Sydney Harbour Whale Watching Cruises

During May to November, the waters off Sydney’s coast become a bustling highway for the Humpback Whales during their annual migration. This is the best time to go on a whale watching cruise from Sydney Harbour and get a front-row view of the whales and their incredible antics. 

We have shortlisted the best whale watching cruises in Sydney to ease your selection and booking process. These tours offer close-up encounters, knowledgeable guides and whale sighting guarantee. You can choose a tour that fits your schedule, with options including shorter express cruises, cruises with lunch or brekkie, morning departures and afternoon trips.

Most whale watching tours leave Sydney Harbour within minutes, giving you ample time with the whales! Be on the lookout, for it won't be long until you spot a spectacular splash. See the graceful giants emerge from the water in magnificent fashion, only to plunge back down! Marvel at their graceful tail-slapping displays and listen to the melodic sounds of their songs echoing through the air. 

So, if you're looking to experience one of nature's greatest creations up close like never before, then a Sydney whale watching cruise is surely worth it! Don't miss out on this whale season, book your cruise today!

Here are answers to some of our frequently asked questions:

What is the best time to see whales in Sydney?

Whale watching season in Sydney runs from May till November. Although you can spot whales anytime during this period, the peak months to catch sight of them are from late June to August.

What types of whales can be spotted in Sydney?

Humpback Whales are the main species migrating along the Sydney coast from May to November. Additionally, you might see other wildlife such as dolphins, seals, seabirds, Southern Right Whales, Minke Whales, Blue Whales, and occasionally Orcas.

What if no whales are spotted?

Most whale watching tours we’ve listed offer whale sighting guarantee. If you don't see a whale, you can come back for another cruise free of charge. It’s definitely worth it!

Where do whale watching cruises in Sydney depart from?

Sydney whale watching cruises usually depart from Circular Quay or Darling Harbour, with some tours also leaving from Campbell’s Cove and Barangaroo. All cruises start from Sydney Harbour, head through Sydney Heads and into the open ocean, where the whales are at play!

Are whale watching cruises in Sydney safe?

Yes, whale watching tours in Sydney are completely safe. The tours are operated on purpose-built whale watching vessels and the Captain and crew follow strict guidelines to ensure your safety.

Which is better? Morning or afternoon departure?

It all comes down to your convenience as there is no ‘better’ time! Whales are active throughout the day. To ensure a more comfortable trip, consider checking the weather forecast and choosing a tour during calmer ocean conditions.

ACGAWN1437

3Hr Go Whale Watching Express Cruise

Go whale watching in Sydney aboard the 'Bubbles' with 4 viewing decks & meet the Humpback Whales just off Sydney Heads. 100% whale sighting guarantee.

Duration 3hr

From $75

ACGAIJ1464

Sunset Whale Watching Adventure Tour

A prelude to a wonderful evening – watch the whales breach & play against the backdrop of Sydney Harbour during golden hours. Guaranteed sightings.

Duration 3hr

From $75

NSW3152

4Hr Whale Watching BBQ Lunch Cruise

Whale watching experience off Sydney Heads to see the Humpbacks breaching, tail slapping & more. Afternoon departure with lunch & commentary.

Duration 4hr

From $99 $110

ACGYKJ1433

2Hr Whale Watching Express Cruise - Afternoon

Best-value whale watching cruise – reach the open ocean in just 20 mins to watch the Humpback Whales. Multimedia presentation & commentary included.

Duration 2hr

From $75 $85

ACGILT1463

Barefoot Charters Sydney Whale Watching Adventure Cruise

Whale watching tour from Sydney Harbour – reach the Humpback Highway in minutes to watch the whales up close! Free cruise if no whales are sighted.

Duration 3hr

From $75

ACGPFQ1432

2Hr Sydney Princess Whale Watching Express - Afternoon

Watch the migrating Humpback Whales at play along the Sydney coastline on this afternoon cruise with live commentary. Max 46 guests for best views.

Duration 2hr

From $89 $99

ACGRKO1389

2.5hr High-Speed Adventure Whale Watching Cruise

Perfect for thrill-seekers – join one of the fastest boats in Sydney and reach the open ocean in 10 minutes to watch the Humpback Whales in action.

Duration 2hr

From $95

ACGMQO0992

2.5Hr Ocean Whale Watching Experience

Guided cruise on a purpose-built boat for an experience limited to 30 guests to see the Humpbacks Whales in action. Operates daily with 3 departures.

Duration 2hr

From $109

ACGFVQ1434

3Hr Whale Watching Discovery Cruise - Afternoon

Minimal time on the harbour, maximum time with the whales – reach the ocean in just 15 mins & enjoy a close-up encounter with the Humpback Whales.

Duration 3hr

From $104 $109

ACGCTL1454

3Hr Whale Whisperer Whale Watching Tour

Exclusive whale watching tour for close-up encounters with the Humpback Whales in their natural habitat, with views of Sydney skyline in the backdrop!

Duration 3hr

From $90

ACGILE1393

3.5Hr Luxury Whale Watching Cruise

Private whale watching tour with informative commentary, limited to 10 guests for best views of the Humpback Whales at play. BBQ lunch included.

Duration 4hr

From $549 $600

ACGRSF1281

3Hr Whale Watching Discovery Cruise - Darling Harbour

The perfect way to see whales in Sydney, Fantasea’s whale watching cruise has the best success rate for spotting them. With no overcrowding, everyone gets a view!

Duration 3hr

From $109

ACGQRA1104

2Hr Whale Watching Express Cruise

Navigate the vast blue playground we call Sydney Harbour as you head out to encounter Humpback whales on their migratory journey.

Duration 2hr

From $75

ACGIJA1170

4Hr Oz Whale Watching Brekkie/BBQ Lunch Cruise

Spot Humpback breaches, tail slaps & spy hops near Sydney Heads. Spacious boat, limited seating, best views. Morning & afternoon departures. (May-Nov)

Duration 4hr

From $99

ACGRIF1105

3Hr Whale Watching Discovery Cruise - Circular Quay

Make waves with this unique experience on a whale-watching catamaran; enjoy up-close and personal views of the whales and their delightful antics.

Duration 2hr

From $109

ACGZUK1388

2Hr Sydney Princess Whale Watching Express

Hop on the ‘Whale Express’ to witness the Humpback Whale migration along the Sydney coastline. Informative commentary included. May-November.

Duration 2hr

From $89

ACGLQF1130

5Hr Tall Ship Whale & Sail Cruise

Experience the thrill of seeing the mighty Humpback Whales up close and the excitement of sailing on a classic square rigger Tall Ship (May-October).

Duration 5hr

From $149

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