I must admit that winter is definitely not my favourite season, no matter how mild the winter is, I am always cold! But winter endure I must, so I've had to look for reasons that I 'love' winter and here are three of them. One, I love the colour of the ocean, the azure blue is so much deeper than in summer months, when the moisture in the air tends to make the water somehow look hazy and less sparkly. Two, I love seeing the full moon glistening on the water, spreading it's tentacles of light to assist sailors in setting their course to distant countries. And three, my true love of winter is being able to watch the Humpback Whale migration from the south as they pass the beautiful beaches of the Sunshine Coast.
Tell-tale signs the Humpbacks have arrived! - Image: Pixabay CCO Public Domain
The best whale viewing times are between July and November every year, but I heard via a little fishy, that they are already on their way and have been spotted out and about in our Sunshine Coast waters. There are so many top spots along our coastline, where we can be privy to these stunningly beautiful majestic mammals of the deep and these are my choices.
Dolphin Point (see map here) is a section of the Noosa National Park and is easily accessible at the end of Park Road in Noosa Heads. Day trippers can enjoy walking from Hastings Street along the seaside boardwalk, taking in the breathtaking ocean views, looking out for a koala or two around Tea Tree Bay, and then onwards to Dolphin Point lookout. As the name, Dolphin Point suggests, this is also a great spot to see pods of dolphins. The section of the Coastal Track from the Information Section to Dolphin Point is paved and suitable for wheelchair and stroller access.
Look out for the koalas at Tea Tree Bay - Image: Elaine de Wet
If you're feeling energetic, I would suggest to continue walking all the way to Hell's Gates, which will allow you the opportunity of watching the whales south towards Alexandria Bay or north towards Double Island Point, ensuring that you don't miss any spectacular displays the whales might have on offer.
Hell's Gate - a premier viewing location - Image: Elaine de Wet
Dolphin Point and Hell's Gates are a small section of the Coastal Track that we did last year, though in the reverse way, from Sunshine Beach through to the Noosa National Park Information Centre. Mother Nature deserves an additional feather in her cap for producing such spectacular vistas in this area, that are here solely for our enjoyment.
You can't miss out on Noosa National Park for whale watching views - Image: Elaine de Wet
So, if you're really feeling on top of the pops, energy-wise, why not try parking at Sunshine Beach and commencing the Coastal Track from the 'other' end. You might catch a whale or two before reaching the vantage points of the cliffs. This section of the track has numerous stairs, 'a million and one' according to the author, and also goes through bushland, so is not suitable for wheelchairs or strollers.
2. Moffat Beach Headland
You might spot a mother and calf frolicking in the ocean - Image: Pixabay CCO Public Domain
Moffat Beach Headland with its panoramic views of the open ocean will ensure that whale watching from this spot is easy and convenient. Visitors to the area will find seats in perfect viewing positions to take in the playfulness of the whales. There's nothing quite like sitting and enjoying a mother with her calf frolicking in the water. This area is also suitable for wheelchair and pram access.
3. Point Arkwright, Coolum
Majestic Humpback - Image: Pixabay CCO Public Domain
Point Arkwright is a rocky promontory just a short one kilometre walk south of Point Perry, boasting stunning views north to Peregian Beach all the way up to Noosa and south down to Moreton Island. In other words, another top-tier spot to watch the whales on their migration trip north.
If you find that you're having to jostle for a position to catch the whales, why not take a walk up the beach to Peregian Beach - a quaint little seaside village - and only seven kilometres up the road. Look out for the whales while you're walking, you might be able to spot them breaching quite close to shore. You also might find that the walk is so enjoyable, you just might miss the turn off for the village, so look out for the tall Norfolk Pines growing alongside the beach as this is where you need to go through to get to the Peregian Beach Village.
This was a lookout I included in my 'Three Little-Known Lookouts on the Sunshine Coast' towards the end of last year. Admittedly, Point Perry Lookout, is very well known, so adding this one as a little-known lookout, was slightly tongue-in-cheek. But, how many of us have driven past this lookout in Coolum dozens of times, without actually stopping, and always thinking 'next time'. Point Perry, also known as Wilkinson Park, is a rocky headland at the southern boundary of Coolum Beach and is an extremely popular venue for weddings and ceremonies and, of course, whale watching.
Views to Coolum from Point Perry - Image: Elaine de Wet
A magnificent location with exceptional views, makes Point Perry one of the premier whale watching spots on the Sunshine Coast. The raised vantage point allows visitors to take in the panoramic views of the ocean, ensuring whale watching is easy and relaxed.
Unique artwork at Point Perry - Image: Elaine de Wet
Visitors can access the Point Perry Lookout by walking to the end of Coolum Beach Boardwalk, near the surf club and climbing the hill or alternatively driving up to Point Perry, where you will find (hopefully empty) public parking and picnic areas. Look out for the unique artwork at Point Perry, creatively produced by a local bird-watching enthusiast and in particular the stunning Humpback Whales.
5. Point Cartwright, Kawana
Picnic and grassed area at Point Cartwright - Image: Elaine de Wet
Point Cartwright is another one of my special places to visit, located at the base of the headland at the northern end of Kawana Beach. This is a very popular spot for surfers and families who can enjoy the rock scrambling during low tide. Point Cartwright offers picnic locations and bush walks and of course, the artistically painted Unitywater Reservoir with its wraparound mural, all beautifully captured by Joel Fergie, a professional street artist.
Artistically painted mural at Point Cartwright - Image: Elaine de Wet
The high cliffs in this coastal headland reserve, provide sensational views of Mooloolaba, the Mooloolah River mouth, Mount Coolum to the north and Kawana Beach to the south. A viewing platform, in just the perfect spot, is available for watching the migratory Humpback Whales and turtles. But, if this proves to be a bit 'busy' then carry on walking up to the top of the cliffs, where even better viewing positions can be found.
Car parking is available at La Balsa carpark, but as this could prove to be really hectic, visitors might have to find a street park. At the end of the day, your views from this spectacular spot will be totally worth it!
Oops, surfers not whales at Point Cartwright - Image: Elaine de Wet
Rather than elbow for a whale-watching position along our beautiful coastline, readers might be enticed to do a whale watching excursion on board a boat - these are usually advertised with 'guaranteed sightings'. Off the top of my hat, I'm aware of Whale One advertising whale watching cruises. To book with Whale One, please click here. Personally, I think it's far more fun discovering these magnificent mammals of the deep on our own and besides which, all these viewing sites are totally FREE.
There's nothing quite like whale watching - Image: Pixabay CCO Public Domain