Whale Watching Afternoon


  • Afternoon Whale Watching Cruise operates daily
  • Morning cruise operates Sat-Sun
  • See Humpbacks & the occasional Southern Right whale during migration
  • Open water cruise through the entrance of Sydney Harbour aboard an ocean catamaran with open-air & all-weather lounge viewing
  • Whale Sighting Guaranteed or cruise again for FREE* (see more info for details)
  • 2hr 45min cruise with commentary

Need to know


Departs 20 May - 01 Nov 2017 Circular Quay Wharf No.6
Afternoon Cruise departs daily Depart 1.30pm, return approx. 4.15pm
Morning Cruise departs Sat-Sun Depart 10.15am, return approx. 1.00pm

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Afternoon cruises operate daily, while morning cruises depart on weekends only. 2016 proved to be an amazing year for whale watchers! Humpback sightings have continued to increase every year and these amazing mammals just love to show off with tail slapping, breaches, and even a close up wink when they are feeling extra curious. Don't miss this extraordinary opportunity to experience the gentle giants of the sea on their annual migration. 2017 pre-season sale on now. More Info ...

The whale species you are most likely to see along the New South Wales Coastline are

*Humpback Whale
*Southern Right Whale

Throughout June and July Humpback Whales head north for breading before return south with their calves from September to November.

Other whale species you may see include:

  • Minke Whale
  • Blue Whale
  • Sei Whale
  • Fin Whale
  • False Killer Whale
  • Orca or Killer Whale
  • Sperm Whale
  • Pygmy Right Whale
  • Pygmy Sperm Whale
  • Bryde’s Whale

Whales are highly social and intelligent mammals that have graced our oceans for our fifty million years.  They breath air, give birth to live young and suckle their calves through mammary glands.  Their streamlined bodies are insulated from the cold by thick layers of blubber. The largest species of whales were hunted almost to extinction and have survived only thanks to conservation and protection efforts. There are 86 recognised whale species. The largest animal on earth is the gigantic blue whale.  

Whales can travel immense distances to meet their food, mating and calving needs. Many make annual migrations from cold to warm climates for calving.

The Whales close cousin, the dolphin is second only to humans in intelligence. The degree of intelligence of whales and porpoises is still to be determined however, their sophisticated behaviour and ability to learn suggest they have a capacity for complex thinking.

Typical whale behaviour includes: Breaching, Spy Hop, Pectoral Fin Extension, Tail Slapping, Peduncle Slap, Tail Cocking, Tail Slash and Tail Swish, Pectoral Stroking and Pec Slapping all of which are explained on our About Whales - Whale Watching Guide.

What to bring
This is an open water cruise and you will experience sea motion. We recommend you eat lightly before and during the cruise. Travel sickness tablets are generally most effective if taken prior to the cruise. Please dress according to the weather - it will often feel colder at sea. Smoking is not permitted onboard.

Selection of soft drinks and snacks available for purchase on board, subject to change.

Whale Guarantee
We have a 95%+ success rate. The Whale Guarantee applies when a whale is not sighted during your cruise. Cruise again in the same season for free on Standby Basis confirmed 24 hours prior, subject to availability.

This Week's Predicted Comfort Levels & Weather
Passenger comfort is our priority. Waves, swell, winds & visibility can be very different outside the Harbour. We only operate when we believe you will enjoy the experience.

Passengers must complete a Contact Information form prior to cruising in case of emergency - submit online or download the form here & return by email to [email protected] after you have made your booking.

Daily Whale Sightings

Whale Images

Reconfirmation & Cancellation
As this is an open water cruise, names of all passengers and their individual contact details are required for each passenger. Cruises are subject to cancellation due to weather & other operational requirements. Please ring (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 afternoon 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 an agent, please refer to the agent’s terms &conditions. 

Special Conditions apply to all Special Offers

YOUR SAY CAPTAINS DINNER - My mum had the most amazing time and didn't want to get off the boat! Tatum, NSW

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Availability & Price Calendar - Legend

Rack Rate Special Offer Agent Only Nett



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93 % approval from 27 responses

4 months ago

Service: Originally booked Zoo / Whale watching cruise but was forced to terminate cruise after zoo visit as boat continuing on to whale watching was full (!). Being a family with two young kids we were left unimpressed. After complaining, we were given another set of tickets (as well as full refund - hence the "Good" rating) as compensation.

