The spectacular beaches at Cape Álava feature petroglyph and abundant marine mammals sightings. Step onto the 1,420-foot stretch of sandy beach and cast your gaze across the Puget Sound looking for whales while taking in the view of the Cascades, Mt.
Make sure to check out Old Man House which is located nearby on the site of the home of Chief Seattle. The Faro Marine Life Center is an educational and scientific organization located on the City Pier in Port Angeles.
From the shores of Fort Casey, scan the scenic view for whales across the Admiralty Inlet and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The tranquil bay features a boat ramp, and is a popular place to fish, kayak, and canoe.
Freshwater Bay was given its name by Captain George Vancouver, during his exploration of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound. La Push is the home of the Quilpué Nation, located at the mouth of the Guillaume River on the Olympic Coast of Washington State.
Diverse and abundant marine mammal species are found here, including a thriving population of sea otters. Overlooking Saratoga Passage, the picturesque town offers close-up views of a wide variety of marine mammals.
Langley Whale Center is run by Volunteer Docents and open Thursdays through Sundays, 11 am till 5 pm. Free Admission to our Educational Exhibits, which include a Harbor Porpoise skeleton and other bone and pelt specimens.
Lime Kiln State Park is one of the best places in the world to watch whales from shore, and is the inspiration for The Whitetail. The 3.6-acre day use park is on the west coast of San Juan Island, abutting Hard Strait.
The Mast Center is dedicated to expanding knowledge about the Puget Sound and the surrounding environment through teaching, outreach, and research. The 2,500 square-foot facility offers public space, classroom, laboratories, offices, research areas with state-of-the-art equipment and an aquarium.
Exhibits include Asian Forest Sanctuary, Rocky Shores, Arctic Tundra, and Pacific Ocean just to name a few. Marine mammals on display include harbor seals, pacific walruses, and sea otters.
The long low sandpit faces Admiralty Inlet to the north and Puget Sound to the east and south. Strong currents flow around the point, which attract bait fish that in turn draw salmon and marine mammals close to shore.
Point Robinson is between Seattle and Tacoma located on the northeast corner of Mary Island in Puget Sound. Founded by two teachers in 1982, the Port Townsend Marine Science Center (PT MSC) is an educational facility located in Fort Warden State Park.
This serene L-shaped beach is approximately 1,300 feet long and a great place to watch for resident orcas in the winter months. The park contains 40 acres of land with trails and picnic shelters perfect for spending a day at the beach.
For decades, Salt Creek Recreation Area has been a highly regarded site for wildlife viewing. This beautiful park, located on the west side of San Juan Island, includes rocky bluffs and gravel beaches that overlook Hard Strait with views to the Straits of San Juan de Fuca and Vancouver Island.
Visit the six major exhibits: Window on Washington Waters, Life on the Edge, Pacific Coral Reef, Puget Sound Fish and Dome Room, Puget Sound Orcas Family Activity Center, and Marine Mammals. The Strait of Juan de Fuca is an important shipping lane, and a critical passageway for marine mammals, connecting the Pacific Ocean to the inland waters of the Salish Sea.
This destination beach is known for its wild, rugged atmosphere, the beauty of its offshore rock formations, tide pools, grottoes and abundance of marine and bird life. Shipwreck Point is a 3-mile stretch of beach along the Strait of Juan de Fuca, east of Near Bay.
The retreat of the glaciers created deep fjords which provide abundant food and habitat for many species of marine… Bring your binoculars and relax on the comfortable park benches at Stamp Overlook for a breathtaking view of the Puget Sound.
The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, on the University of Washington campus, offers its members and visitors opportunities to learn about whales through exhibits, programs, and educational materials for classroom use. The Whale Museum is located on San Juan Island in the quaint town of Friday Harbor.
Located in the historic Odd Fellows Hall, the museum houses exhibits, artwork, models, and artifacts, and is a premiere destination for visitors and locals alike to learn about whales. The 220-acre city park features camping, a boat launch, day use picnic sites and a group tenting area.
