Avid whale watchers have reported an excellent start to the season with the giants of the ocean putting on spectacular water shows in the Port Macquarie-Hastings region.
Large crowds took to a number of famous vantage points on Sunday, June 28 to participate in ORRCA's 2020 Whale Migration Census.
ORRCA vice president, Jools Farrell said Port Macquarie is one of the best places in the state to watch the annual migration, as the whales tend to come in close to the coastline.
While the results of the census won't be completely finalised for another three weeks, Ms Farrell said as of 5.30pm on Sunday, June 29 one ORRCA member spotted 433 whales from Tacking Point Lighthouse.
Given commercial whaling of the humpbacks was still occurring in the 1980s within Australia, Ms Farrell said it's reassuring to see so many whales out and about in the ocean.
She is confident their numbers are continuing to increase.
Port Macquarie photographer Jodie Lowe works onboard with Port Jet Cruise Adventures and said she's experienced many fantastic encounters with the whales so far.
She said each day the whales have displayed interesting behaviours, with some breaching and others being curious.
"We had some whales come up very close to the boat (Essence) and we were able to see them through the underwater viewing windows," she said.
In comparison to 2019, Jodie said the sightings have been excellent, with many pods swimming past the coastline on a daily basis.
There have also been sightings of competitive pods, where a group of male humpbacks will compete for a female.
"There is a lot of pushing and shoving involved in this and sometimes breaching to show domination," Jodie said.
"We've also sighted many dolphins and other species of whales such as Dwarf Minke whales."
Wagga Wagga resident Janice Peake went on a whale watching cruise on Tuesday, June 23 and said the whales were very active throughout their viewing.
Two whales breached in synchronization and one of the whales flapped its tail fin numerous times, which made for a spectacular show.