Sydney, Australia is home to many awe-inspiring sights from the architecture of the Sydney Opera House to the crashing waves at Bondi Beach. Each year, tourists and locals enjoy the activities that Sydney offers during the summer months, seeking nature walks and beaches by day and cultured nightlife by dark. But tourists are not the only ones headed to Sydney each year. Australia is known for having roughly 50% of all whales and dolphins in its oceans and each year humpback whales migrate from their feeding grounds in Antarctica towards the Great Barrier Reef where they calve and breed.
Traits of the Humpback Whale
Humpback whales are fondly known for their beautiful, acrobatic displays at the surface of the water. Measuring between 14 and 16 meters, they often breach out of the water, sometimes twirling before slapping back down. Scientists believe that this may be to knock off parasites but others believe that it is a form of play. During migration, humpback whales are particularly active and visible even from the coastlines of the migration areas. After the International Whaling Commission gave them a protected status in 1966, whale watching became a popular way to see nature up close, not just in museums and movies.
People travel to specific destinations to experience the presence of Humpback whales and Australia is high on the list. Sydney whale watching lasts from May until August and is usually a boat cruise that last two or three hours. Participants encounter these amazing mammals first-hand in their natural wild habitat and enjoy learning about their feeding, breeding, and migration patterns during the cruise.
Preparing to Whale Watch
As you plan your whale watching trip, there are a few important things to keep in mind.
- Primarily, trips will not be cancelled for light rain so be ready to throw on a light rain jacket. Even if it is not raining, remember to bring a light jacket to help with wind chill.
- Travellers who are prone to seasickness should get plenty of sleep, eat lightly prior to the trip, and avoid looking down at screens during the boat ride.
- Pack a light snack or full lunch, depending on when your whale watching trip leaves.
- Bring your camera and possibly your own pair of binoculars, although your boat may have some available as well.
- Be patient! Whale watching is travelling into the humpback whales’ territory and their activity and behaviour varies each day. Most cruises see whales but they do not always approach the boat or breach the surface of the water.
Tourists who break the mould of traditional sightseeing and opt to go humpback whale watching experience the incredible power and beauty of nature while learning educational facts from experts in the study of humpback whales. Sit back and scan the shoreline surrounding you as the cruise leaves the shores of Sydney and follows these magical creatures through the local waters for an unforgettable and life-changing experience.