A scenic paved 2.2-mile loop road winds through the park’s forested hills and meadows with views of the San Juan Islands and Olympic Mountains. From West Beach looking to north, you look straight at Lighthouse Point, Rosario Head, and Deception Island.
The Whale Trail Viewing Guide With over 100 sites and signs hugging the Pacific Coast from British Columbia all the way down to Southern California, the Whitetail is your best guide and resource for watching sea mammals from shore.
This self-guided audio tour stretches between San Francisco and Los Angeles, one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world! It also includes a popular scenic detour along Monterey’s 17-Mile Drive at Pebble Beach.
This self-guided audio tour allows you to explore Highway 1 with maximum flexibility and value.
Here's how it works: Within 30 mins, we'll send you two things: a unique password and an app. Initial viewing sites near San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Monterey will be established and outfitted with interpretative signs describing the types of whales and other wildlife that can be seen at each location as well as information about the area’s distinguishing characteristics.
The first California stops along the Whitetail are in publicly-accessible locations adjacent to Gulf of the Carillons and Monterey Bay national marine sanctuaries which are internationally recognized for wildlife watching, especially whales. Additionally, the Crispy Field visitor center for Gulf of the Carillons National Marine Sanctuary, Aquarium of the Bay in San Francisco, Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary's (MINES) Exploration Center in Santa Cruz, and MINES Coastal Discover Center in San Simeon will also be added to the Whitetail website as venues where the public can learn about whales and other marine mammals.
Established in 2008 along Washington’s coastline, Whitetail is a non-profit organization that works with NOAA and other organizations to raise awareness of marine waters, connect visitors to marine life, inspire stewardship, build community and promote land-based whale watching. Please be advised, Gray Whale Cove SB is one of the few California State Parks that does not accept the Annual Day Use Pass.
The beach (also known as Devil's Slide) features a sheltered cove surrounded by cliffs that drop abruptly into the Pacific Ocean. Please refrain from removing shells, driftwood, and other natural beach features.
To protect wildlife and cultural resources, and for the safety and welfare of visitors and staff, the park is closed to the use of Model Aircraft, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), and Gliders in flight. RESTROOMS: Chemical toilets are located in the upper parking lot at the Gray Whale Cove parking lot on the east side of Highway one.
Grey skies and rainy days can really blow, but that’s a good thing when you’re travelling alongside pods of playful whales, spectacular coastlines, remarkable limestone structures and spirited landscapes, all while the crowds of summer fade. The vibrant symphony of the rainforest adds to the powerful drama of the ocean-meets-cliff theatrics, while whales arrive to bask in the warmer waters of the Southern Ocean.
From May to September, our winter is a whale’s summer, and the giants of the deep journey from the Antarctic for their annual baby moon, breeding, birthing and raising their calves in our backyard. Replace the crowds of summer and sticky afternoons for winter’s raging swells and toasty fires on the Great Ocean Road.
From Tor quay, the gateway to the Great Ocean Road and Victoria’s surfing capital, head south-west along the winding highway toward Cape Away. Pass through the quaint coastal towns of Angle sea, Borne and Apollo Bay, mirroring the Southern Ocean and its attack against the cliffs.
Follow the serpentine roads through the vibrant Away National Park where winter showers bring the rainforests to life, before soaking in the rugged limestone overhangs of the Shipwreck Coast. You might get lucky and spy an early breach so keep an eye out for our giant flippered friends navigating around the 638-plus stranded ships that now sit atop the ocean floor as you uncover the secrets of the coast.
Pass the limestone structures of the 12 Apostles and London Bridge to some lesser selfie-ed spots, like the spectacular cliffs of Lock ARD Gorge and the shipwrecked tales of Wreck Beach. Sure, it’s no summer holiday, but the gray skies of winter and the dramatic coastline uncovers a side to the Great Ocean Road that’ll blow your getaway right out of the blowhole.
