Whale Watching Season | Victor Harbor | May – October

Whale Watching Season Victor Harbor May - October

The Whale Watching Season around Victor Harbor, South Australia is typically from May to October, but sightings can begin as early as April.

Only an hour’s drive from Adelaide is the majestic southern Fleurieu Peninsula and each winter we are fortunate to see the annual return of Southern Right whales to our coastline.

It’s a wonderful experience to see the whales frolicking about only metres from the shore each winter and kids of all ages will get a thrill when they spot one out in the open water.  

The 2024 season has begun with a sighting on 28 April.  Encounter Bay in Victor Harbor usually see their first whales arrive around the middle of May, although the past few years whales have been spotted in late April.  Whale watchers record what they see and the SA Whale Centre keep a log entry of sightings – you can view it here.  

The best vantage points from land are up on the cliffs and headlands along the coast, but we have spotted them standing down on the beach before too.  Remember to take some binoculars on your trip for a closer look

Stay tuned to the SA Whale Centre official Facebook page or visit their website for updated sighting information.


 

Other areas along the coast for whale watching include Port Elliot and Middleton Point.

The SA Whale Centre is a fabulous resource to learn about the whales that visit our region.

In some years, the whales have attracted up to 400,000 people to the area over the winter months.  The annual migration to South Australia is a key part of the whales’ breeding cycle. They come to either find a mate, or to give birth and raise their calves in the protected bays and coves. Encounter Bay has long been recognised as a breeding and nursery area for Southern Right whales, and plays a role in the recovery of this endangered species.

Southern Right Whale photo by Margan Toenee at Bashams Beach 06.08.2013

Some useful questions and answers from the SA Whale Centre’s FAQ page:

When is the whale watching season in South Australia?

May to October. The first whales are usually seen in mid – late May and can be found until early October. The most reliable time to see a whale is during July and August.

What kind of whales can you expect to see in Encounter Bay?

Southern Right whales visit Encounter Bay each winter to breed and calve. They are good whales to watch because they come close to shore and can be quite active. If you are lucky, you could see a Humpback whale – small numbers pass by the coast each season. Large numbers of Common and Bottlenose Dolphins live in local waters year round.

SA Whale Centre

If you’re planning a trip to Victor Harbor the SA Whale Centre’s Information Booth has helpful staff to answer any questions you might have. 

SA Whale Centre Location:

2 Railway Terrace, Victor Harbor, South Australia 
Ph: (08) 8551 0750
Open Daily 10am – 4pm (excluding Christmas Day)

Admission to the SA Whale Centre covers 2 floors of fun, interactive exhibits.  Listen to local dreamtime story “Kondoli, The Whale Man,” find out which whales visit where in Australia and see how you measure up to a Southern Right Whale on their main floors full length mural.

Then descend into the cellar of secrets, where adventure awaits. Pilot Sea Shepherds Steve Irwin through dangerous waters and learn about conservation around the world. Catch a short film, dig for fossils at their archaeological dig site and come face to face with a great white shark.

Admission Fees (as at May 2024)

  • Child $4
  • Adult $5
  • Concession $4
  • Family (2 Adults + 2 Children) $15

Conditions of Entry

  • Admission valid for the day of issue only
  • Children under 4 years enter free
  • Supervision essential for children under 16 years

VISIT THE SA WHALE CENTRE WEBSITE

 

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For more information and all enquiries please visit the Visit Victor Harbor website or follow the SA Whale Centre Facebook page.

What:  Whale Watching Season

When:  May to October each year

Where:  Encounter Bay, Victor Harbor & surrounding areas

Who:  All Ages

At Play & Go Adelaide we make every effort to provide accurate information to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication. We recommend confirming times, dates and details directly before making any plans as details may be subject to change.

Image Source: Margan Toenee & Play & Go

 

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