Best whale watching spots in Lake Macquarie

Lake Macquarie is an excellent spot to see whales on their migratory journey along Australia’s east coast between May and November. It’s common to see humpback and southern right whales during this time, as the gentle giants head north to warmer waters to mate and calve, before returning to the cool waters of Antarctica.

Here are six places to see whales from Lake Macquarie.

On the water with CoastXP and Renegade Charters

Want to see whales up close? Then there’s no better way than to get out on the water.

CoastXP offers a whale discovery tour providing a unique opportunity to observe whales migrating along the stunning Lake Macquarie coastline. Whale watching from Lake Macquarie departs from Swansea and cruises through the pristine waters of Swansea Channel, before exploring the Lake Mac coastline in search of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae). Keep an eye out for long-nosed fur seals and common dolphins, too! 

Renegade Charters offers a 2-hour whale watching tour from Swansea Channel, past Moon Island, and into the Pacific Ocean. If an extended tour is what you’re looking for, they also offer an extended cruise, heading slightly south to Catherine Hill Bay where you’ll find beautiful beaches and the historic Catherine Hill Bay Jetty.


Redhead Bluff, Redhead

Redhead Bluff offers incredible views every day of the year, but during whale season, the views go up a notch. Look across Nine Mile Beach towards Swansea and Blacksmiths Beach and see how many flicking tails and spurting blowholes you can spot. The rocky headland is set up with toilets and picnic tables so you can stay for lunch, and the Webb Park playground is nearby.


Spoon Rocks Lookout, Coastal Walking Track, Caves Beach

You can often spot whales from Caves Beach itself, but why not get a workout and do the 5-kilometre return Coastal Walking Track while you keep your eyes peeled for passing whales. As you walk between Caves Beach and the headland south of Pinny Beach, Spoon Rocks Lookout in particular makes a great vantage point, and Quarries Head offers some lovely sea views too. If you want an add-on, stroll out to the Spoon Rocks Spit at the Caves Beach end. The spit is a wide breakwater that extends 500 metres into the ocean, so, naturally, this is a great place to view whales.


Ken and Audrey Owens Walk

The easy 2.5-kilometre Ken and Audrey Owens Walk is a good option if you want to keep things leisurely or have a pram or wheelchair. Timber and concrete footpaths loop from the Webb Park picnic area, which has rest facilities and electric barbecues.

Pass wetlands, sand dunes and coastal vegetation as you walk alongside Redhead Beach, where whales are known to play. If you want to shorten this walk, you can join the path at Cain Street.


Green Island passage, Swansea Heads

If you head down Green Island Road, opposite Reid’s Reserve playground, you can find an excellent vantage point to watch whales as they pass through the channel between the mainland and Green Island. The best thing? Not many people know about this spot, so there’s a fair chance you’ll be able to park on the headland and gaze east towards the island with nothing but the ocean and frolicking whales for company.

Green Island Web

Awabakal Nature Reserve

The walk from Dudley to Redhead in the Awabakal Nature Reserve is stunning, taking you through coastal heath and thick woodlands. You can start this walk at either Dudley or Redhead, and it will take around 1.5 hours return.

If you don’t want to do the whole walk, you can catch ocean views from the Awabakal Viewpoint on the headland at the Dudley end of the track. On a clear day you can see all the way to Newcastle, so this means your chances of spotting a whale in the big blue are high.

Note, this track can be a bit rough, so isn’t suitable for prams or wheelchairs.


For more ideas on what to do with your family in Lake Macquarie view our Visitor Guide and Map for free online here.

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