Whale Trail Whale Tail

Whale Trail Phillip Island & Bass Coast

Wondering where to spot whales on Phillip Island and surrounds? From May to October, you can discover these beautiful majestic creatures along the coastline of Phillip Island and Bass Coast on the Whale Discovery Trail. Take a walk, ride or drive along the discovery trail to spot whales and learn about the natural environment, from Eagles Nest in the East to Cowes on Phillip Island.

The trail will lead you to a range of coastal viewing points where interpretive signage provides insights into the majestic life of whales and their behaviours.

For whale cruises visit Wildlife Coast Cruises.

Download the Bass Coast Whale Discovery Trail Brochure below.

Whale Discovery Trail

Whale watching Phillip Island and surrounds

Looking forward to seeing whales around Phillip Island but you’re not sure where to look for them? Have you seen a whale but you’re not sure how to share your sighting?

Here are some tips to help you spot whales:

From May to October, humpback whales and southern right whales can be seen along the Victorian coastline.

Whale sightings in the area are often posted on several Facebook pages: Two Bays Whale Project, Phillip Island Whale Watchers, and Wildlife Coast Cruises.

Most updates are near to real-time and often include tips on where the whales could be seen from. For your best chance of seeing whales, keep an eye out on these Facebook pages and be ready to grab your binoculars and head out to the lookouts to spot the whales yourselves.

Remember to look after the coastal environment by watching out for wildlife on the roads, and by keeping to the tracks. If you’re lucky to see whales, please share your sighting by reporting you sighting on ‘PodWatch’ or call Wildlife Coast Cruises on 1300 763 739.

For the latest sightings, you can check the Whale Sightings for the Phillip Island region or check with the Phillip Island Visitor Information Centre at Newhaven.

Whale discovery trail brochure

Would you know how to tell the difference between the whales?

Humpback whales (Megaptara novaeangliae) have the characteristic white ventral (under) side, long flippers, a small dorsal (back) fin and a rounded blow. Southern Right whales, on the other hand, are generally black in colour, lack a dorsal fin, have rounded flippers, and have a V-shaped blow. Did you know that the blow was originally called ‘spout’ as people thought they blew out water? The blow appears like water because the warm air is released from the whales’ lungs at high pressure and condenses in the cold air.

Southern Right Whales (Eubalaena australis) are smaller but heavier than the Humpback whales. They are nearly black in colour and move slower. They can sometimes be seen in quite shallow waters within 100 metres from the coast.

Killer Whales (Orcinus orca) occasionally visit the waters around Phillip Island as seals make up an important part of their diet. These whales are the fastest swimmer of all the cetaceans and can reach speeds of more than 50km/h while hunting.

Guide to identifying whales

Image: Guide to identifying whales - Tony Pyrzakowski illustration


Viewing opportunities

Take to the water

Join Wildlife Coast Cruises on their Winter Whale Cruises for a chance to see and learn more about these majestic creatures.

Bring a pair of binoculars and a warm jacket, and see if you can spot a whale or two. As well as searching for the great whales, whale watchers will have a very high chance of seeing playful dolphins and will also visit Seal Rocks to enjoy the spectacle of thousands of fur seals frolicking, gaze at beautiful sea birds like the shy albatross with its awe-inspiring 2.5 metre wingspan and take in the spectacular coastal scenery of Phillip Island including The Nobbies, Pyramid Rock and Cape Woolamai. The cruise includes morning tea and a hearty lunch of soup and sandwiches.

Embark on a winter whale watching adventure with Wildlife Coast Cruises, Winter Whale Cruise discovering Phillip Island’s picturesque coastline. Search for Humpback and Southern Right Whales on their annual migration route regularly joined by playful dolphins pods, curious seals and a variety of birdlife including the Wandering Albatross.

Take to the air

Phillip Island Helicopters provides scenic flights across the Island and are always on the lookout for migrating whales.

From land

The following points provide good viewing options of the southern coastline and areas where whales migrate.

Cape Woolamai - Pyramid Rock - Surf Beach - The Nobbies and Summerland area.