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Newcastle's best whale watching experience aboard a custom-built adventure boat.

Whale Watching in Newcastle NSW

Encounter Tour

The Encounter Tour is a premier whale watching experience aboard our custom-built adventure boat. The tour focuses closely on the annual Humpback Whale (Megaptera Novaeangliae) migration along the east coast. In addition to watching the whales up close, the experience travels along the stunning Newcastle coastline with the added chance of encountering dolphins and long-nosed fur seals.

June – November
2 hours

Highlights include:

  • Unobstructed 360° views
  • Premier Newcastle whale watching cruise
  • Local knowledge of the coastline
  • Safe and comfortable eco-tourism vessel
  • Premium weatherproof jackets provided
  • Accredited quality and sustainable tourism business


  • Adult – $125

  • Child – $99 (3 – 12 yrs)

Learn about Humpback Whales

Humpback whale numbers have been increasing at a rate of over 10% each year, with more than 35,000 individuals passing our coast each and every year. Adult humpback whales can grow between 14 – 18 metres long and can weigh up to 50 tonnes, while humpback calves are born at approximately 2 tonnes – now that’s a big baby!

The reason we love humpback whales so much is that they are one of the most inquisitive and interactive species out of all marine mammals. In particular, watching whales in Newcastle is spectacular as we get to witness part of their exceptionally long journey from the Antarctic to the warm safe waters south of the equator in order to have their calves.

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Departure Location

Whale Watching Newcastle - Frequently Asked Questions

What is the season for whale watching in Newcastle?

The whale watching season in Newcastle runs from June to November each year. Whereby humpback whales make the mammoth 5000km journey from Antartica, past the Newcastle coastline towards Tropical North Queensland to have their calves.

When is the best time of year to see whales in Newcastle?

On their annual migration the whales are typically travelling north around June and July. In August, the whales tend to be crossing over, with some of the ‘early’ whales on their return journey, and some of the ‘late’ whales still heading north. Then come September and October, all of the whales are on their way south.

This tour has even been rated as one of the nine must-do highlights of Newcastle!

When is the best time of day to see whales?

There’s no ‘best time’ of day for whale watching in Newcastle. Fortunately for us, whales migrate all day and all night, so we’re lucky to be able to observe whales at all hours of the day. Each whale has its own personality, and some are very energetic, while others are more relaxed (and sometimes they can surprise you).

Do you guarantee that we will see whales?

We have an extremely high success rate of seeing humpback whales during peak season. While we don’t specifically guarantee you will see whales (as they are wild marine mammals), if whales are not spotted on a designated whale watch tour, we offer a free return trip (t’s and c’s apply).

How close can you get to whales?

Many of our whale watching tours have enjoyed close encounters with humpback whales. We follow both state and national whale watching regulations meaning we are not able to approach a whale closer than 100 metres, or 300 metres if there is a calf present. Many of our tours have enjoyed humpback whales very close to the boat, when they choose to swim to us!

Our whale watching practices have been designed in line with the Australian National Guidelines for Whale and Dolphin Watching 2017 and the Biodiversity Conservation Regulation 2017.

Can I join the waitlist if a tour is booked out?

When a tour books out we have a waitlist feature. It’s free to join, and should your preferred tour be fully booked, we recommend joining our waitlist, if spaces become available we will contact you to see if you’re still available to join us. In the meantime, we also recommend making a confirmed booking for a different day/time as that means you’ve definitely got a place on board. Should your waitlist booking become available, we can always bring forward your confirmed booking in its place.

Marine Mammal Research and Rescue

CoastXP is an active supporter of ORRCA the Organisation for the Rescue and Research of Cetaceans in Australia, we are regularly involved in local marine mammal rescues as well as the annual whale census. To report injured or distressed marine mammals call ORRCA’s  24-hour Rescue Hotline on (02) 9415 3333.

Can I purchase the Whale Encounter Tour as a gift card?

You sure can! To purchase our Whale Encounter Tour as a gift card – click here.