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Published September 22nd 2020
Nelson Bay in Port Stephens is a popular whale-watching destination between May and November, with cruise boats going out daily to look for whales, as they travel up and down the coastline on their annual migration. Locals and visitors can also look for whales off the headlands along the coastline, at various lookouts dotted along the beaches.
These small lookout areas, below, are some of the best ones that our family has found - do you know of any more? If so, please leave a comment at the top of this article with your local tips, or if you have stumbled upon the perfect secret spot, for some whale watching action. When you finally see the spray of a whale or the splash of a breaching whale in the distance, you can't help but be thrilled by witnessing such a beautiful sight of nature. Don't forget your binoculars, for an even better view!
Whale watching lookout at Boat Harbour North Headland
Boat Harbour North Headland is located just a short 15 minute drive from Nelson Bay. It is a popular spot for locals and visitors to walk up to the end of the headland and look for whales out to sea. There is a gravel car park and a short walk up to the rocky platform, which has two log seats to sit on to stay for a while. If you have sturdy shoes, there is also a rocky walk to the far end of the headland (where you will find a lifesaving ring), for an even better view.
Boat Harbour Whale Watching Path is located a few minutes walk away, at the southern end of Boat Harbour beach - accessible from a car park near Solace Place. Look for the small metal plaque at the beginning of the walk and follow the path through the trees and up towards the headland. There are posts along the way with pictures of whales on them, for you to follow. There is no whale watching platform, but plenty of areas along the headland to look for whales. You can also see the first lookout above, from this location.
Look for this whale watching sign at the southern end of Boat Harbour Beach
Follow the path from Solace Place and then look for the whale signs
Tomaree Head is the ultimate whale watching lookout in the area, with 360-degree views from the top of the mountain - the only problem is that you have to get up there first! The view is worth the effort, however, just ensure you take plenty of water and wear sturdy sneakers. See the article Tomaree Head Summit Walk - Top 5 Tips to Read Before You Go for more details.
Although the best views of the whales are from the beachside of Port Stephens, there are times when the whales can also be seen within the quiet bays of the port, as they have a rest during their migration. Back in October 2018, a humpback whale and her juvenile baby made quite a "splash" (pardon the pun!) when the juvenile started breaching in the waters in front of Little Beach, just near the Little Beach Boathouse restaurant - see here for the news article.
Have you discovered a top spot to look for whales? I'd love to hear about it! Please leave a comment at the top of this article and share your top tips - they will then be shown below the article for others to read. The best part of whale watching in Port Stephens, is that you can also enjoy the stunning views of the area while you're there!