Whale Watching in Sydney

How To Choose The Best Sydney Whale Watching Cruise [updated 2024]

Australia is one of the best places in the world to see whales. The season runs from May through to November when the whales migrate from the cold waters of Antarctica to the warmer waters off the coast of Queensland.

But, how do you choose the best Sydney Whale-Watching Cruise? What do you need to consider when making that final choice? What options do you have?

Whale Watching in Sydney
Whale Watching in Sydney

What to consider when choosing the best Sydney whale-watching cruise?

  • What type of boat will be used for the whale-watching cruise
  • How experienced are the crew
  • How long has the company been operating
  • What is the cost of the whale-watching cruise
  • How long does the cruise last
  • Where do you depart from
  • How far does the whale-watching cruise go
  • Reviews

What do you wear on a whale-watching cruise?

  • Warm clothes are recommended
  • Wind and waterproof jacket
  • Hat or scarf
  • Non-slip flat shoes
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • As the cruises are open water cruising if you are prone to sea sickness it is recommended to take travel sickness tablets before the cruise

Tips on booking the whale-watching cruise:

  • Want the best seat on the cruise? Turn up early.
  • Book in advance if you are considering a whale-watching cruise in Sydney at the end of June and the beginning of July as this is peak season and their return in September/October
  • Bring your camera and ensure that you have enough battery to last the duration
  • Be patient

What can you see on a Sydney Whale-Watching Cruise?

Did you know that over 20,000 humpback whales make the 3,500 km journey each year? You may also see dolphins, seals and birds during the cruise.

Sydney Whale-Watching Cruise Options

Sydney Whale Watching Cruise
Sydney Whale Watching Cruise

Sydney Whale Watching Cruise 3 Hours Catamaran

Operator: Fantasea Cruising Sydney, 25 years of experience

Vessel: Purpose-built whale-watching Catamaran – Fantasea Avalon. Fastest fleet on the Harbour taking 15 minutes to get from Circular Quay to the open ocean. Two wrap-around decks for easy viewing.

Commentary by a marine biologist or experienced crew member.

If you don’t get that perfect shot there is a professional photographer on board that will have photos available for sale

Complimentary tea and coffee.

Book here:

Good to know: If no whales are successfully watched on your cruise, you receive a free return cruise

Review: It was one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had. I highly recommend this company and their catamaran. The crew kept things interesting by explaining different aspects of whales and whale watching. They are accommodating through beverage services and providing vomit bags for the many (~50%) customers getting sick during the 3-hour tour.

Fantasea Sydney Cruising – 2-Hour Express Whale-Watching Cruise

  • 2hr Express whale watching cruise from Circular Quay, Wharf 6.
  • Only 20-minute travel time to the open ocean.
  • onboard modern catamaran Fantasea Crystal.
  • Open top deck for best viewing.

Book here:

Whale Watching Cruise Sydney with Captain Cook Cruises

Whale Watching in Sydney Cruise
Whale Watching in Sydney Cruise

Operator: Captain Cook Cruises in business since 1970

Vessel: Catamarans with indoor and outdoor seating over many levels

A Marine naturalist will accompany you on your cruise.

If no sightings a 2nd cruise will be offered for free.

Departure from Circular Quay.

Book here

Review: Amazing! Staff on board the cruise were really great and gave amazing commentary. Saw a group of 3 humpbacks right up close including a mother / calf. Would highly recommend.

Sydney Whale Watching Cruise with Breakfast or Lunch Options- Sydney Princess Cruises

Whale Watching in Sydney
Whale Watching in Sydney

Operator: Sydney Princess Cruises and Oz Whale Watching has been offering cruises on Sydney Harbour for over 12 years.

Vessel: “Jerry Bailey” with only 95 passengers for whale watching cruises. Outdoor viewing areas and indoor lounge areas available.

Breakfast cruise option: Breakfast cruise includes Hot breakfast served on board. Vegetarian and specific dietary requirements can be catered for with sufficient notice.

Lunch cruise option: Lunch cruise includes BBQ assisted service buffet lunch on board. Vegetarian and specific dietary requirements can be catered for with sufficient notice.

Duration: 4 hours

Departure: Circular Quay

Book here:

Review: Commentary can’t be heard if you sit on the outside of the upper deck. Lunch is served at the start if the trip. It would have been good to have been advised of this when booking. Otherwise, it was an excellent trip. Whales and dolphins galore. Wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the experience.

Final Words: We hope you have enjoyed our round-up of the best whale-watching cruises in Sydney. A Sydney whale-watching cruise is a fun thing to do in Sydney. We also have a 4-day Sydney itinerary to help plan your visit to Sydney if you are not a local.


Whale Watching Sydney Cruise
Whale Watching in Sydney