Whale Trail


Whale watching Bass Coast and Phillip Island

May to October is the time when our coastal waters play host to Humpback Whale and Southern Right Whales, some of the ocean’s most majestic creatures. Along Bass Coast and Phillip Island you have the opportunity to take advantage of land, sea and air based opportunities to view these majestic creatures on their journey.

For more information on the Whale Trail please click on the following brochure  Icon Bass Coast Whale Discovery Trail (1.7 MB)

DID YOU SPOT A WHALE? Call in your sighting to the Whale Hotline on 0487 745 066 (Phillip Island and surrounds) or Whale Watch Gippsland on 0499 293 296,  and be part of a long-term whale monitoring research. For the latest sightings you can check the Whale Sightings 2017 Google Map for the Phillip Island region or check with the Phillip Island Visitor Information Centre at Newhaven.

Click on the following link to view the Latest sightings Phillip Island and Surrounds

Whale Watch Gippsland is an initiative of Watershed Victoria, a group established during the construction of a desalination plant at Wonthaggi. It was stated that whales rarely visited this coastline, and there was no risk to them during construction and operation of the plant. The purpose was to gather information about whales, and over recent years hundreds of sightings have been recorded. Whale Watch Gippsland relies on community members and this project has been hugely successful in involving people and educating them about these wonders of the ocean.

Click on the following link to view Whale Watch Gippsland Facebook page


Would you know how to tell the difference between the whales?

Humpback whales (Megaptara novaeangliae) have the characteristic white ventral (under) side, long flippers, a small dorsal (back) fin and a rounded blow. Southern right whales, on the other hand, are generally black in colour, lack a dorsal fin, have rounded flippers, and have a V-shaped blow. Did you know that the blow was originally called ‘spout’ as people thought they blew out water? The blow appears like water because the warm air is released from the whales’ lungs at high pressure and condenses in the cold air.

Southern right whales (Eubalaena australis) are smaller but heavier than the humpback whales. They are nearly black in color and move slower. They can sometimes be seen in quite shallow waters within 100 metres from the coast.

Killer Whales (Orcinus orca) occasionally visit the waters around Phillip Island as seals make up an important part of their diet. These whales are the fastest swimmer of all the cetaceans and can reach speeds of more than 50km/h while hunting.

Guide to identifying whales



Viewing opportunities

Take to the water

Join Wildlife Coast Cruises on their Winter Whale and Dolphin & Whale Cruises for a chance to see and learn more about these majestic creatures.

The 4-hour Winter Whale Cruises operates daily, departing from Rhyll. The 3 hour Dolphin & Whale Cruise operates Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, departing from San Remo. Cruises operate during June/July/August. Check website for latest timetable.

Bring a pair of binoculars and a warm jacket, and see if you can spot a whale or two. As well as searching for the great whales, whale watchers will have a very high chance of seeing playful dolphins, fur seals, sea birds like the shy albatross with its awe inspiring 2.5 metre wingspan and take in the spectacular coastal scenery of Phillip Island. The Whale Cruise includes morning tea and freshly made lunch. Dolphin & Whale Cruise includeds afternoon tea.

The Wild Oceans EcoBoat Adventure Tour which weaves its way beyond the island’s shores on a high speed tour of the rugged coastline. Adventurers can expect encounters with Australia’s largest fur seal colony at Seal Rocks along with spectacular views of the Summerland Peninsula’s cliffs and the explosive blowhole at The Nobbies. From June through to September, nature lovers will also have the added possibility of a breathtaking close encounter with migrating humpback whales. The 90-minute Wild Oceans EcoBoat Adventure Tour departs daily at 3pm from Cowes.

Take to the air

Phillip Island Helicopters provides scenic flights across the Island and are always on the lookout for migrating whales.

From land

The following points provide good viewing options of the southern coast line and areas where whales migrate.

  • Kilcunda
  • Eagles Nest
  • Cape Patterson
  • Cape Woolamai
  • Pyramid Rock
  • Surf Beach
  • The Nobbies and Summerlands area





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