Everything You Need To Know About Whales on the Great Ocean Road

Whale Watching on the Great Ocean Road

We are extremely fortunate at Alkina Lodge because almost every year between June and October we get to see whales just offshore along the Great Ocean Road.  Southern Right Whales are the most commonly sighted species, but occasionally we’re also visited by Humpbacks and Blue Whales.

These magnificent creatures are delightful to watch as they are notoriously playful and active in the water. Watching the water spray from their blowholes is simply breathtaking. They can also sometimes be seen waving their fins or tails out of the water.

Whales
Humpback whales

 

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about whale watching. If there’s anything else you’d like to know please feel free to get in touch with us.

How Many Whales Are There?  

It’s estimated that there are around 10,000 Southern Right Whales living in the Southern Hemisphere. Since whaling was outlawed back in the 1930’s the numbers are continuing to grow every year.

 

Why Do They Come To The Great Ocean Road?

Southern Right Whales live close to Antarctica during the (southern hemisphere) summer months. They migrate north during the winter to breed and raise their calves in the warmer ocean water.

This is a very important time, as the mother is teaching its calf all the life skills it will need before it returns to the Antarctic in the summer.

 

Where Is The Best Place To See Whales On The Great Ocean Road?

Whales have been spotted all along the Great Ocean Road, playing in waters around Portland, Port Fairy, Warrnambool and Apollo Bay.

However one of the best places to spot them near Alkina Lodge is at Logans Beach in Warrnambool.

It’s about an hour’s drive from us and there’s a specially constructed whale watching platform here. Southern Right Whales visit almost every year to calve and feed their young. They’re sometimes as close as 100m from the shore, so it’s a great place to get a good view.

Another great spot is at Cape Otway Lightstation, also about an hour’s drive from Alkina Lodge. As the lightstation sits about 90 metres above the sea it gives you a great viewing spot. Plus of course, you’ll also have the chance to learn all about the history of the region and its lighthouse.

 

How Can I Maximise My Chances Of Seeing Whales?

Now is a very exciting time to visit the Great Ocean Road as between June and October we are regularly visited by Southern Right Whales, Humpbacks and Blue Whales.

Unfortunately we can’t make any guarantees, as they are wild animals and they set their own timetable. However, if you’re planning a trip to the Great Ocean Road during the winter months you will have a good chance of seeing them.

We recommend you call the Visitor Information Centre at Warrnambool to check whether the whales are around before you set off, or you can check their Facebook page. We’d also suggest you bring binoculars if you have them and be prepared to be patient!

 

Fun Facts About Southern Right Whales

  • They can go without food for six months
    Over the summer the Southern Right Whale feeds on plankton and crustaceans in the ocean near Antarctica, but over the winter and spring they generally don’t eat while they are breeding and raising their calves.
  • They can hold their breath for 20 minutes
    Southern Right Whales can spend up to 20 minutes underwater before they appear at the surface and finally exhale through their blowholes (nostrils). They blow a spout of water that can be as high as five metres!
  • They don’t have teeth
    Instead of teeth, the Southern Right Whale has what’s called “baleen plates” which act like a huge sieve and separates the food from the water.
Whale
Whale Tail

If you’d like the chance to see these magnificent creatures for yourself, don’t forget to visit between June and October. Click here to book your stay with us now!

Getting There

The Great Ocean Road is located in Victoria and stretches for 243 kms, starting at Torquay and ending near Warrnambool. How to get there depends on which part of the Great Ocean Road you’d like to visit. However, the most famous sights such as the 12 Apostles and Port Campbell National Park are located 275 kms west of Melbourne, approximately a 4 hour drive along the Great Ocean Road.

Where To Stay

Luxury accommodation is available at Alkina Lodge (+61 3 8899 7426 ; alkinalodge.com.au ), an architecturally designed lodge set in over 100 acres of native bushland. Prices start from $297.50 per person per night (based on twin share occupancy and excluding flights).