double its size from four to eight metres in length. The opportunity to swim with these creatures until the end of October is an unforgettable and for many, a spiritual experience.


    Orcas
    are active in the area, largely due to the presence of the Humpback calves, with these amazing hunters successful in preying on the calves despite the mother’s best efforts to protect their young. Pseudo Orcas, Minke Whales, Pilot Whales, Short-beaked Common Dolphins, Spinner Dolphins are occasional visitors to the area as is the largest ever creature to dwell the earth, the Blue Whale.

    More common are Bottlenose and Australian Humpback Dolphins, with babies also being calved around this time. A keen eye will also be able to spot the vulnerable Dugong, with the region supporting a population of up to 1,000 individuals. They are typically seen in pairs or by themselves, and only breed every 3-7 years.