The Sapphire Coast is a hugely popular destination for whale watching. The number of whales to our waters have been increasing each year.
Whale Watching – the Best Time of Year
From late September to late November each year, Humpback Whales make their annual migration southwards along the east coast of Australia, bound for Antarctica after having spent several months in the warmer waters – some mating or giving birth.
It is on their southern migration that whales can be seen along the Sapphire Coast, with one of the unique features of this area being able to see them feeding.
At times coming very close to the shore, many more can be observed just off the coast, with Sperm and Killer Whales seen further out near the continental shelf.
There is still a wonderful Eden tradition. When a whale is sighted and reported to the Museum, a whale siren is sounded. This is no longer the signal for whalers to row out and harpoon the animal. It is a signal summoning interested persons to find a vantage point and watch these majestic, aquatic mammals make their way up or down the coast – a truly magnificent sight.
Whale Watching – Cruises
Cat Balou Cruises – Whale Watching and Bay Cruises
Experience nature at its best when you take a cruise aboard the multi award winning vessel, Cat Balou at Eden, voted the number 1 Whale Watching destination in Australia in 2014!
Known for their outstanding Whale Watching trips, Cat Balou Cruises also offers Bay and Wilderness Coast cruises.
Owner operators since 1987, Ros and Gordon Butt are NSW’s most experienced whale watching operators and offer daily whale watching cruises from mid September until late November with a 99% success rate of seeing whales.
It is mainly Humpback whales seen on their southern migration but there is also a chance of seeing other species of whales along with dolphins, seals and a variety of seabirds. Cat Balou has a hydrophone onboard to enable passengers to listen to whales singing. Throughout the year Cat Balou also offer a Twofold Bay Cruise which highlights the history, industries and natural beauty of this whaling port plus a good chance of seeing dolphins & seals.
Cat Balou is a 15mt catamaran with optimum viewing and inside seating for all passengers in case of inclement weather. A live informative commentary is given on all cruises.
The South Coast Tourism Awards inducted Cat Balou Cruises into their Hall of Fame in 2013 as well as awarding them the Ecotourism Winner. Trip Advisor has also acknowledged them with their Certificate of Excellence in 2013 and 2014.
All cruises depart from Eden which has direct ocean access with no sand bar crossings.
Bookings are essential.
Merimbula Marina operates multiple cruises each day during September to November. We are a family owned and operated business and believe in responsible and respectful whale watching practices. We have a deep love of the ocean and all its amazing creatures and enjoy sharing this with our passengers.
We have been operating our vessel True Blue from Merimbula for over 10 years. She is a 16 metre Super Sea Cat with three unobstructed 360 degree viewing decks to whale watch from. She has both indoor and outdoor seating and onboard toilets. Live and informative whale commentary and morning or afternoon tea is provided. You are also likely to see other whales like Southern Rights, Minkes, Bryde’s, Blue and Orcas and marine life like dolphins, sea turtles, Australian Fur Seals, a bounty of sea birds and more from the boat.
We offer a money back guarantee that whales with be sighted on your cruise –please check our website for full details.
Launched in May 2015 “Sensational” is the Sapphire Coast’s newest and fastest whale watching experience! She is a fast, economical eco-RIB.
Get out to the whales fast and spend more time with them! Licensed to carry 20 passengers plus crew ensuring you a more personalised and intimate experience with the whales. With real 360 degree water level viewing this vessel allows you to get up close and personal with the whales!
Check out our daily photos and whale reports on our facebook page. Like our page and download photos taken from your cruise for free!
If whale watching is not your thing then why not try one of our NEW: 45min Sensational Beaches Blast trips. This high speed adventure is an awesome way to see Merimbula’s coastline whilst having a blast!
Outside of whale season we operate Marine Discovery Tours, showcasing the regions spectacular coastline and amazing wildlife.
Fishing Charters for the beginner to experienced anglers also available year round.
Enjoy whale watching aboard the Connemara with their experienced and friendly crew this whale season. An intimate and informative tour for up to 12 people. Excellent for photography, plenty of room and homemade pastries and refreshments on offer. This season when you book your whale watching trip on the Connemara you will also enjoy FREE entry to the Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre.
Freedom Charters also operate reef, game and kingfish charters for individual anglers and groups.
Cat Balou Cruises
As a family owned & operated business they have gained the reputation of maintaining high safety standards, providing exceptional service and value on all cruises as well as sharing their love of the area and the ocean with their passengers.
They also assist with whale & dolphin research.