Migrating whales are here with the 2017 whale watching season kicking off in earnest.
Experts from the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) are encouraging Port Macquarie area residents to head to their nearest coastal national park to seek out a vantage point to see the whales on their annual migration north.
Senior Wildlife Officer at OEH Susan Crocetti said that from now and all throughout June and July, keen whale watchers are likely to see larger groups of humpback whales as they move along the NSW coastline towards warmer waters for breeding.
“We expect more than 30,000 humpback whales will make the migration this year, and they’re already underway heading north,” said Ms Crocetti.
“We will see them heading southwards, many with their newborn calves, during spring from September through to November, travelling at a much more leisurely pace than on their northward journey.
“NSW has over 860 national parks and reserves, and many of these are situated on the coast and provide excellent viewing opportunities to catch a glimpse of these gentle giants.
“If the spectacular sight of whales breaching, blowing and tail-slapping is on your bucket list, now is your chance to tick it off.
“Humpback whales are an incredible success story, having recovered as a species from the brink of extinction less than six decades ago, to the point where they can now be readily sighted in NSW waters between mid-June and December.
“While there’s a high chance you can see the whales from any location that offers ocean views, some of our top vantage points in the wider Port Macquarie region include the Port Macquarie coast walk in Tacking Point, the Cape Hawke lookout in Booti Booti National Park, the Headland Walk in Saltwater National Park, Front Beach in Arakoon National Park, Smoky Cape Lighthouse in Hat Head National Park and Charles Hamey lookout in Kattang Nature Reserve.
“Headlands in particular make a great vantage point to spot the whales without disturbing them,” she said.
Meanwhile, the annual ORCCA Whale Census will be held on June 25.
To find out more about the best whale watching vantage spots along the NSW coast, to learn about whale behaviours and different species of whales, and to download the free Wild About Whales mobile app (to log and view the most up-to-date whale sightings near you), go to wildaboutwhales.com.au.
Share your whale photos with us at #MNCwhales.
Stranded, entangled, or sick whales should be reported immediately to the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service Environment Line on 131 555 or ORRCA Whale and Dolphin Rescue on (02) 9415 3333 (24 hours hotline).