Whale Watching Frequently Asked Questions
What types of whales will I see?
Humpbacks are the most commonly seen whales along the east coast. Occasionally we may also see Southern Right Whales, Minke Whales and Blue Whales. Plus, be on the look out for dolphins, seals, penguins and sea birds!
How close can we get to the whales?
There are strict guidelines on how close vessels of all kinds, from kayaks to cruise boats, can approach whales. It also depends if there are calves in the pod and the number of vessels in the area. As a guideline, the approach distance can range from 100m to 300m. This however does not stop whales from taking matters into their own hands for a closer look of us! At all times, Captain Cook Cruises operates with the safety and enjoyment of both our passengers and the whales.
What to bring
Layers! It will often feel colder at sea, so please ensure you dress according to the weather. And, don't forget to bring your camera as there will be plenty of photo ops on your cruise!
Will I get seasick?
This is an open water cruise and you will experience sea motion. We recommend you eat lightly before the cruise. Travel sickness tablets are generally most effective if taken prior to the cruise. View 7-day Wind & Wave Weather Forecast.
Do you guarantee sightings?
We have a whale sighting success rate of over 95%. In the unlikely event a whale is not sighted during the cruise, passengers are welcome to cruise again for free, in the same season.
Reconfirmation & Cancellation
Cruises are subject to cancellation due to weather & other operational requirements. Please call (02) 8062 3623 from 7:15am on the day of your cruise for the latest information. If your cruise is cancelled by us passengers may (1) rebook another Captain Cook Whale Watching Cruise in the same season or (2) seek a refund from the original place of purchase or (3) a credit can be made with Captain Cook Cruises towards another cruise within 12 months of original date of travel. If purchased through and agent, please refer to the agent's terms and conditions.
Is commentary included?
All Whale Watching Cruises include expert commentary from marine specialists with a passion for whales. We carry some of the most experienced commentators on Sydney Harbour.
Can I bring food and drinks onboard?
Yes, you are welcome to bring your own food and drinks onboard. We sell light snacks, soft drinks and water onboard.
Is the cruise wheelchair accessible?
Yes, our sea-going Whale Watching vessels are wheelchair accessible. View our Accessibility page for further details.
Are there bathrooms onboard?
Yes, all vessels are fitted with wheelchair accessible bathrooms.
Are seats assigned?
Seating is not assigned for sightseeing cruises. All vessels feature spacious outdoor and indoor seating. The starboard side is usually closest to the shore and the port side closest to the harbour action.
Are there facilities for children?
All children must be escorted by adults. Children are welcome to cruise, however please keep in mind that you are on a vessel for up to 3 hours and sometimes children do get restless. Infants under 4 years are free of charge but not recommended on open water cruises.
Visit our FAQ page for info on all scheduled cruises.