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Your guide to whale watching with kids

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10/06/2019
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Whale watching with kids
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If you’re wondering what to do with the kids over the school holidays, why not spend a day whale watching in a national park? It’s a great time of year to get out of the house and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine, while you wait for the whales to make a splash.

Of course, it wouldn’t be school holidays without plenty of questions from the kids! We’ve answered a few of their burning questions, so you can enjoy a relaxing day out.

Are we there yet?

You don’t have to travel far to enjoy one of the greatest migrations on earth. There are plenty of coastal viewing spots in NSW national parks that are accessible by pram, with car parking and toilet facilities too. Enjoy a picnic by the beach, go for a short walk or cook up a barbecue lunch with friends. Don’t forget to bring sunscreen, hats, water, food, warm clothes, a picnic blanket, camera, and (of course) binoculars to spot whales.

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Where are the whales?

At the moment, the whales are making their way up from the icy cold waters of Antarctica to Northern Australia and the South Pacific where it’s nice and warm. On the way, they stay close to the shore to keep their calves (baby whales) safe. Once they reach warmer waters, they breed and give birth, then begin the long journey home in spring. Each year, more than 30,000 whales migrate north, so keep your eyes peeled!

Whale migration infographic

What will we see?

The most common whale species seen along the NSW coastline are humpback whales and southern right whales. You’ll see them slapping their tail flukes and fins, breaching (where they leap out of the water and splash back down), blowing water, or spyhopping (poking their head out of the water). If you’re lucky, you might also see other marine species like seals, penguins, sharks, turtles, dolphins, sea and shore birds.

Jodie Lowe

What else can we do?

If you’re up for an adventure, you can take the kids out on a whale watching tour with one of our partners. You’ll get close to the action and see the whales splashing and breaching, with expert commentary along the way. The kids will learn more about these magnificent creatures and understand the importance of protecting our marine environment for future generations.

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I’ve seen a whale! Now what?

Don’t forget to log your sighting on the Wild About Whales app! This helps us track the migration and gives other people a chance to see these gentle giants for themselves. The kids will get a thrill from seeing their sighting pop up on the app and you’ll feel good knowing you’re contributing to a community of avid whale watchers across NSW.

Blog: App image

If you’re whale watching on June 30, you can also participate in ORRCA’s annual 2019 whale census. All you need to do is download the marine mammal sighting log, fill it in and email it back to ORRCA. It’s a great way for the kids to help with ORCA’s conservation efforts.

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