The BEST timing and dates to go whale watching in Dunsborough
When is whale watching season in Dunsborough?
Naturaliste Charters is the first company to introduce whale watching tours to Western Australia’s South-West. For over 25 years, the family owned business has had the privilege of providing their guests with the opportunity to experience some of the ocean’s rarest and most spectacular wildlife amid some of the most stunning landscapes and scenery in Australia.
Our unique location allows Naturaliste Charters to offer a unique, year-round whale watching experience. The extraordinary Dunsborough Whale Watching Experiences navigate the PRISTINE, cetacean-rich waters of WA’s south-west coastline from early September right through to December. The two-hour tours depart from Geographe Bay’s calm coastal beach twice daily.
What time of day to go whale watching in Dunsborough?
Naturaliste charters whale watching tours depart at 10am and 2pm every day! The 10am charters tend to be a little busier than the 2pm tours, however the whale experience and quality of whale encounters rarely differs across the two charters. With this said, if you’re interested in a quieter, more V.I.P experience we suggest heading out after lunch and on our 2pm tour.
Naturaliste Charters also offer a serene sunset charter and eco cruise. From October onwards as the weather warms and the days get longer we highly recommend getting a few of your closest friends and family members together for a glorious afternoon on the water. Once summer is upon us, the sunset tours are a stand out experience where you can sip on champagne and enjoy the cetaceans as they cruise past the tranquil, sun glistened coastline.
A MUST while you’re in the south-west.
The time of your tour really comes down to you and what your days plans are. If you have organised a social breakfast with mates, we advise you come on the afternoon tour. You would not want to taste your breaky for a second time… However if you want to catch a few afternoon rays by the beach or go exploring throughout the many beautiful forests in the region then come by to see the whales in the morning. It will allow you to explore without time constraints!
What is the BEST season to go whale watching in Dunsborough?
With the myriad of marine mammals migrating along our coastline it can be a little overwhelming when trying to determine the BEST time to enjoy a whale watching charter in the south-west. Don’t worry, we have you covered! Naturaliste Charters have collaborated with local scientists, taken on university students for their field work and now even employ marine biologists to educate their customers and determine the whale populations in the area. Now, we’ll let you in on a local secret…OCTOBER is the best month to go whale watching in the south-west as you could be witness to the whale TRIFECTA! What does that mean?
October isn’t only the month that the worlds’ LARGEST animal, the BLUE WHALE migrates though Geographe Bay in the hundreds!!!! October isn’t only the month that you can encounter southern right whales utilising Dunsborough as a nursery ground for their new-born calves. October isn’t only the month that you have a rare but ever increasing chance at witnessing the dwarf minke whale. October is ALL of these things!
The Dunsborough whale watching season is one of the only places in the WORLD where you can encounter up to FOUR different species of whale across one two-hour tour. That includes, 180 tonne blue whales within 100m of the shore, 90 tonne southern right whales and their calves, over 4500 humpback whales AND the tiny and often illusive dwarf minke whale.
What else might you see on a whale watching tour in Dunsborough?
Don’t for a second think that you’re only going to witness whales while on your expedition with Naturaliste Charters. The customer are often greeted by Dunsborough’s’ resident pods of bottlenose dolphins as they ride the bow and the wake of the vessel for all to enjoy. On the odd occasion tour goers are gifted with rare encounters such as mako sharks, seals, turtles, flying fish and rare birds, all of which the talented crew will spot and photograph for you so that you can relax and enjoy the day.
If you’re still not quite convinced then please read on!
Why choose Naturaliste Charters for your whale watching tour in Dunsborough:
Our 20M Catamaran, the Alison Maree is the most luxurious, premier AND custom built whale watching vessel that there is on offer, with multiple viewing decks, this purpose-built whale watching vessel enables you to witness the whales up close from the warmth of the cabin to the breeze on the bow!
Each experience is led by a fully-qualified marine biologist, whose knowledge and passion for Western Australia’s marine wildlife is unequalled in the industry. The marine biologist will provide customised commentary that is unique to every tour to ensure your experience is informative, providing an overview of the most up-to-date research and information that is relevant to each of their specific areas of operation in the south-west.
Dunsborough is one of the best places in Australia to sight whales, (voted second best location in Australia in 2018). However, there is no Marina facilities here so Naturaliste Charters have had to be very clever and come up with a way to board passengers comfortably onto a large vessel from the shore.
BUT don’t let beach boarding scare you…
Naturaliste Charters have exceptional and safe, custom-built launching facilities which includes a fully engineered ramp complete with handrails (to avoid getting wet feet) as you take a step on to our fully maintained tender vessel the Indi Maree. From there you are transferred onto 20m Catamaran, where you simply take a few comfortable steps to get on board. This adds to the experience and the kids seem to love it!
Once onboard the world-class whale watching vessel you’ll be introduced to the exceptional, passionate and friendly staff, briefed on the safety protocols by the head deckhand and given a short and informative presentation on the whales by the onboard marine biologist prior to departure.
Whilst on the charter you’ll have access to complimentary beverages and biscuits (and the best (and only) coffee on the bay!)
Throughout the charter you’ll be witness to an array of marine mammals that’re utilising some of the BEST voted beaches in the world such as Meelup Beach, Eagle Bay and Bunker Bay along the beautiful, calm and unforgettable waters of Cape Naturaliste. Where else would you want to whale watch than Dunsborough, WA?!
If you’re planning a long weekend in the area, and are looking for delicious places to eat, places to stay and other interesting stops to add to your Dunsborough adventure, our friends at Perth is OK! has concocted a wonderful list of Best Things to do in Dunsborough. Be sure to check them out for some great ideas!
Dunsborough whale watching summary
We hear it a lot, “When is whale watching season?”. It can get really confusing with the different seasons and locations but we hope this blog post has cleared a few things up for you. In summary, Dunsborough whale watching runs from September to November annually! It is the only season in which you may observe up to FOUR different species of whale.
Naturaliste Charters undertake three separate seasons in three separate locations. Each season runs annually, so if you miss out one year, we will still be there the next.
The four species you may observe are, Humpback, Southern Right, Minke and Blue! Do not forget about the dolphins too! These residential socialites will welcome in the migrating whales and play, feed and swim together.
Humpbacks and Southern Rights frequent the calm water in Geographe Bay for approximately 4 months. Minke whales come by without a schedule! Some minke whales will ZIP past, you have to be quick to see them! On other other hand some minke whales play with the boats wake and slip stream, darting around delighting passengers! Finally, the mighty blue whale. The largest animal on the planet, ever! If you’ve ever wondering when is the whale watching season to see the largest animal on the planet then head to Dunsborough around October to December! These big beauties will navigate into the bay around the reef systems and then glide through the shallow seagrass beds.