The Sutherland Shire is bordered by the coast and has many great vantage points from which to view the ocean’s most majestic creatures. From May to November, this coastline, full of towering ridges and coastal bluffs becomes the Pacific Highway for whales as more than 20,000 of these marine mammals make their annual migration north to breed. Here are the top 5 places to spot whales in the Shire.
1. The Coast Track at Royal National Park
Go whale watching from one of the lookouts along The Coast Track, which runs from Bundeena to Otford, or tackle the 26km walk in sections. A great way to complete The Coast track walk is to make it a two-day trek with an overnight stop at North Era Campground.
2. Garie Beach
If you are looking for a more luxe weekend away, you can book a stay at the Hill Top Cottage in the Royal National Park, which is also right in position when it comes to spotting wildlife. Wake at dawn, when the light is buttery and soft, and make the drive to Garie Beach, which is a top whale watching spot.
3. Governor Game Lookout
Another inspired pit-stop is at the Governor Game Lookout, which offers soaring views over the heathlands and coastline. Pack a picnic and stay and play all day. BYO binoculars.
4. Cape Solander
Cape Solander, in the Kurnell section of Kamay Botany Bay National Park is one of the best whale-watching spots in the country. June and July is the best times to see humpback and southern right whales, which have been known to swim as close as 200m to the coast. The Cape features a lookout with a viewing platform and information board about the whales seen off Sydney. NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service do an annual whale count in July where you can volunteer to stare out to sea and track the mammoth mammals.
5. Cronulla Esplanade
Ask any local and they’ll tell you: the Cronulla Esplanade, which winds its way from Wanda to Bass and Flinders Point, is a hot spot for spotting whale spouts. Plonk yourself on one of the benches along the path near to Shelly Beach or Oak Park Pavilion, which make ideal whale-watching rest stops. If you’ve scanned the horizon to no avail head to Grind Espresso to play spot the MAMIL (middle-aged men in lycra) instead.
Share your whale sightings and experiences on Twitter and Facebook: Sydney @sydney, #ilovesydney; NSW #NewSouthWales and tag @wildaboutwhales and @visittheshire community using #whaleon. Visit www.wildaboutwhales.com.au and download the free Wild About Whales app.
Always check current National Park conditions before you visit.
Carla Grossetti is a Sydney-based food and travel writer. Visit www.carlagrossetti.com to see more of Carla’s articles.