Western Australia, with its pristine coastline stretching thousands of kilometres, is an excellent place to observe majestic whales. Depending on the time of year, you may encounter different species, including the Humpback, Southern Right, and Blue whales, as they migrate along the coast.
Today, we will explore the best time and locations to see whales in Western Australia and how you successfully combine your whale watching experience with local wine tours.
Where can you see whales in Western Australia?
Among the regions where these magnificent creatures can be observed, Margaret River ranks prominently. Specifically, the area from Dunsborough to Augusta is renowned for its high frequency of sightings.
A little further south, the coastline around Albany is another hotspot for whale enthusiasts. Here, you can not only hope to catch a glimpse of these majestic animals in their natural habitat but also visit the Historic Whaling Station at Discovery Bay.
Bremer Bay is another must-visit destination for whale watchers. This is one of the few places in the world where a unique gathering of Orcas (Killer Whales) can be observed.
Moving northward, Broome in the Kimberley region also offers good chances for whale watching. Sightings can be made from the shore, especially from Gantheaume Point, or via boat tours that operate in the area.
Finally, the area around Exmouth and Coral Bay, where the Ningaloo Reef is located, is another premier location for whale watching. Again, tours are available and often report sightings of these awe-inspiring marine mammals.
When can you see whales in Western Australia?
Whale watching in Western Australia is a seasonal event that largely depends on the annual migration patterns of the different species of whales. Below is a list of when you can see whales in each region.
Margaret River: from June to November.
Albany: from June to October.
Bremer Bay: from February to April.
Broome: from July to September.
Exmouth: from March to July.
What whales can you see in Western Australia?
Western Australia offers an opportunity to spot a diverse range of whale species due to its vast coastline. Here’s a rundown of the species you might see in various locations.
Margaret River: This region is a popular spot for Humpback and Southern Right whales. These whales often make a pit stop in the tranquil waters of Geographe Bay during their migration.
Albany: Albany’s coastline serves as a playground for Humpback and Southern Right whales. The sheltered bays and inlets provide an ideal habitat for these species.
Bremer Bay: This location is globally unique as it’s a known gathering spot for Orcas, also known as Killer Whales. Their predictable presence here is a rare phenomenon.
Broome: This part of the Kimberley region is well-known for sightings of the Humpback whale.
Exmouth: These locations near the Ningaloo Reef are where you can commonly see Humpback whales. Additionally, these regions are also famous for Whale Sharks, which, despite their name, are not whales but are the largest fish in the ocean.
Best spots for whale watching
The Margaret River region, particularly the areas around Dunsborough and Augusta, is often hailed as the premier destination for whale watching in Western Australia, and for several compelling reasons.
Firstly, Margaret River offers a unique advantage due to its strategic location along the whales’ migration route. The region’s geographical layout creates a natural ‘rest stop’ for the migrating whales, especially in the calm waters of Geographe Bay. This means that you have a higher chance of observing these majestic creatures here than in other regions.
Secondly, the coastal topography in the Margaret River region, with its array of elevated vantage points along the shore, provides excellent opportunities for land-based whale watching. Cape Naturaliste, near Dunsborough, and Cape Leeuwin, near Augusta, are among the best land-based whale-watching spots in Western Australia
Additionally, the whale watching tours from Augusta Boat Harbour are particularly well-regarded for their experienced crews and high sighting rates.
Finally, the Margaret River region isn’t just about whales; it’s a vibrant area full of wineries, breweries, artisan producers, and a strong surfing culture. The multitude of gastronomic delights and activities provide an excellent accompaniment to your whale watching adventure.
Combining whale watching with wine tasting
During the whale watching season, you can spend your morning embarking on a boat tour from Augusta Boat Harbour, delighting in the sight of majestic whales as they breach and play in the tranquil waters. Experienced guides provide insightful commentary about the whales and their migration patterns, enriching your understanding of these magnificent creatures.
After the excitement of whale watching, you can switch gears and explore the world-renowned wineries of Margaret River. The region is internationally acclaimed for its wine production, particularly its Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. A leisurely afternoon can be spent touring these wineries, where you have the chance to learn about the winemaking process, walk among the vineyards, and, of course, sample the exquisite wines.
The wine tours typically include visits to several wineries, allowing you to appreciate the diversity of wines produced in the region. Many of these wineries also offer gourmet dining options, where you can savour locally sourced cuisine paired perfectly with their wines. What better way to unwind after an exciting day at sea than with a glass of fine wine and a delicious meal in a scenic vineyard setting?
Best wineries to visit in Margaret River
The Margaret River region of Western Australia is internationally renowned for its outstanding wines and beautiful vineyards. Here’s a look at some of the best wineries you can visit in this area.
Vasse Felix: as the founding wine estate of Margaret River, Vasse Felix holds a special place in the region’s history. Known for their exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, a visit here offers you the chance to enjoy wine tasting in their elegant cellar door. The estate also includes a highly regarded restaurant where you can enjoy a meal paired with their fine wines, and an art gallery that features changing exhibitions throughout the year.
Cape Mentelle: one of the region’s pioneering wineries, Cape Mentelle is internationally acclaimed for its Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, and Zinfandel. A tour of the estate offers visitors the opportunity to explore the wine-making process from the vineyards to the wine production facilities. Their open-air cinema, running during the summer months, is an added bonus.
Xanadu Wines: Xanadu is known for consistently producing high-quality wines, including award-winning Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. The winery offers structured tastings in a modern and stylish cellar door. Their on-site restaurant is also a culinary destination, offering dishes made with seasonal local produce and designed to complement their wines.
Brown Hill Estate: this family-owned winery is renowned for its robust, full-bodied reds. The vineyard practises traditional winemaking techniques and does everything by hand, from picking to bottling. This attention to detail results in exceptional quality wines that truly express the terroir of the region.
McHenry Hohnen: this winery is a collaboration between two families and showcases their commitment to producing wines that reflect the unique qualities of the Margaret River region. Known for their emphasis on sustainable and biodynamic farming, their wines include single vineyard Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and a range of exciting blends.
Bettenays Margaret River: Bettenays offers a unique blend of wine and nougat tasting experiences. Alongside their premium wines, including their superb Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot and Semillon Sauvignon Blanc, they also produce a range of delectable nougat. A visit here offers a sweet and satisfying twist to the traditional wine tasting.
Discover whale watching and wine tasting with Harvest Tours
With over 10 years of experience organising wine tours in Margaret River, we know how to provide our guests with the best possible travel experience in the region. Aside from visiting all the wineries mentioned above, we also integrate local attractions like whale watching into our tours. This way our guests can enjoy everything the South West has to offer.