Top 10 Whale Watching Getaways for Spring
Imagine sitting back and enjoying this incredible sight from your own verandah at a Green Cape Lightstation Keeper's Cottage.
Whale watching in NSW can be made all the more memorable if you’re in the right place at the right time. So we know the right time – with the whale watching season running right up till the end of November - but how about the right place?
NSW national parks make up some of the best spots for whale watching and are home to a great selection of coastal accommodation options. From low-cost campgrounds, cosy cottages and cabins to luxury lighthouses, there are plenty of choices to help you have an amazing whale watching adventure.
Here’s our top 10 (including some with awesome deals):
Woody Head campground, Bundjalung National Park - Byron and Tweed
Woody Head campground is one of the best places for a weekend getaway camping by the beach. Bring your caravan, camper trailer or tent and don’t forget your binoculars to spot whales.
This is the ideal place for a family holiday, with a protected sandy beach that’s ideal for swimming and fishing, a boat ramp and the spectacular rock platform. There are heaps of other things to do as well and children and adults alike will love exploring the rainforest and shallow reefs around the campground. There’s also a boat ramp for those who’ve brought their boat along, great places for fishing and waterbabies will love being so close to the beach.
Trial Bay campground, Arakoon National Park - Port Macquarie
Trial Bay Gaol campground is right by the beach and perfect for a family camping holiday. Bring your caravan, motorhome or tent for a weekend of swimming, fishing and from May to November, whale watching fun.
Pack your snorkels, swimmers, fishing rod, walking shoes and surfboard, because you’ll have time to use all of these when you’re enjoying this delightful campground and picnic area. And if you’re too tired after a day exploring the park to cook up a barbecue feast, treat yourself to a meal at the Trial Bay Kiosk Restaurant. It's the ideal place for families to take a weekend break in the beautiful Arakoon National Park.
Thinking of going in winter? Make sure you take your binoculars - Arakoon is a great place to see whales making their annual migration north. And even better in spring as they make their way south hugging the coast and resting with their calves in Trial Bay, just off the campground.
Diamond Head campground – Crowdy Bay National Park, Port Macquarie
The beachside campground at Diamond Head is one of the most popular places to stay in Crowdy Bay National Park. It includes caravan sites, picnic amenities as well as awesome views to accompany your whale watching.
Once you’ve ogled the ocean and the blackened pillars of Split Rock from the beach, there is lots more to explore. Take your choice from several hiking tracks, including the 4.8km Diamond Head loop walk via Indian Head with its panoramic views of coast, mountains and forest, or the shorter Mermaid Lookout track. And don't forget to pick up your wildflowers identification brochure, bird and fauna lists from the onsite office before you head out.
Mungo Brush campground – Myall Lakes National Park, Port Stephens
Mungo Brush campground is a popular and well known campground near Hawks Nest on the north coast. It’s a great place to take your caravan, motorhome or tent and there are tonnes of campsites to choose from – so you’re bound to find one that suits you well.
A short walk from the campground leads to the beach, where you go swimming, fishing and sailboarding. If you’re clever enough to catch a fish, you can cook it up for dinner on one of the barbecues in the campground.
The Basin, Ku-ring-Gai Chase National Park - Sydney
The Basin campground in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park is one of Sydney's most popular beach camping spots.
It’s easy to see why this waterfront campground is so popular. At The Basin, you’ll find great facilities along with a picnic area, sheltered beach and an inland lagoon. The campground accommodates up to 400 campers.
Pitch your tent in a shady spot, enjoy a bike ride or a swim and see if you can spot the local swamp wallabies or kookaburras.
There’s no car access to The Basin, so park at West Head Road and then walk or cycle. You can also arrive by water taxi, boat or a ferry departing from Palm Beach Wharf.
Cottages and cabins
Depot Beach Cabins – Murramarang National Park, Batemans Bay
Offering unrivalled photo opportunities, Depot Beach is one of the rare spots in Australia where spotted gums grow right down to the ocean, offering plenty of shade in the warmer months and a stunning backdrop for whale watching.
Nestled beside the fully-equipped campground, go swimming and fishing at nearby Depot Beach picnic area. If you feel like a short stroll, explore the Rock Platform walk and Depot Beach Rainforest walk.
Wild About Whales Offer
Offer 1: Stay 3 nights for the price of 2 (Valid for bookings made and stayed and 1 May - 30 November 2017)
Pebbly Beach shacks, Murramarang National Park, Batemans Bay
Set between bush and beach, you’ll find Pebbly Beach shacks in the secluded coastal rainforest of Murramarang National Park, a short drive from Batemans Bay. This holiday accommodation is right near Pebbly Beach – famous for its ‘surfing kangaroos’.
Its secluded bush setting is surrounded by Australian wildlife, with direct access to the beach. Wake up to lyrebirds and rainbow lorikeets calling in the high gums before you head to the beach for a swim.
Feeling adventurous? Lace up and explore the park’s coastal walking tracks – or throw a line into the ocean and cook your catch on the outdoor barbecue.
In winter, you might be lucky to spot whales heading north, or dolphins frolicking in the ocean. Pebbly Beach is also a magnet for eastern grey kangaroos. They happily graze near the shacks and hang out on the beach alongside holidaymakers.
Wild About Whales special offer
Offer 1: Stay 3 nights for the price of 2 (Valid for bookings between 1 May – 30 November 2017)
Partridge Cottage and Geoff's Shed, Cape Byron State Conservation Area - Byron Bay
For a classic Aussie beach holiday in unique accommodation, head to Partridge Cottage at Byron Bay. It’s a great base for a whale watching getaway or longer holiday.
Step back in time for a retro beach holiday in this original north coast beach shack and adjoining studio. The cottage has been tastefully renovated to reflect Fifties fashion. With ECO certification, it’s fully equipped with all the modern creature comforts.
There’s direct access to Byron Bay’s main beach and your neighbours are the wildlife residents of Cape Byron State Conservation Area. Wake to water views and the sound of crashing surf, chill at the cottage, relax on the beach or enjoy Byron’s many activities. In the evening, it’s time to cook up a barbecue feast on the deck, with an ocean soundscape.
Wild About Whales special offer
Book 3 consecutive nights or more by 30 November to save 25% at Partridge Cottage and Geoffs Shed. Valid for stays 1 June to 30 November 2017. Conditions apply.
Assistant Lighthouse Keeper's Cottages – Cape Byron State Conservation Area, Byron Bay
Ever dreamed of living in a lighthouse? Now you can get a taste of it with a holiday at one of the state’s most popular whale watching hotspots – the award-winning Assistant Lighthouse Keeper's Cottages in Cape Byron State Conservation Area.
The Assistant Lighthouse Keeper's Cottages have been lovingly restored to retain their heritage charm, with the addition of modern conveniences to ensure you holiday in style. After a day of whale watching, swimming and walking, cook up a feast and toast the lighthouse keepers of days gone by.
Wild About Whales Offer
Book 3 consecutive nights or more by 30 November to save 25% at the Assistant Lighthouse Keeper's Cottages. Valid for stays 1 June to 30 November 2017. Conditions apply.
Green Cape Lightstation Keeper's Cottages – Ben Boyd National Park, Eden
Perched on the edge of a peninsula in Ben Boyd National Park, near Eden on the NSW Far South Coast, these three beautifully-restored Green Cape Lightstation Keepers’ Cottages feature cozy open fireplaces and charming nautical decor. Along with a fully-equipped kitchen, dining and lounge rooms each cottage offers a comfortable verandah - perfect for whale watching and enjoying the fresh sea air.
*Header image credit: Photo: Get-Shot by Scott Blanch.