Whale watching in Sydney Harbour

Darling Harbour, Sydney, New South Wales

Family friendly

2-3 hours


Every year, between May and November, Humpback Whales travel from Antarctica to the warmer waters of QLD to calve, then return along the east coast of Australia, a route dubbed the Humpback Highway. If you happen to be in Sydney, whale watching in Sydney Harbour is a must.

‘Go Whale Watching’ run daily cruises departing Darling Harbour, usually a morning, midday and afternoon session that run a little under three hours. These guys have been running Whale cruises for nearly twenty years and will do their best to find whales for you. If you’re lucky you’ll get to see some different behaviours exhibited, but they are wild animals in their own environment, so there is never a guarantee.

Bookings are required, so start checking the weather from a week ahead for the best opportunity. Ideally look for fine weather and low winds for a pleasant experience on the ocean. If you are susceptible to motion sickness take motion sickness tablets first. A spray jacket may also come in handy.

Darling Harbour is bustling with things to do. The boat departs from King Street Wharf, not far from the Sydney Aquarium and Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, and a short walk around the harbour to the Powerhouse Museum and Maritime Museum.

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Duration of experience

2hrs 45mins, but you’ll need to arrive 20mins prior to departure time.


Cruises depart from King Street Wharf number 7, near Madame Tussauds Wax Museum.

Parking facilities

Parking at Darling Harbour.

Best time to visit

Best time of year to go:

Whales are travelling north during the months of mid May, June, July. August is a month where some whales are heading north and some have started back south. September, October through to mid November they are coming south. Any time during this period is good for whale watching.

Mid June to mid July is peak season.

Best time of day to go:

Morning sessions offer the best chance for sightings given this is when whales are usually most active. While the afternoon session has the appeal of watching sunset from the water, by the time you get to open sea there’s not much light left to see by.


What you should bring/wear
A spray jacket comes in handy in the case of an errant wave! Flat shoes are also advisable and anything needed for time in the sun.
Wheelchair friendly?

Check with provider whether arrangements can be made.

More Information

If you are susceptible to motion sickness take some tablets first

Weather in Sydney
January – 26° / 19°C – 8 days rain
February – 26° / 19°C – 8 days rain
March – 25° / 18°C – 9 days rain
April – 23° / 15°C – 8 days rain
May – 20° / 12°C – 8 days rain
June – 17° / 9°C – 8 days rain
July – 17° / 8°C – 6 days rain
August – 18° / 9°C – 5 days rain
September – 21° / 11°C – 6 days rain
October – 22° / 14°C – 7 days rain
November – 23° / 16°C – 8 days rain
December – 25° / 18°C – 7 days rain


Things to do in Darling Harbour:

  • Sydney Aquarium
  • Madame Tassauds Wax Museum
  • Powerhouse Museum
  • Maritime Museum

Sydney Restaurants

Darling Harbour has plenty of choice for food on offer, inclduing great seafood options, ad is a short walk from Chinatwon and the Sydney CBD.

Popular Sydney whale watching tours


Sydney Whale-Watching Cruise Including Lunch or Breakfast

  • Sydney Harbour sightseeing and whale-watching cruise
  • See top Sydney sights like the Opera House from the water
  • Watch for whales in the open water of the Pacific Ocean
  • Enjoy an onboard breakfast or BBQ lunch and listen to live commentary

Sydney Whale-Watching by Speed Boat

  • 2-hour whale-watching tour from Sydney by speedboat
  • Zip across the waters on Sydney’s fastest commercial boat
  • Enjoy a close encounter with migrating whales in their natural environment

Sydney Whale-Watching Cruise

  • Whale-Watching Cruise through Sydney Harbour and on the Pacific Ocean
  • Experience the great migration of humpback and southern right whales
  • The open-air viewing decks provide great whale-watching opportunities
  • Enjoy the picturesque sights of Sydney Harbour on your way to the open ocean.


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