General Whale Questions
What types of whales will I see?
90% of the whales seen in past seasons have been Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae)
the next most common are the Southern Right whales ( Eubalaena australis)
others much harder to find are Minki, Sperm and Blue whales (normally only seen once a season)
Will there be room for me to see the whales?
Yes, there is plenty of rail space on Ocean Dreaming II, you could line the rails with our full compliment of passengers and there would still be room to see.
Where is the best position on the boat?
Everyone has their favorite position!
the front deck and bridge deck sides are great spots, and flybridge deck is the highest point (so you can see further).
the bridge deck aft is great for those that prefer a bit more protection,
but you can see everything from the cabin windows on the main deck from the comfort of the high back cushioned chairs.
What happens if it rains?
Rain is no problem on Ocean Dreaming II, we have plenty of climate controlled cabin space on board so everyone on board can be warm and undercover.
Totally Wild is more exposed to the elements, but has a roof and clear covers that can be rolled down if needed
Is Morning or Afternoon better?
It really depends on the day, sometimes the wind is blowing in the morning but drops off in the afternoon and vise versa.
The whales don't seem to be more or less active as the day progresses (you can check by visiting Sightings ).
What about motion sickness, will it be rough?
We are in the ocean, but the bigger the boat, the less you feel it, that's why we have the biggest whale watching vessel in New South Wales, to make your cruise the most comfortable experience possible.
If you are still concerned, we recommend you seek out a preventative remedy that works for you and eat lightly before embarking.
If you are worried about sea sickness we recommend that you book our Whale Watching Discovery Cruise on Ocean Dreaming II.
Are there toilets on board?
Yes, Ocean Dreaming 2 is a large vessel with all the facilities you would expect, including 4 toilets (1 disabled).
Totally Wild has one toilet as well. We recommend that you dont need to use it during the 2 hour cruise as it is not the most comfortable and should only be used for emergencies
I am in a wheelchair, which is the best for me
Ocean Dreaming 2 is wheelchair friendly, we have 2 dedicated lock down points in the main cabin on the windows and 2 more lock down points on the bow as well as a disabled toilet on the main deck.
We recommend that you board your cruise at Darling Harbour, Cockle Bay Wharf as it is more accessible with a big gangway and no stairs. Boarding at Circular Quay requires a little help from our friendly crew as there is a small set of stairs.(depending on the tide 3-10 steps)
Will I be able to touch the whales?
Its very unlikely, but its up to the whales.
As responsible whale watchers we don't approach to within 100m of the whales.
That doesn't mean the whales can't come to us if they want, but if they do, they rarely touch the boat or come close enough for someone to reach out and touch them.
Will I see Migaloo (the white whale)?
Only if we are very lucky and then only on 2 or 3 trips of the year.
Each whale swims past the Sydney coast over a 6 hour period, so they may pass us in the night time when no one is watching.
We saw Migaloo for the first time in 2014 and in 2011 we were lucky enough to see an all white humpback whale calf, so chances have doubled to see an all white whale.
Whale Watching Checklist
What are the important things to look for in a whale watching boat?
In order of importance:
Can some boats get closer to whales than others?
No, Everyone, and that includes recreational boater follow the same regulations, 100m from the whales is as close as the rules allow any boat to approach.
If someone is promising to get closer than this they will be breaking the law.
But whales are curious in the boats sometimes and have a close look. In that case we have to stop our engines and let the whales pass. In that case whales can be right next to our vessels.
Does a smaller boat mean we are closer to the whale and will we see more?
No, a smaller boat means you are closer to the water, not closer to the whales.
The higher up you are, the better the viewing angle you get to see the whales.
Generally watching is good from both Totally Wild and Ocean Dreaming II
Does a bigger boat mean we be fighting the crowd?
No, Ocean Dreaming 2 is surveyed for 300 passenger in the harbour, out in the ocean we take 250 of that compliment as a maximum and everyone has a seat.
Totally Wild has a limit of 27 seats so everyone has a good view
What is the Whale Guarantee
The whale guarantee allows each person with a valid ticket (excludes Free of Charge passengers) on a cruise that does not see whales to return on another cruise in the same year with a return voucher. Return vouchers are stand-by tickets and priority is given to paying customers. Please book your free trip in advance via phone 02 9583 1199 or at one of our ticket offices at Darling Harbour or Circular Quay.
What's the definition of seeing whales?
By seeing whales we mean that we find and approach at least one whale and we have at least 2 confirmed sightings on the surface at a reasonable distance.
We want you to have the best experience whale watching we can offer you, every cruise is different and we think that's part of the attraction of ecotourism, but we can still offer the guarantee in the rare case that we see whales but feel it was not good enough (in this case its completely at our discretion)
Does a dolphin count as a whale?
No, we don't count dolphins as seeing whales even thought they are of the same family of cetacean and we do see them on many trips.
If we are 2 or more that booked together, do we have to come back as a group?
No, you can wait list to come on separate days if you like.
What happens if I still don't see a whale on my return trip?
In the unlikely event that happens, then we give you another free freturn voucher.
We want you to have the experience with the whales, and we will keep inviting you back until you do.
can i give my return voucher to someone else
No, we reissue your return voucher with your name on it.
The idea is that if you missed out on seeing whales, you should be the one to come back and enjoy it.
Can I get a refund instead of a return voucher?
No, we understand some people can't come back if they are traveling or for other reasons, but each time we go out on a cruise to find whales we do our upmost to find them for you.
Can I use my return voucher next year?
No, the voucher is valid only for the year it is issued in. Towards the very end of the season we do allow you to use your return voucher next season.
Now that Whale Watching Sydney is part of the NRMA, Members can save 20% on Whale Watching Cruises
To redeem this offer apply coupon code NRMAWHALES20 while booking. NRMA membership number must be entered when booking. Membership card must be shown when boarding.