Sweeping green pastures contrast the Southern Ocean’s deep blues and orange hues of rocky outcrops, history lives on in ancient lands and famous shipwrecks, culture abounds and wildlife add animation to the already energetic landscape. Learn about the dairy industry of 1888 to 1990s at the site’s heritage museum, before digging into a plowman's lunch from the café and topping up with some free cheese tastings, and the world’s best milkshakes (in our opinion).
Here, in this protected bay, endangered Southern Right Whales and their calves soak up some vitamin D while splashing about in the shallows, just 100 meters from the shore. Whales might be the VIPs of a Warrnambool winter, but that doesn’t take away from the marine life found darting around the Breakwater.
Seals and stingrays can be seen feeding on fish in the water, and if you look to Middle Island, a colony of Fairy Penguins waddle around their minders, the famed Mamma dogs, which live at Flagstaff Hill during winter. Just five kilometers up the road from Logan’s Beach is the Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum and Village, a state heritage listed site of cobblestoned streets and 19th century buildings where you can learn about life in the 1800s.
Turn left at the roundabout when leaving Flagstaff Hill and head toward Lake Probe Adventure Playground. Channel your inner child on the 20-hectares and its many activities for kids and adults alike, including playground, boat rides and scenic walks around the lake.
Logan's Beach Whale Nursery Horses swimming in Lady Bay Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum & Village Lake Prove Adventure Playground Lookouts and Secret Beaches Street Art Tour Brunches, Lunches, Wining, Dining Warrnambool Art Gallery Lighthouses Theater Wet Weather Activities with kids Deep Blue Hot Springs Hopkins Falls Almost every year between June and September, female Southern Right whales return to the waters of Warrnambool’s Logan's Beach to calve.
Warrnambool is also home to many race horses, who like to dip their hoofs in the cool ocean waters of Lady Bay from 8am. Watch the equines and their trainers gait through the sand and take a dip, while you sit in the protected shelter of Pavilion Café or Simon’s Waterfront, cradling a hot coffee and hearty breakfast.
When you’ve finished watching their workout, it’s time to get your camera ready, pull on the walking shoes to get your heart rate up (slightly) and suck in some of that fresh ocean air on the on any one of Warrnambool’s walking trails which travel between natural landscapes, lookouts, heritage sites and, secret beaches. Now that you’re fully aware that winter is coming (or it’s already here), a plunge into Deep Blue Hotel and Hot Springs geothermal pools will sort out those frosty limbs.
If we haven’t convinced you travelling in winter sidelines summer, then these 90-metre wide curtain waterfalls in Rangoon will do the trick. After visiting the falls, you’ve earned a stop at the Rangoon General Store, enjoy a warm drink and old-fashioned service.
Recently undergoing a renewal project, the village-feel city boasts as many entrepreneurial restaurants, cafés and bistros as an inner Melbourne suburb. We’d call it hipster, but we’ve jumped beyond that and entered ‘Gucci’ (young urban creative) territory.
Combining exquisite food, with world-class views of the Southern Ocean and friendly service, Hippies by the Bay is the complete dining experience. The drive from Warrnambool may only be 28 kilometers along the Great Ocean Road, but don’t let that short distance fool you.
This is the wild south-west, and the road here will wind you alongside the unspoiled and untamed shoreline of the Belfast Coast, past the dazzling greens of the rolling hills and nature reserves and in view of the shadowy basaltic rocky outcrops and cliffs. This ancient, inactive volcano’s eruptive past has left behind a spectacular landscape of tapered hills, glistening lakes and endemic bushland.
The reserve is brimming with Indigenous storylines, bush walks, picnic areas and more wildlife than photo space left on your hard drive. Emus, koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, echidna, black swans, wedge-tail eagles, magpie geese and reptiles loiter between the gum trees and she oak, ready to bomb your next snap.
