After moving to Australia in 2011, we’ve finally ticked off a whale watching Sydney Harbour tour with Sydney Eco Whale Watching tours.
If you’re wondering what the best whale watching Sydney tour is, whether you’ll actually see any whales or you have other questions like when the whale watching Sydney season is, we’re here to answer everything for you.
Here’s our whale watching Sydney review.
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Whale Watching Sydney season
If you’re wondering about when the whale watching season starts in Sydney, 30,000 whales migrate up north to give birth in warmer waters from June – August each year. They then return back from August – November so you could be in with a chance of spotting a whale between these months.
If you’re looking for things to do in winter in Sydney, check out the below post.
The best time to visit is actually between June – July which is the peak time to spot a humpback whale.
When Sydney Eco Whale Watching started their tours in the year 2000 (they were just the third boat in Sydney to start whale watching tours), there were just 3,000 whales which passed by Sydney, now it’s gone 10 fold which is incredible!
The best time for whale watching in Sydney is right now!
Whale sights Sydney
If you’re lucky, you might be able to see some whales from land. I’ve seen them from Coogee Beach once before but the likelyhood of seeing them often are slim.
There are nearly 40 vantage points to spot whales in Sydney but here are some of the most popular places to get a glimpse.
⇒ North Head
⇒ South Head
⇒ Bondi coastal walk
⇒ The Royal National Park
⇒ Palm Beach
You might be able to spot a whale in Sydney from the beach but without a doubt the best way to see them is by boat.
Why you need to book your whale watching NSW tour with Sydney Eco Whale Watching
We booked our tour with Sydney Eco Whale Watching because we loved the idea of going on a sailing boat and we loved the fact that they only take 12 people on their tours.
We are actually really pleased we picked this tour because when we saw some other whale watching boats, they were packed full of people all trying to get a view of the water. It didn’t look fun at all.
What’s eco about Sydney Eco Whale Watching?
If you’re wondering what sets Sydney Eco Whale Watching tours apart from the other whale spotting Sydney tours, here’s what makes them eco.
⇒ As we mentioned above, they don’t over crowd the boats full of people and will only take a maximum of 12 people on board.
⇒ Sydney Eco Whale Watching keep the regulated distance of 100 metres away from the whales so they don’t overcrowd them (unlike some of the other tours in Sydney).
⇒ At the same time because the boat is lower, you could get closer to the whales than on a bigger boat that has multiple levels. We had three whales which magically turned up on next to our boat and it was truely an amazing experience.
⇒ They make sure they keep the noise level to a minimum around the whales – we noticed how the other boats sounded a bit like Disney World with the guide eco’ing across the water with their commentary via a loud speaker.
⇒ You’ll get an environmental scientist on board who will tell you everything there is to know about whales. Honestly their knowledge is incredible, you’ll be reeling off all the facts you learnt to your friends and family afterwards.
⇒ Sydney Eco Whale Watching don’t clock on and clock off. The people who run the tours are incredibly passionate about whales and if everyone on the boat is happy, they might stay out fora bit longer if you come across some entertaining whales.
What was the whale watching tour like?
Because the tour starts at lunch time, make sure you eat an hour or so beforehand as only snacks and water are supplied on the tour.
We got on the boat at Darling Harbour and set sail around 12:15pm and underneath the Sydney Harbour Bridge. This in itself is a beautiful and one of the romantic things to do in Sydney that your date will be impressed before you’ve even spotted any whales.
As soon as we got out towards the heads and into the ocean (that’s South Head near Watsons Bay area and North Head near Manly), we quickly spotted whales.
Whilst we all sat in awe at the beautiful sight of knowing we were actually witnessing the whale migration in Australia, we stayed there for a while taking it all in.
Our guide Tony spotted a few more whales over towards the South Head and asked everyone if they were happy to continue down towards the cliffs. By this time all of the other boats had disappeared and we sailed over to be the only boat watching the magnificent whale with not another person in sight.
When we sailed back into Sydney Harbour we were in luck to be greeted by the sunset which was a great end to an awesome day.
We arrived back a little later than expected but that shows the passion Tony and his team have for the whales when they have such a small group on board, they are able to enjoy the whales for a bit longer if needed.
When we told the tour guides we had seen Blue Whales in Sri Lanka (the largest whale in the world), the look on their faces were a picture of pure excitement. We felt almost guilty for having seen them whilst being around the team who would do anything to witness an experience like that.
Tip before you do the tour
We recommend taking some sea sickness tablets before you get on the boat because it is a sailing boat, you’ll feel the waves a bit more than being on a normal boat. When we did this tour, the water was flat but it’s recommended if you do suffer from any sea sickness to always take them before boarding.
If you’re looking for things to do in Sydney or romantic date ideas in Sydney, we 100% recommend booking this tour with Sydney Eco Whale Watching Tours.
Most tours charge between $50-$80 for a 2 hour tour. Our 4 hour tour costs $135 per adult and $65 per child. It’s more on the expensive side because it’s like you’re going on a personalised tour on a sailing boat.
Cheap whale watching Sydney tours are cheap for a reason. Personally, I’d go on a sailing boat anytime over a cruise boat packed full of people.
For $135 you basically don’t just get a whale watching tour, you get to go on a sailing boat across Sydney Harbour and there’s a sunset cruise thrown in as well.