3 Ways to Watch Whales in Busselton

Whale Watching by Sea and Land in Geographe Bay

Spring is a magical time along the South West coastline for many reasons. One of the best reasons is the chance to watch whales in the wild.

Between September and November, whales travel south along the coastline headed for prime feeding in the Antarctic. Some of them even take rests in Geographe Bay for extended periods.

Watching whales in their natural environment is a fantastic family-friendly outing and something everyone will remember for years to come.

Photos by Jennifer Morton and Machi Yoshida (Naturaliste Charters)

3 Types of whales to watch in Busselton

Humpback Whales

Every September, humpback whales and their calves leave the tropical waters of the north for the journey south. Once they get to Geographe Bay, it's time for some relaxation, which is why it's common to see mamma whales and babies in the calm waters of the bay. Humpbacks are massive and can be 16 metres long and weigh as much as 30 tons! That's a lot of whale.

These whales were once hunted to near extinction, but thankfully numbers are on the rise. Humpbacks are showboats and can often be seen breaching and swimming near the surface, which is why they are famous for whale watching tours.

Southern Right Whales

Like the humpbacks, southern right whales were almost hunted to the death. It's estimated that whalers have killed 150,000 right whales and that only about 7,600 remain in the oceans today. 

Southern right whales start to migrate to colder waters for feeding in October every year and then head up north for breeding and birthing. They tend to stick close to the coastline, which means there's a good chance of seeing these whales from the Busselton shoreline.

Blue Whales

Blue whales are said to be the biggest animals in the sea. Females can be 33 metres long and up to 180,000kg, and their babies can weigh about 2700kg. Known as 'gentle giants,' these long whales are easily recognised by their blotchy blue-grey backs.

Like the humpbacks and the southern right whales, blue whales migrate on an endless cycle between feeding and birthing. Blue whales may be the most elusive as they prefer deep waters. There are small numbers of them found in the Southern Hemisphere, but if you're lucky, you may see one swimming in the Indian Ocean. 

Humpback whale on a Naturaliste Charters whale watching cruise
Photo: Machi Yoshida, Naturaliste Charters Whale Watching

3 Ways to watch whales in Busselton

Watch whales on a cruise

Possibly the best and most popular way to see whales in the wild is on a whale-watching cruise. For whale watching in Busselton, Naturaliste Charters and All Sea Charters board passengers from the Busselton Jetty for half-day trips out to sea in search of whales. Departures from Dunsborough are also available. Both boats offer a whale watch guarantee, which means if you don't see a whale, your next trip is free!

Cape Naturaliste Whale Lookout in Spring

Watch whales from the coastline

Head to Point Piquet near Dunborough's Meelup National Park for your chance to watch whales migrating south during September, October or November. The residents here are so keen on watching whales that they rallied for in a purpose-built platform just for the occasion. The whale look-out, which was funded by a brilliant initiative called Whales for Trails, is one of the region's best places to spot whales from land.

Further along, at Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse, two more man-made timber platforms offer perfect seascapes and possible whale sightings. The first one is a short and easy walk beyond the lighthouse. The second is accessible via a 1.8km hiking trail through the bush to a lower-set and smaller platform at Whale Lookout.

See whales on the Busselton Jetty

If you've been unlucky and missed seeing a whale or two on a cruise, or from land, the next best way to see whales is at the end of the Busselton Jetty.

Of course, there are not real whales swimming around out there (though you never know, it could happen) but there are life-size paintings of the three types of whales found along our coast.

Ian Mutch, a highly acclaimed Australian artist, painted the 90-metre mural on the end of the famous jetty in early 2016, with the help of local volunteers. The whale paintings showcase the immense size of the sea-dwelling mammals and acts as a colourful and exciting piece of education.

To see the whale paintings, you need to visit the Busselton Jetty during opening hours. Patrons can walk or take the train to the end. Fares and entry fees apply.

Other fantastic springtime activities:

Book the best family accommodation in Busselton: we have a jumping pillow, playground, heated pool, water play zone plus pedal karts and bikes for hire. Fun guaranteed for the whole family!