Juvenile humpback whale puts on an amazing show for spectators
Whale watching with Budget Motels header

You can catch these majestic mammals frolicking along the coast on their annual migration. Spectators on the south and east coast have the chance to enjoy their own whale show, twice a year, as whales journey along their annual migration path to and from Antarctica. Southern right whales journey to the temperate breeding waters off South Australia and Victoria, while energetic humpback whales continue north to the Great Barrier Reef and the Kimberley. Here are the best whale-watching spots in the south and east of Australia:



Where: Hervey Bay is protected by Fraser Island, affording humpback whales the ideal location to breed. Time your visit around the first week of September to increase your chances of seeing calves. Each year in July and August, the arrival of the humpback whales is celebrated at the Hervey Bay Whale Festival, with concerts, street parades and displays. Travel north to the Whitsunday Islands, to see humpback whales between May and September, enjoying the shallow, sheltered waters while they nurse their newborn calves. 

Humpback Whales posing off Hervey Bay, QLD
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Entrance to Bourbong Street Motel, Bundaberg, QLD
Bourbong Street Motel

Bundaberg, QLD
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Gardens, rooms and parking of the Bororen Motel, QLD
Bororen Motel

Bororen, QLD
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Citywalk Motor Inn, Rockhampton, QLD
Citywalk Motor Inn

Rockhampton, QLD
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Mackay Marina, QLD
Mackay Motor Inn

West Mackay, QLD
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A & A Motel

Proserpine, QLD
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Humpback whale breaching the water at amazing height off the coast of NSW

New South Wales

When: May-late November

Where: The best time is the last week of June and the first week of July from Narooma, Sydney and Newcastle, then early September, with mothers and calves passing by as they head back south. At Jervis Bay you’re almost guaranteed a whale sighting. Head south to Merimbula for both shore-based whale watching and charters. Eden celebrates their arrival each year with the Eden Whale Festival, with live shows, a parade and stalls. You can also see whales from June in Byron Bay, playing just offshore from the Cape Byron Lighthouse. 

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The Marquis Hotel Motel, Hobart, TAS
Tweed River Motel

Murwillumbah, NSW
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Burnie Ocean View Motel, Burnie, Tasmania
Mayfield Motel

Mayfield West, NSW
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Entrance driveway to the Motel Farnboro, Narooma, NSW
Motel Farnboro

Narooma, NSW
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When: May–September 

Where: Head to Logans Beach in Warrnambool, to the viewing platform on the sand dunes and watch southern right whales calve in a nursery close to shore. They stay here for several weeks, helping their young build strength for the long journey back to sub-Antarctic waters. Also try Lady Bay in Warrnambool, where the new mums often come close enough to spray you with breakwater. Travel further along the Great Ocean Road to see rare blue whales at Cape Nelson near Portland, and watch for the yellow flag flying outside the Portland Visitor Information Centre.

Whale and her calf
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The Admiral Motor Inn entrance, Rosebud, VIC
Admiral Motor Inn

Rosebud, VIC
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Rear view of the Bellbrae Motel, Bellbrae, VIC
Bellbrae Motel

Torquay, VIC
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Raglan Motor Inn, Warrnambool, VIC
Raglan Motor Inn

Warrnambool, VIC
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The William Dutton Motel, Portland, VIC
William Dutton Motel

Portland. VIC
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Southern right whale plays in the water


When: May-July, September–December 

Where: Tasmania’s east coast is still one of the best places to spot humpback and southern right whales on their annual migration, coasting through Great Oyster Bay off the Freycinet Peninsula. Southern right whales and humpback whales often travel past Frederick Henry Bay on the way to their breeding areas, but occasionally will give birth in Tassie, giving you the chance to see them from shore. You may also glimpse whales with their calves in Mercury Passage off Maria Island, a natural wildlife sanctuary. 

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The Marquis Hotel Motel, Hobart, TAS
Marquis Hotel Motel

209 Brisbane St, Hobart, TAS 7000

Burnie Ocean View Motel, Burnie, Tasmania
Burnie Ocean View Motel

253 Bass Hwy, Burnie, TAS 7320

The Menai Hotel Motel & Function Centre, Burnie, TAS
The Menai Hotel Motel

20 Edwardes St, S. Burnie, TAS 7320

South Australia

When: June–September

Where: Southern right whales come to Victor Harbor every year to breed. Head to Encounter Bay to watch whales frolic in the calm waters below, or book a tour to see them play with their calves in the waters of the Fleurieu Peninsula. Further along South Australia’s coastline in Ceduna, you can watch the whales do slow-motion somersaults from the viewing platform or beach.

Whale and her calf
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Parking outside your room at the Wintersun Motel, Victor Harbor, SA
Wintersun Motel

Victor Harbor, SA
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Parking at the Travelway Motel, Port Pirie, SA
Travelway Motel

Port Pirie, SA
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Annual Whale migration - south and east coast Australia
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