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Whale watching

Great Ocean Road

  • Aerial view of Warrnambool foreshore, Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia

Watch these breathtaking mammals, the southern right whale and blue whale, from the shoreline as they migrate to warmer waters off the coast of Victoria each year.

Southern right whales in Warrnambool
Time your trip to the Great Ocean Road region between June and October to include whale watching from the dunes of Logans Beach, Victoria's southern right whale nursery. Come within 100 metres of these beautiful mammals as they swim close to the shore and can be seen from a specially constructed viewing platform. See female southern right whales return to the nursery for many weeks, to calve and allow the young to feed gathering strength for their journey back to the sub-Antarctic waters. The males, yearlings and young adults remain further out to sea. The southern right whale can be recognised by its smooth, black back and lack of a dorsal fin. On the head of each southern right whale are a number of crusty outgrowths called callosities, markings that differ from whale to whale. Irregular white patches sometimes found on the whale's belly distinguish these animals from other species.

Call the Visitor Information Centre beforehand to check whether the whales are around, sometimes whales may not be visible at Logans Beach, even though they are in the region. Make time for multiple visits.

Southern right whales in Portland
Visit Portland between June and August for a chance to get within just metres of a mighty southern right whale. Portland is one of Victoria's premier viewing destinations, with southern right whales visible off the coast from Cape Bridgewater to Narrawong. Watch from the port, head out into the harbor, or make your way out west to Cape Bridgewater to see these giants of the sea on their annual migration through the Southern Ocean. Keep an eye out at Port of Portland where they often come to play within metres of the Lee Breakwater. Other great viewing spots include the cliffs above Nuns Beach and Portland Bay where they frequently stop on their way up the coast.

Blue whales in Portland
See blue whales migrate to the waters off Portland to feed on the abundant swarms of krill. While blue whales rarely approach land very closely, their blows and backs can sometimes be seen at a distance off prominent headlands such as Cape Nelson and Cape Bridgewater. They generally arrive in November and remain off Portland until May. Their distinguishing features are a slender streamlined shape with a small dorsal fin towards the tail and a powerful, tall straight blow (exhalation of breath) that in good conditions can be seen at 10 kilometres and heard at 4 kilometres.