Previous whale watching excursions I had seen in New Zealand ranged from around $200 – $250 per person for a 3-4 hour tour. The 3 hour Whale Watching Sydney Cruise out of Darling Harbor would be available for $99 for 1 adult and 2 kids (Ella was free). I could not turn down this chance to see whales up close.
We arrived at Darling Harbour 15 minutes prior to our 12:45 boarding time. Here we selected our seating before departing for Circular Quay to pick up the remaining passengers. The earlier boarding time gave us 1st option for where to base ourselves on the boat (though I barely stayed in my seat the entire ride). The whales are all around the boat so anywhere can work. The upper deck offers open air viewing though for better picture quality.
What a view of the Sydney Opera House on our way out!
We cruised out of the still harbor waters and picked up speed heading into the open ocean. Luckily the wind was calm making the ride a bit smoother. The captain had reports of a mother and baby nearby therefore headed North in their direction. This was the 1st calf spotted by the crew this year. Typically they are further along in the migration before the babies are born. These three were active so we followed them for at least a half hour. The boat slows down so passengers can move about taking photos as we cruise along the whales.
The calf stayed near the surface often popping its head out and splashing around.
Next we continued North to search out other whales. This one had unique coloring with more white spots.
He decided to jump out of the water right in front of me. Too bad that I was not camera ready and only managed to capture the splash. My girls are still talking about the whale doing a back-flip!
Somehow I managed to snap more tail pictures than anything else. Which one is your favorite?
The captain decided to head south of Sydney Harbour to find other whales. We did spot some along the way but the captain continued on looking for more active ones. This would take a while and by the time we found some it was time to turn back. Overall I think we spotted 8-10 whales throughout the cruise.
The city views from outside the harbour are worth the trip alone!
Another item checked off my ever-growing bucket list. Now if only I can spot an Orca…