Spot a humpback whale off the NSW coast

Published: 1 May 2018

Catch a glimpse of some 30,000 humpback whales, as they migrate north to warmer waters.


Humpback whales are about to begin their annual migration from Antarctica, along the coast of NSW to the warmer waters of Queensland.

At this time of year, the whales are particularly visible along the coast from Wollongong and Sydney to the north coast.

NSW’s national parks along the coast provide some of the best vantage points in the world to catch a glimpse of these gentle giants.

The humpback whales start their return south around July.

Travelling with young calves, they will be more visible on the Far South Coast of NSW from August onwards.

Minister for the Environment Gabrielle Upton said that, for the safety of whales and the general public, there are rules in place that govern how close people can go to whales.

“Boats should go no closer than 300 metres and 400 metres if there is a calf,” Ms Upton said.

“There are also restrictions for how close drones and other aircraft can go to whales.

The whale migration season has triggered the removal of all five shark nets on the NSW North Coast and an end to the second shark net trial.

The second trial of shark nets has been underway for almost five months at Lighthouse Beach (Ballina), Sharpes Beach (Ballina), Shelly Beach (Ballina), Seven Mile Beach (Lennox Head) and Evans Head Beach.

SMART drumlines will remain in the water over the winter month, which proven to be very effective at catching target sharks.

Minister for Primary Industries, Niall Blair said it is important the nets are removed now as there is a risk of a whale being caught in the nets.

“I encourage all beachgoers to check the signs, avoid dark turbid and murky waters and avoid swimming and surfing near schools of baitfish.”

Find out more about whale watching rules and vantage spots along the NSW coast

Learn more about the North Coast shark net trial

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