Have a whale of a time

Plan­ning a DIY whale trail in Australia? Check out th­ese rec­om­men­da­tions by Des­ti­na­tion NSW

New Straits Times - - Jom! -

FROM May to Novem­ber, the wa­ters along the New South Wales coast­line in Australia will be­come a liv­ing, mov­ing spec­ta­cle as more than 20,000 whales make their an­nual mi­gra­tion.

This win­ter, fol­low a do-it-your­self whale trail along the 2,000km of scenic coast­line between the Tweed and Eden, of­fer­ing a mul­ti­tude of van­tage points and ex­pe­ri­ences to spot th­ese ma­jes­tic mam­mals.

Whale watch­ing is no doubt one of the most pop­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties for visi­tors to Syd­ney and NSW, with more than 237,000 visi­tors en­joy­ing a whale or dol­phin ex­pe­ri­ence in 2015.

The state boasts a huge va­ri­ety of whale watch­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties from is­lands, light­houses, look­outs, fore­shores and na­tional parks right along the coast.

Here are 10 sug­ges­tions from Des­ti­na­tion NSW to in­clude on your New South Wales Win­ter Whale Trail.

1.

Spend a few days whale watch­ing from one of the 1920-1950s eco-cer­ti­fied beach shacks in the Cape By­ron Con­ser­va­tion Area.

Ime­son, Milden­hall and Thom­son Cot­tages are nes­tled between the bush and the beach at The Pass and boast breath­tak­ing views right out to sea.

The nearby As­sis­tant and Head Light­house Keeper’s Cot­tages are perched on the head­land ad­ja­cent to the Cape By­ron Light­house, the most eastern point in Australia to see whales as they pass by.

2.

In the Cam­den Haven area south of Port Mac­quarie, walk through Kat­tang Na­ture Re­serve to Per­pen­dic­u­lar Point to spot the pass­ing whales.

Wan­der along the 9km Port Mac­quarie Coastal Walk, where board­walks and view­ing plat­forms hug the coast­line to the his­toric Tack­ing Point Light­house.

Look for tell-tale signs of whales pass­ing — breech­ing, tail splash­ing and wa­ter spouts.

The 10-me­tre cata­ma­ran Pa­cific Ex­plorer makes daily trips to the nearby Soli­tary Is­lands Ma­rine Park, one of the places where hump­back whales con­verge on their an­nual mi­gra­tion to and from Antarc­tic wa­ters.

3.

The Cen­tral Coast is buzzing with a mul­ti­tude of whale watch­ing van­tage points. Cap­tain Cook Look­out, Copaca­bana is a great place to take the chil­dren with two view­ing decks, in­ter­pre­ta­tive sig­nage and a fully ac­ces­si­ble path.

The Skil­lion is the iconic tall out­crop at Ter­ri­gal with amaz­ing views of North Avoca and Avoca beaches to the south, and Wam­beral and For­resters beaches to the north.

Set up a pic­nic blan­ket and en­joy ex­pan­sive views over The En­trance and Shelly Beach at Crack­neck Point in Wyrra­ba­long Na­tional Park.

No­rah Head Light­house also of­fers stun­ning views out to the Pa­cific Ocean and is home to the an­nual Whale Dream­ers Fes­ti­val in July

4.

The Leg­endary Pa­cific Coast’s Whale Watch­ing Trail fea­tures 71 of the best places to spot a whale between Avoca Beach and Tweed Heads. Plan a whale watch­ing daytrip or week long whale watch­ing mis­sion with in­for­ma­tion on the web­site de­tail­ing best van­tage points and ex­pe­ri­ences.

A must-do is a cruise with Tam­boi Queen, Imag­ine or Moon­shadow in Port Stephens which offer mem­o­rable ex­pe­ri­ences with whales.

5.

Grab a pair of binoc­u­lars and make the short climb to New­cas­tle’s iconic Nob­bys Light­house, a pop­u­lar place to spot whales with 360 de­gree views of the city, beach, coast­line and ocean.

Nova Cruises op­er­ates ocean cruises from New­cas­tle in­clud­ing a bonus har­bour and outer beach cruise.

6.

Go whale-watch­ing from the air in Syd­ney with Blue Sky He­li­copters on a 60-minute flight over Botany Bay and Cape Banks, head­ing north up the coast to­wards Palm Beach and Bro­ken Bay.

Be sure to visit the aptly named Whale Beach, which is said to have been named af­ter the shape of its north­ern head­land.

Closer to town the view­ing plat­form at Cape Solan­der in Botany Bay Na­tional Park is pop­u­lar with whales of­ten spot­ted only 200 me­tres from the coast.

The site is is also part of a long-run­ning whale-count­ing vol­un­teer pro­gramme run­ning each June and July.

The stun­ning cliff-top walk­ing trail from Bondi to Coogee beach also of­fers fan­tas­tic op­por­tu­ni­ties for whale watch­ing as do head­lands at Clovelly Beach and North Maroubra.

Get up close to th­ese mam­mal on a whale-watch­ing cruise de­part­ing from Cir­cu­lar Quay or Manly with Fan­tasea, Cap­tain Cook, Manly Whale Watch­ing, Oz Whale Watch­ing or Whale Watch­ing Syd­ney.

7.

Jervis Bay boasts a huge ar­ray of land and sea based whale watch­ing op­tions.

Find a van­tage point on the head­land over­look­ing the bay, and head to Pen­guin Head at Cul­burra or the view­ing plat­form in Bood­eree Na­tional Park at Cape St Ge­orge Light­house.

En­joy a seafood plat­ter at Port­side Cafe be­fore board­ing a Whale Eco-Cruise with Jervis Bay Wild. Dol­phin Watch Cruises spe­cialise in calm wa­ter whale watch­ing stay­ing close to shore to view the “Hump­back High­way” as it passes by.

They also offer special event cruises in­clud­ing sun­sets with the whales, BBQ with whales and even wed­dings with the whales.

8.

Walk some or all of the Bingi Dream­ing Track, a 14km coastal trail that traces the an­cient Song Lines of the Yuin Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple and runs from Congo to Tuross.

Stop at Bingi Bingi Point, which is perched on the edge of Euro­bo­dalla Na­tional Park and is a top spot for spot­ting a whale, of­fer­ing a scenic ex­panse of golden beaches and un­touched coast­line.

9.

Get a group of friends to­gether and book a stay at the her­itage Head Light­house Keeper’s Cot­tage on Mon­tague Is­land, just off the coast of Na­rooma.

The cot­tage, which was built in 1881, is the per­fect place to re­lax and watch as whales pass by with ex­ten­sive ve­ran­dahs, BBQ fa­cil­i­ties and se­cluded court­yards to en­joy.

10.

Fin­ish in Eden on the Sap­phire Coast, where whales reg­u­larly stop in the calm wa­ters of Two Fold Bay to feed on the plen­ti­ful krill and pilchards.

Ex­plore the Killer Whale Trail which fea­tures an in­ter­ac­tive map re­veal­ing the his­tory of Eden’s whal­ing past and top look­out points around the bay and along the coast­line in stun­ning Ben Boyd Na­tional Park.

Eden’s Killer Whale Mu­seum is home to the skele­ton of the most fa­mous killer whale, Old Tom, which is the only com­plete Orca skele­ton in the South­ern Hemi­sphere.

Whale-watch­ing at Jervis Bay, Huskisson, South Coast by L McGil­livray. Two whales per­form­ing a dou­ble breach in Port Stephens cap­tured on an Imag­ine Cruises Tour by

Stephen Mur­ray.

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