It’s been estimated that around 20,000 whales migrate along the northern NSW coast each year, heading north to breed in warmer waters between May and August and then south from September to November.
The added bonus of the southbound migration in spring is that they have their calves in tow and tend to hug the coastline more so that they can train and nurture their offspring in calmer waters.
Humpbacks are most common but people also spot minkes and orcas.
With national parks making up almost 50 per cent of the NSW coastline, there are some outstanding vantage points from the various headlands and foreshores.
Here are a few of the top whale watching spots recommended by NSW National Parks:
Woolgoolga Beach and Headland, Coffs Regional Park
Renowned as one of the best whale watching spots in the region, this scenic location boasts amazing views even when there are no whales to be seen, and there’s easy access, too.
Muttonbird Island Nature Reserve
Another easy spot to get to, right next to the Coffs Harbour Marina, this is also a spectacular location regardless of how many whales are around. The eastern lookout on this seabird rookery is a prime whale (and dolphin) spotting spot!
Bongil Bongil National Park
Not far from Coffs Harbour, this park offers great fishing, walking and mountain biking as well as 11km of beaches, perfect for spotting migrating whales.
Yuraygir National Park
This park, located between Coffs Harbour and Yamba, has the state’s longest stretch of undeveloped coastline, so add camping and fishing to your whale watching.
NSW National Parks has set up a great website wildaboutwhales.com.au and a Facebook page as well, so you can keep right up to date with the latest whale sightings (and, of course, there’s an app too).