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Whale watching

Phillip Island

  • Humpback whale, Phillip Island, Victoria, Australia

Visit Phillip Island between May and September for the chance to see humpback whales, southern right whales and orcas as they migrate from Antarctica to the warmer waters off Queensland for calving.

Choose from a range of whale watching options on offer and view these majestic creatures on their long journey along the Victorian coastline. Take to the high seas on a whale cruise, watch with binoculars from the shoreline, or sign up for a helicopter flight over the water to see whales making their way north.

On dry land
Grab your binoculars and try your luck down at Cape Woolamai, Surf Beach, Pyramid Rock, The Nobbies or the Summerlands area, which all offer great whale watching opportunities. Southern right whales can also sometimes be seen in the shallow waters off the jetties at Cowes and San Remo. Although humpback and southern right whales are more prevalent, orcas, commonly known as killer whales, do occasionally visit the waters around Phillip Island.

Sea and sky
Hit the water with Wildlife Coast Cruises on a Winter Whale Cruise or take the high-speed Wild Oceans EcoBoat Adventure Tour for a chance to learn more about these fascinating mammals and explore the other inhabitants of this vibrant stretch of coast.

Keep those binoculars close at hand so you can seize every opportunity to see the great whales and cheerful dolphins out in the waves. Enjoy the spectacle of thousands of fur seals tumbling around at Seal Rocks, Australia's largest fur seal colony, and look out for the awe-inspiring shy albatross, which boasts a wing span of some 2.5 metres. The fun continues as you cruise along the Phillip Island coastline. Ride the waves, taking in the spectacular scenery including the cliffs along the Summerland Peninsula, the blowhole at The Nobbies, the striking silhouette of Pyramid Rock, and the pink granite of Cape Woolamai.

Take to the skies to get a fresh perspective, enjoy sweeping views of the surrounding ocean, and see whales that are far from shore. Phillip Island Helicopters offer a range of scenic flights across the island and are always on the lookout for migrating whales.

Whale of a time
Do a little research before you head off on your whale adventure and see if you can pick out the different species from where you're standing.
Humpback whales are lighter and move faster than the southern right whale. They boast a unique white underside, long flippers, and a small dorsal (back) fin. Southern right whales, on the other hand, are usually black, do not have a dorsal fin, and have a rounded blow hole. Orcas are much smaller, have distinctive black and white colouring, and are the fastest swimmers of all the cetaceans, reaching speeds of more than 50km/h while hunting.

Time your visit
The best time to visit is during the cooler months, between May and September. Call ahead to the Phillip Island Visitor Information Centre at Newhaven for information on the latest sightings or check the Whale Sightings 2016 google map for the Phillip Island region.