• William Gray

Where can I see Whales for Free?

Breaching southern right whale

There are several locations around the world where you can watch whales from the shore – good news for landlubbers who get sea sick, as well as those travelling on a budget.

1. Inside Passage

Ferry journeys north from Vancouver are often accompanied by sightings of orca and humpbacks The Frederick Sound area in Southeast Alaska is particularly renowned for bubble-net feeding humpbacks.

2. California

Cruise Highway 1 following the grey whale migration, stopping at headlands like Point Reyes to check for spouts.

3. Quebec

Stake out whale-watching viewpoints at Capde-Bon-Désir, Pointe Noire and Pointe des Monts on the St Lawrence River.

4. Azores

Once used by whalers, watchtowers on islands like Pico and Faial are now used by researchers and tourists.

5. Bay of Biscay

Catch a ferry between Portsmouth and Bilbao or Plymouth and Santander for a chance to spot up to 20 species of cetacean.

6. Scotland

Island-hop around the Hebrides and Shetlands on CalMac ferries for a glimpse of orca and

minke whales.

7. South Africa

A 12km stretch of low cliffs at Hermanus provides one of the world’s best vantage points for land-based whale watching.

8. Japan

Bryde’s whales come close inshore at Ogata, March–October.

9. South Australia

Bunda Cliffs on the Nullarbor coast offer superb views of southern right whales in the sea

70m below.

10. New South Wales

Humpbacks pass below the cliffs of Cape Byron, June–July.


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Wildlife Wishlist was founded by zoologist, conservationist and award-winning travel writer and photographer William Gray. Sharing his passion for wildlife and recommendations for responsible travel, Will has spent around 30 years tracking down the world's best wildlife holiday experiences.