The best places to go Whale Watching in Port Macquarie

Every year, Australians on the east coast of Australia are treated to the stunning aerobatic displays of the beautiful humpback whale, as they complete their annual migration to waters north of Australia. Humpback whales spend the summer months chilling off and feeding on krill in Antarctica, before making the journey to warmer waters to mate and give birth.

Photo of Humpback Whale breaching while whale watching

Humpback whales travel over 10,000 kilometres each year just to migrate, usually heading north between June to August. Typically they make the journey back to the Antarctic waters from around September to November. Situated on the east coast of Australia between Newcastle and Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie is one of the best spots to go whale watching. Port Macquarie is dotted with some fantastic coastal walks and lookouts that make ideal vantage spots to watch from dry land.

Our picks for the best Whale Watching

Here’s our list of the best whale watching spots around Port Macquarie:

Town beach lookout

Town beach lookout is one of the most common places that locals and tourists head to, to spot some whales. It’s a fantastic vantage point to see any whales that are passing by, and covers a large area from north of Point Plomer, down to Flagstaff Hill to the south of Town Beach. Access is easy as you can literally drive right up to the lookout and there’s plenty of parking. There’s also no stairs or steep hills to climb in order to reach the lookout – perfect. If its a particularly cold or windy day, you don’t even have to get out of the car – bring along some snacks and settle in for some whale spotting!

Photo of tourists whale watching from Town Beach Lookout

Tacking Point Lighthouse

Tacking Point Lighthouse is located to the northern end of Lighthouse Beach, in Port Macquarie. From your viewing spot at the lighthouse, you’ll be able to look straight out to sea or down to the southern end of Lighthouse Beach. There are a few stairs that you’ll need to climb to reach the lighthouse but anyone who is even remotely fit will be able to handle it. It can get a bit windy at Tacking Point Lighthouse so be sure to bring a jacket.

Perpendicular Point

Okay, so Perpendicular Point lookout isn’t technically located in Port Macquarie, it’s in Camden Haven, about 30 minutes south of Port Macquarie. It’s definitely worth taking a morning or afternoon drive for some whale watching though.

From the lookout, you’ll see north to Port Macquarie, south to Diamond Head, and southwest to the dramatic North Brother Mountain in Dooragan National Park. Sitting on the top of the sheer cliffs is a fantastic place to gaze out at the sparkling blue waters and a great vantage point for whale watching and spotting dolphins.

Aerial photo of Perpendicular Point, supplied by Port Macquarie Hastings Council

Get offshore

For those adventure seekers among us, why not book a whale watching tour and really get amongst the action! Port Jet* runs daily Whale Watching trips, departing Port Macquarie at least twice a day between May and November. We were lucky enough to go out on a morning tour with Port Jet at the start of the 2018 Whale Season.  Boasting not one, not two, but three 300 horse power engines, the ‘Wave Rider’ is designed for speed and comfort. It takes about 20 minutes to get out to the ‘whale watching zone’ and as promised, we were hanging out with two juvenile humpback whales almost instantly. Whale watching from the shore is fantastic, but nothing can compare to being within metres of these majestic creatures. Check out our video below for just a taste of our experience.

At the conclusion of the whale watching part of the trip, our skipper cranked up some pumping tunes, put the boat into ‘sports mode’ and we jetted back to the wharf at high speeds. What an exhilarating and fun way to finish off a morning – it really gets the adrenaline pumping and after seeing whales, ending your trip on an even bigger high! It is a truly unforgettable experience that is very unique to Port Macquarie. Port Jet say on their website that they can 99% guarantee that you’ll see a whale on their tour – those are pretty good odds, if you ask us!

Tips for Whale Watching

  • Wear warm clothes and a wind-breaker jacket as it can be chilly
  • Bring along a pair of binoculars to help with the spotting
  • Bring a camera and make sure it’s charged before you leave home
  • Wear a hat and sunglasses
  • If you’re heading out on a whale watching boat, prepare for the fact that you may get wet!

Photo of a whale breaching

Facts about Humpback Whales

  • Their diet consists of small fish and krill.
  • They have a gestation period of approximately 11 months.
  • Mother humpbacks can feed their calves up to 200 litres of milk per day.
  • Humpback milk is 50% fat and pink in colour.
  • Calves can grow at a rate of up to 50kg per day.
  • Humpback whales have a similar lifespan to us humans, with the oldest known whale in our waters aged at around 97 years.
  • They are polygamous, meaning that females may breed with multiple partners throughout their lifetimes.
  • Humpbacks can weigh up to 40 tonnes, which is three times the weight of a school bus.
  • The average size of a humpback whale is a weight of 30 tonnes and a length of 13-15 metres.
  • The longest humpback on record was roughly 20 metres long.

Want to know more?

Check out these helpful links for more information:

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* We thought you should know that this blog post was in no way sponsored or commissioned by Port Jet and we paid in full for our whale watching experience – we just loved it so much that we had to share it with you!