The best ways to whale watch in Newcastle

The best ways to whale watch in Newcastle


Each year from June to November, the Newcastle coastline becomes a little busier with around 35,000 humpback whales making their seasonal commute. These gentle giants are on their epic migration from the cool climate of Antarctica to warmer waters and then back again. 

The warmer waters present bountiful opportunities for the whales breeding and birthing, as the young calves don’t have enough blubber on them yet to withstand the winter temperatures down south.

If you want to see these incredible animals pass through Newcastle, here's how:

Encounter tour with CoastXP

CoastXP’s Encounter Tour is a nature-based immersion experience, focusing on the annual humpback whale migration, where you get to watch the fascinating marine mammals up close in their natural environment.

Enjoy ocean enthusiast, Dominic May's, expert commentary onboard his custom built rigid inflatable vessel 'Atmos' complete with unobstructed 360° views making for a truly remarkable adventure. 

In addition to whale watching, each tour shows off the stunning Newcastle coastline with the added chance of encountering dolphins and New Zealand fur seals. 

Departs: Harbour Square Boat Dock, along the Honeysuckle Foreshore
When: Daily during Jun - Nov, for departure times visit website

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Whale watching cruise with Nova Cruises

Hop onboard Nova Cruises for an unforgettable ocean voyage to experience the migration of the humpback whales along the Newcastle coastline. 

Whale watch from the comfort of the main saloon floor or head upstairs and take in the view from the alfresco sundeck. 

Departs: Harbour Square Boat Dock, along the Honeysuckle Foreshore
When: Wed, Sat and Sun during Jun - Nov, for departure times visit website 

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Watch from the land

For those that prefer to stay on land, there are some great vantage points around the city to watch the whales past by:

Fort Scratchley - Immerse yourself in military history whilst checking out one of the city's best whale watching vantage points at Fort Scratchley. The grassy headland is the ideal spot to roll out the picnic blanket and take in the panoramic views of the ocean and harbour. 

The Obelisk - Perched above King Edward Park, the obelisk provides stunning 360 degree views of the ocean, harbour, and city. Climb the 120 steps from street level up to the peak and you’ll understand why this is a favoured spot for many visitors to spot whales. 

Newcastle Memorial Walk - The 450m walkway is a tribute to the region's ANZAC's and the city's steel making heritage, but it also doubles a great lookout along the coastline for humpback whales.

Insider tip: the Newcastle Memorial Walk is wheelchair accessible from Strzelecki Lookout. 

Merewether Beach - Grab a seat (and a coffee) outside the kiosk at Merewether Beach and lookout over the ocean at the busy humpback highway. 

Bar Beach - Set up on the grassed area next to the car park at Bar Beach. Enjoy some fish and chips with family and friends, but make sure to keep your eyes peeled over the ocean for fin flips and whales  breaching.  

Hickson Street Lookout - One of Newcastle's best kept secrets, you'll find Hickson Street Lookout down a short meandering track where Merewether meets Glenrock State Conservation Area. Pack a picnic and your binoculars, and find a spot on the grassy outlook to watch for whales among the panoramic sea views of Burwood Beach.