Suggested months: September, October.
This journey combines the world's greatest migration of Humpback Whales along the east and west coasts of Australia, with the country's two most famous reef systems and iconic cities. Commencing in Sydney, travellers will spot Humpback Whales as they pass by on their migration, with calves spotted from early October. Venturing north to Lady Elliot Island, the treasures of the Great Barrier Reef will be revealed with opportunities to see turtles, Manta Rays, reef sharks, tropical fish and beautiful hard and soft corals. Travelling to Ningaloo Reef and Exmouth also provides amazing diving and snorkelling experiences, plus the unique opportunity to swim with Humpback Whales as they rest with newly born calves in the Exmouth Gulf. A return through Melbourne and Phillip Island will guarantee close encounters with a huge colony of Australian Fur Seals, as well as numerous seabirds, dolphins and Little Penguins.
Minimum Suggested Nights: 13 nights, including a couple of extra nights in Exmouth if desired.Lady Elliot Island Ningaloo & Exmouth Phillip Island Sydney Harbour
Type: Private Charter
Duration: 4 hours
Logistics: Fly into Sydney Airport (SYD).
Lux Whale Watching
Departing from one of the world’s most beautiful harbours, guests will board a luxury cruiser led by an experienced guide and crew, to encounter one of the greatest natural migrations in the world. Known for their spectacular acrobatic abilities, seeing Humpback Whales launch out of the ocean with sheer energy is awe-inspiring.
Guides will share key insights on the whales’ behaviour and on many occasions, these majestic and curious creatures will interact with the boat. Combined with Sydney’s stunning coastal backdrop, this cruise is a truly unforgettable experience. Other marine species that may be encountered include Bottlenose Dolphins, Minke Whales and pelagic seabirds including a wide variety of Albatrosses.
Wedge-tailed, Flesh-footed, Sooty, Hutton's and Fluttering Shearwaters arrive in significant numbers in September and October. Black-browed, Shy and Indian Yellow-nosed are the most likely albatross encounters. Giant Petrel, Great-winged Petrel and Providence Petrels are also occasionally seen, with Australasian Gannets, Silver Gull and Greater Crested Terns ever present.
Humpback Whales head south on migration to Antarctica. Early October to Mid December, mothers and newborn calves tend to swim very close to the shoreline, Common Dolphin and Bottlenose Dolphins often sighted with occasional visits by Minke Whales, False Killer Whales, Orcas and Pilot Whales.
Duration: 6 days/5 nights
Logistics: Take a 1 hour 25 minute flight from Sydney Airport (SYD) to Brisbane Airport (BNE). Overnight in Brisbane. Take a 45 minute transfer to the Redcliffe Aerodrome to connect with a 1 hour 40 minute scenic flight to Lady Elliot Island.
Lady Elliot Island Stay 5 Pay 4
Located within a highly protected ’Green Zone’ of the Great Barrier Reef Marine National Park, the waters surrounding Lady Elliot provide a sanctuary for over 1,200 species, with outstanding water clarity perfect for admire the healthy coral reef, abundance of turtles, Manta Rays, reef sharks and a vast array of tropical fish.
In season guests can also encounter birds nesting, turtle hatchlings or migrating Humpback Whales. Staying at the Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort, this package offers guests the opportunity to enjoy a myriad activities to learn more about the Island and its unique history, flora, fauna and incredible marine life. This slice of paradise provides an environment that inspires a diversity of exciting daily nature based activities including reef walks, bird watching tours, snorkel safaris, night tours and scuba diving.
Braching, Boulder, Plate and Mushroom hard corals and Gorgonian Fan, Organ Pipe and Pink Soft coral, Damselfish, Wrasses & Parrotfish, Surgeonfish, Angelfish, Blacktip and Whitetip Reef Sharks, Leopard Sharks, Wobbegongs, Epaulette Sharks, Manta Rays, Bull Rays and Eagle Rays.
Pacific Golden Plover, Ruddy Turnstones, Bar-tailed Godwits arrive from Northern Hemisphere migration, Sooty and Pied Oyster-catchers, Eastern Reef Egret, Brown Footed Boobies, Capricorn Silvereyes, Buff-banded Rails.
Seasonal Highlights: Green and Loggerhead Turtle mating season, they commence nesting on the island’s pristine sandy dunes in November. The critically endangered Hawksbill Turtle can be seen in the surrounding waters.
Duration: Full Day
Logistics: Take a 1 hour 40 minute scenic flight from Lady Elliot Island to Brisbane (Redcliffe Aerodrome). Overnight Brisbane. Take a 5 hour 25 minute flight to Perth (PER), then connect with a 2 hour flight to Exmouth (LEA).
Humpback Whale Swim and Watching
A staggering 30,000 west coast Humpback Whales migrate through the Exmouth and Ningaloo region and start to rest after their long migration from the Antarctic. Mothers will typically move their calves into the Gulf area at Exmouth over these months, to fatten them up for their lengthy return journey south.
The Department of Parks & Wildlife has recently given authority for Exmouth Diving Centre to provide guided swims with these amazing creatures under strict parameters and conditions. Visitors will venture out in small groups of five with a guide & videographer to record one of the most special intimate encounters of the ocean. Following this, guests will enjoy a snorkel on the reef to enjoy the amazing tropical fish, rays, turtles and corals.
Manta Rays along the reef near Exmouth, Parrotfish, Butterflyfish, Angelfish, Damselfish, Scissor Tails, Flutemouths Wrasse, Groper, Coral Trout, Giant Potato Cod and Trevally, Sailfin Catfish, Clarkes, Pink and Tomato Anemonefish.
Humpback Whales are in region with mothers typically minding calves in the Gulf area (opportunity to swim with these creatures until the end of October). Orcas are active in the area, Pseudo Orcas, Minke Whales, Pilot Whales, Short-beaked Common Dolphins, Spinner Dolphins and Blue Whales are occasional visitors to the area. Bottlenose and Australian Humpback Dolphins calve around this time.
Duration: 2 hours
Logistics: Take a 2 hour flight from Exmouth (LEA) to Perth Airport (PER) and connect to a 3 hour 35 minute flight to Melbourne Tullamarine Airport (MEL).
Seal Watching Cruise
Spectacular close up encounters with Australia’s largest population of Australian Fur Seals is promised on this scenic coastal boat tour. Venturing to the aptly named Seal Rocks, visitors will drift amongst 7000+ seals. Seals are present all year round, from young pups to adult bulls, with the crew providing insights into the fascinating social displays of these agile and playful creatures. The spectacular coastline along the northern and western shores of Phillip Island, provide abundant viewing opportunities for dolphins, Little Penguins and a vast array of seabirds.
Approximately one million Short-Tailed Shearwaters return to Phillip Island from Alaska, very active Crested Tern rookery, White-bellied Sea Eagles and Wedge-tailed Eagles building large nests along the cliffs.
Male bull Australian Fur Seals territorial fighting, Common & Bottlenose Dolphin abundant, Humpback Whales with mothers and calves seen can be seen at the beginning of spring.