Worn Undid Visitor Center is the heart of Tower Hill, offering interactive walks, Aboriginal guided tours, arts and crafts. The recently refurbished cellar door and restaurant sits with the animated sea and rolling paddocks your backdrop.
Hillary Beach sits just a couple of minutes off the Princes Highway (A1) and is one hidden gem that serves up so much more than salty ocean and sandy shores. Fish for whiting, paddle into the surf or bush camp in this natural lagoon, that has water so calm, even on the coldest of days you’ll want to dive in to check out its premier snorkeling.
Immerse yourself at Harmony at Tower Hill in an environment perfect for personal rejuvenation or romance with a well-earned break with someone special. Port Fairy has a fascinating history, a thriving art scene and charming landscape, and the streets of town offer some of the best views.
While the Art Trail will uncover artisans and galleries, adding a colorful dimension to the already vibrant village. Battery Hill sits just across from the bridge in the harbor, and meshes history with pretty speech views.
It makes sense given this spot was picked in 1887 to protect the town from foreign warships, and cannons and fortifications are still on display. To keep the history alive, book an appointment (via the Port Fairy Visitor Information Center) to check out the Historic Lifeboat, which was built in 1857 is the oldest surviving self-righting, self-draining lifeboat in the world.
Still, whether we’re dripping in sweat from the sweltering summers, or chattering out teeth and tickled blue from winter’s wrath, we can’t resist a visit to the beach, and in Port Fairy, East Beach’s 5.8 km shoreline, which runs from Reef Point to the harbor entrance wall, is the place to be. Sip on cocktails, or a winter red, and enjoy some delicious food from the menu that features local, fresh and seasonal produce with a contemporary Australian twist.
Tower Hill Hillary Beach Basalt Cellar Door Historic Town Walk Shipwreck and Maritime Heritage Walk Battery Hill Griffiths Island Port Fairy Lighthouse Arts Trail East Beach Port Fairy Winter Weekends It’s time to continue west along the Princes Highway (A1) toward Portland and the end of the Great Ocean Road.
Insane natural beauty, walking trails that reveal its treasures, a rich and fascinating cultural heritage that dates back to Victoria’s beginnings, and of course, whales. From this viewpoint, you’ll look out to the Canaanite cliffs that scatter to the eastern entrance to Portland Bay, and the volcanic island of Lady Julia Percy Island (Been Mar), which sits 19 kilometers offshore and is home to a colony of playful fur seals.
Framed by Mount Clay State Forest and the Sorry River Mouth, it’s a prime spot for swimming in the summer and fishing all-year round. Don’t throw yourself into a tailspin, instead, drive to the top of Mount Clay, past Saw pit picnic area on Boyer's Road, and then walk five to 10 minutes from the car park to Whalers Lookout.
This spot was used by the local Indigenous people as a vantage point to signal early European whalers on the arrival of whales. It’s also where you’ll find reports of recent whale sightings, and maps directing you the best viewing spots.
Limestone boulders are blanketed in overgrowth, cliff faces turn a moss green and a squabble of birds adds to the soundtrack. It’s a world away from the otherwise rocky landscape of the region, but stop at any of the lookouts, with views of the Southern Ocean, and your whale visit wish may just come true.
Limestone caves, blowholes, rocky cliffs, freshwater lakes, untamed surf beaches and a petrified forest add character to the surreal landscape. There’s a longer, easier six-kilometre walk to a viewing platform that will take you past the blowholes and limestone petrified forests.
The Crags Portland Whale Viewing Platform Lady Julia Percy Island (Been Mar) Mount Clay State Forest Whalers Lookout Maritime Discovery and Information Center Cable Tram The Enchanted Forest Cape Nelson Lighthouse Cape Bridgewater Petrified Forest Cape Bridgewater Seal Walk Seals by the Sea Tour If you do notice a whale or dolphin in distress please contact the Department of Environmental Land, Water and Planning (DEL WP) on 1300 136 017. You can help their research by sharing your photos at www2.help.vic.gov.au/.