Central Coast and Pittwater Whale Watching

From Ettalong Wharf or Palm Beach Wharf

Have a whale of a time with Fantasea Cruising

Winter has never given you a better reason to get rugged up and out of the house than for the highly anticipated annual whale migration.

Fantasea Cruising offers our Central Coast and Northern Beaches guests, an unforgettable opportunity for a scenic, educational and up-close encounter with our favourite charismatic creatures of the sea, the ‘humpback’ whale.

This guided adventure is hosted by our very own Marine Naturalist Lisa. Alongside our highly skilled whale watching crew, Lisa will share her love and extensive knowledge of all thing’s whales, wildlife and some Northern Beaches history too.

Our well known catamarans 8 Seasons and Escapade provide for a thrilling whale watching experience. Both boasting plentiful seating and spacious observation areas, in no time at all you are sure to be as in awe of these graceful, gentle giants as we are.

With cruises departing from Palm Beach and Ettalong most weekends of both the Northern and Southern Migrations, now is the perfect time to book your whale watching cruise. So get on board, the whales are waiting for you.

Northern Migration

Between the months of May and August our majestic mammal friends are in search of warmer waters, embarking on a massive journey from Antarctica. 

The first to begin this migration are the females weaning their calves, closely followed by the sub-adult males and females. The peak of the migration sees the mature whales leave Antarctica. The ‘boys’ tend to lead as they travel either alone or in groups. These playful creatures are doing their best to attract a female! Lobtailing, chin slaps and breaching are thought to be a way of proving their dominance, second only to the mystical whale song. Finally, the new mums to be head toward warmer waters to give birth and feed their newborns. These whales often cross paths with the newly pregnant whales heading south!

  • Chevron down Cruise Dates
  • Cruises Depart 08:45am from Palm Beach Wharf and 09:15am from *Ettalong Wharf.
    *Please note: Our whale watching cruises return to Palm Beach wharf. Guests who embarked the journey at Ettalong wharf can utilise our scheduled ferry service at no additional cost to return to the Central Coast.


    Cruise Dates
    Saturday 22 June 2019
    Sunday 23 June 2019
    Saturday 29 June 2019
    Sunday 30 June 2019
    Saturday 6 July 2019
    Sunday 7 July 2019
    Saturday 13 July 2019
    Sunday 14 July 2019
    Saturday 20 July 2019
    Sunday 21 July 2019

Southern Migration

Spring has sprung and it is now time for these gentle giants of the sea to head back to Antarctica. Having eaten very little or not at all since their journey began, our memorizing mammal friends have now used their body fat reserves and they are hungry!

Newly pregnant females now take the lead as they need to feed as soon as possible! (you really shouldn’t deny a pregnant lady food now, should you!). The young adolescent whales soon join the journey followed by the mature adult whales. The last to leave are the new mums with their babies.

Young adolescent whales are very active and use lots of energy socializing and playing. We may get to see them chasing each other at high speed, tail sapping, fin slapping, tail fluke slapping, spy-hopping and breaching. This is also time for mum to teach her baby how to be a whale!

  • Chevron down Cruise Dates
  • Cruises Depart 08:45am from Palm Beach Wharf and 09:15am from *Ettalong Wharf.
    *Please note: Our whale watching cruises return to Palm Beach wharf. Guests who embarked the journey at Ettalong wharf can utilise our scheduled ferry service at no additional cost to return to the Central Coast.


    Cruise Dates
    Saturday 28 September 2019
    Sunday 29 September 2019
    Saturday 5 October 2019
    Sunday 6 October 2019
    Saturday 12 October 2019
    Sunday 13 October 2019

Meet Our Marine Naturalist and Host…

Marine Host LisaNAME: Lisa
JOB: Marine Host
HOME: Sydney’s Northern Beaches
Background: After working for 30 years in an executive career, 4 years ago I decided to leave that life behind and pursue a career as a tour guide. My ‘Sea Change’ came when I was offered a role with Fantasea as a host on board their vessels. I love spending my days showing people a side of Sydney they’ve never seen before. After completing a short course in Marine and Antarctic Science through the University of Tasmania, I began the exciting job of hosting whale watching cruises out of Palm Beach and Ettalong.

  • Chevron down Five Minutes with Lisa
  • What is the best thing about living on the Northern Beaches?
    Being able to spend part of every day at the beach is such a gift…I’m happiest when I can see the ocean!

