Where to watch the whales (while keeping to social-distancing guidelines)
Gerrin Point Lookout, Bouddi National Park
Located along the Bouddi Coastal Walk after a 1.2 km very scenic walk from the Putty Beach carpark, Gerrin has sweeping views across Maitland Bay and the Bouddi National Park Marine Extension, one of Australia’s earliest marine-protected areas.
Marie Byles Lookout, Killcare Heights
This is an easily accessible lookout beside the road at Killcare with extensive views south to Lion Island, Broken Bay, Sydney’s northern beaches and as far as Sydney (you can see Bondi and Centrepoint on a clear day) and north along the Bouddi National Park shoreline. It has easy access if you have restricted mobility, or are short of time, but you’re back from the shore so whales will be further away.
Captain Cook and Winney Bay Lookouts, Copacabana
Certainly one of the best vantage points on the Central Coast. The two large viewing platform lookouts are located on the headland between Copacabana and Avoca Beach. The Winney Bay lookout has panoramic views east, and south to Palm Beach. It’s worth the view, any time of the year. A good spot for dolphin-watching and bird-watching too. Copacabana Beach also has an easily accessible, ‘just above beach level’ roadside viewing platform.
The Skillion, Terrigal
The prominent headland at the southern end of Terrigal has a car parking area at its base and is an invigorating walk up the steep grassy slope to uninterrupted views south over North Avoca and Avoca, and north to Wamberal and Forresters Beach.
Wyrrabalong Lookout, Cromarty Hill, Forresters Beach
This location is a short walk from Cromarty Hill Road to the lookout and picnic area and picnic tables (and a large communication tower). When you’re not whale spotting, you can watch hang-gliders launch themselves off the cliff right beside you.
Crackneck Lookout, Wyrrabalong National Park
Near Bateau Bay, this is one of the most popular vantage points, where you can take the short drive right through the National Park up to the lookout and throw a rug on the grass and enjoy a picnic. There are panoramic views northward to Shelly Beach and all the way past Norah Head, Tuggerah Lake and The Entrance. A second vantage point faces east and south towards Forresters and Terrigal.
Bateau Bay itself is also a popular whale watching spot from a sandstone platform at beach level. There’s parking and picnic tables, or you can also walk to Crackneck from the beach.
Norah Head Lighthouse, Norah Head
This is one of the most easterly points on the Central Coast so the whales tend to be closer to land here. See the lighthouse while you’re there!
Wybung Head, Munmorah State Conservation Area, Budgewoi
There’s a grassy knoll on the headland, a short walk from Wybung Head Road that provides sweeping views north, east and south. It’s an exposed area with no shade or wind protection, so come suitably attired. A sign provides information on whales and their migration.
ON THE WATER: with Terrigal Ocean Tours
For a closer experience, away from the crowds, you can see the whales from a purpose-built Ecotour RIB boat out of Terrigal Haven. It’s usually a short trip to link up with their migration path where you can often see them breaching, tail-slapping and fin-slapping. A highlight is seeing a mother teach a new calf these important life skills. There’s a marine biologist on board to provide interesting information in an area that also abounds with dolphins, seals and seabirds. Maximum of 10 passengers (6 only for COVID safety). Gift vouchers and group bookings available. www.terrigaltours.com.au.
Lead image: I Fly High Photography