    If you could visit anywhere in the world you’ve never been, where would you go?
    I have been to many wonderful countries but one place I’ve never been is Hawaii. I would love to visit one of the less touristy islands where lush volcanoes meet the sea & there’s not a shopping mall in sight.

    What are three things still left on your bucket list?
    I want to watch Formula 1 in Italy or Monaco, ride a camel on the beach at Sunrise, see the Northern Lights from an igloo.

    What is the best thing about working for Fantasea?
    Being out on the water instead of in an office, creating happy memories for visitors is pretty special. Working with so many awesome crew mates.

    What is your most memorable whale watching experience?

    Wow, there’s so many but the one that sticks out for me is the first time I heard a humpback breathe! We were offshore in the middle of the ‘Whale Highway’, cruising very slowly just looking around the boat for whales when suddenly a large Humpback surfaced right beside us & let out a very loud ‘blow’ as she exhaled. It still sends tingles down my spine just thinking about it! It was the most amazing moment, you see whales on TV and often from a distance when on land, but you’ll never forget the first time you hear one up close…it’s an incredibly special experience.

    Tell us what a day in your life looks like:
    It’s an early start for Whale Watching, after prepping the boat and greeting our guests we depart Palm Beach wharf at 8:45am. After a quick stop at Ettalong to welcome our Central Coast customers we head straight out through Broken Bay, past Lion Island and into the open ocean. This is the time when you can sense everyone’s excitement and anticipation… who will spot the first whale?

    All the crew get involved with our guests as everyone on board as we scans the horizon for a whale blow, the exhaled spout of air and water that tells us there is a whale nearby. Once spotted, everyone gets very excited as our skipper carefully navigates us closer to the humpback so we can have a better look. There is a collective gasp from all on board each time the whale comes to the surface and the sound of everyone yelling “WOW” when we see some spectacular displays like a breach, or a tail slap is so much fun! We spend a long time just watching and taking it all in, Humpback whales really are such majestic creatures.

    Throughout the cruise I use the microphone to give lots of information about marine mammals, sea birds and other marine life whilst everyone is enjoying the sights and antics of the whales.

    Our cruise home into Pittwater is usually filled with excited chatter as all the passengers compare their photos and videos from their close encounters with these creatures of the sea. At this time, I like to have a fun trivia game with all the kids on board to see what they have learned about humpback whales during the cruise… their knowledge always astounds me! We give out prizes for joining in and we usually try to take a selfie to finish off the fun and games.

    As we say goodbye to all our guests back at Palm Beach wharf, I love to see their smiles and hear their feedback about what an amazing experience they have had. I often get told I have the best job in the world… I think they might be right!


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Rated "Excellent" by 200+ Travellers!

Whale watching

"I'd like to thank the crew particularly Cassie and Josh for making a beautiful day even better. We were lucky enough to see a whale and I'll be back later in the season. The Catalina is a great boat, clean and well laid out with great views all round.."

– suelF3627NF via TripAdvisor

"Despite the wet weather and being quite early into the season we were able to spot a number of whales and have a lovely morning out! The vessel was very modern and comfortable. A must do for locals and visitors alike"

– Hayley C L via TripAdvisor
Fantastic day, great boat and professional and informative staff!

"Spent the afternoon for on this tour for my partner's birthday excellent crew, lots of commentary and a great day!"

– Monique S via TripAdvisor
Whale watching- Darling Habour

"Best tour! Emma was such a good guide !! We saw 5 whales 1pm Sunday 16th June 2019..Amazing experience and not crowned like other boats .. We nearly missed our boat but the team waited for us."

– Grace L via TripAdvisor
We saw whales!

"We had a great tour and were fortunate enough to watch two whales for about 30 minutes. The narration provided by the marine biologist was excellent. We would do this again."

– kent542015 via TripAdvisor

"First time to see the whale. smooth sailing to the deep sea area, nice breeze and beautiful scenery, really enjoyed it! While trying to spot whales, the staff gave some background knowledge about humpback whales, learned something as well. very good weather! we got to see four whales!! they were very active as well! Amazing to see how big the whales are and how they play in the sea. Cute creature! Seems that they were very happy that day! Not so many people on the cruise, everybody got plenty room to watch. Captain stopped the cruise for quite long time, so we could really enjoy ourselves! Staff are so friendly and attentive, also offered Free drink and snack. Overall it was rememberable experience! only one regret, we did not see enough!"

– Mel K via TripAdvisor