Product: Due to various reasons we never got to redeem the compensation tickets so unfortunately, we still don't know what the experience would be like. Would love to give it another shot next year, so perhaps we'll try again.

4 months ago

Service: Good value for money

Product: The guide was very knowledgable and amusing

5 months ago

Service: Brilliant trip I loved it

Product: Yet again, all I can say is thank you so much for the experience

5 months ago

Service: Good service on board

Product: Good commitment in looking for whales

5 months ago

Service: We enjoyed the service of Captain Crook. The employees were really enthusiastic and friendly.

Product: However, whale watching was a bit disappointing. We met a group of whale for about 15 minutes in 2.5 hours watching time. The rest we saw was breaching only.

Looking at other cruises, we would now prefer them as they were actually looking for and following whales, getting closer to them. Their customers definitely enjoyed it compared to us.

5 months ago

Service: The services were good we didn't pay for any extra service and greatly enjoyed the whale watch.

Product: The guide for the whale watch was wonderful he did his very best to make sure we saw a number of whales migrating out of Sydney harbor. He had an abundance of information regarding the area and the whales. Overall they did a fabulous job!

5 months ago

Service: Brilliant customer service - the guide for the trip was great.

Product: Brilliant - the captain seemed to know exactly when to follow and when to sit and wait and we saw lots of whales.

5 months ago

Very good service , quite happy to do it again

5 months ago

Service: Very cheerful helpful staff. Great commentary.

Product: we had a very entertaining afternoon and the whales were very accommodating coming right up close to us.

5 months ago

Service: good

Product: good

5 months ago

Service: Very poor service, the ticket collection was very confusing I had to provide contact information that was confusing.

Also the crew on the boat didn't seem to care that many people were sick and had nothing to offer, I was concerned someone would fall overboard, I don't think the crew were alert to this.

Product: Didn't really see anything

5 months ago

Service: Loudspeaker quality could have been a bit better. And with so many international guests, maybe delivery could be a bit slower. I am Anglo-Saxon though not Austrlian and I didn't always catch what was being said.

Product: See above. Much info, many whales--good afternoon!

5 months ago

Service: I would recommend this cruise

Product: We had a wonderful afternoon and enjoyed watching the many whales that we saw. Thanks to all the crew

5 months ago

Service: Prompt, friendly.

Product: We had an excellent afternoon whale watching! Saw lots if whales close up and crew were very informative and friendly. Would recommend highly!

5 months ago

Service: Friendly efficient staff. Clean boats and did what I wanted to do with my time in Sydney

Product: Wow! I saw whales! Great trip and was particularly impressed with the fact the skipper was wearing breast cancer ribbon shoulder stripes...as a survivor that meant a lot to me personally. Thanks for making my stay in Sydney one to remember.

5 months ago

Service: Booking was really easy (online), check in staff friendly and efficient. Very happy.

Great value for money.

Product: Had an awesome trip, skipper and crew were spot on and the whales were simply amazing!

Just one niggle - and it's not your fault! Another operator was using the same boarding warf as CC and came in about 5 mins before our trip. Naturally we all started lining up and the host had to shout to get back (he was a little rude - I think he was trying to be funny!). Perhaps some signs or different wait areas would help!

Your crew were great - friendly, welcoming and very accommodating. Had an absolutely magnificent time......... thanks.

5 months ago

Service: thoroughly enjoyed the cruise

Product: faqntastic!

6 months ago

Service: Great time

Product: Great time

6 months ago

Service: Enjoyable afternoon...a bit on the wavy and chilly side, but good views of the wildlife

Product: Were able to catch site of several whales! Would of loved one to come closer to our boat, but we respect their space and understand.

6 months ago

Service: Departure screen on dock did not include our departure which resulted in concern/confusion. I had to ask a company service agent about this to be told that this is normal and that I should listen for announcements. However, these were not completely clear.

Product: Excellent guide. The (relatively high) number of people on the boat occasionally made it difficult to get a good photo of the whales.

6 months ago

Service: Staff friendly and supportive. Amazing Water Craft and expert handling.

Product: Mother and Baby who could ask for more came up Fifty feet away beautiful experience, Best Birthday Present Ever, thankyou and see you again

6 months ago

Service: I suspect that the cruise we were on sailed in marginal conditions in that the captain spent the time until we were through the heads, warning of sea sickness. Neither my wife or I suffered from sea-sickness but when the boat speed was reduced. the movement was extreme.

Product: We sailed out 13km and all I saw was two spouts but no whales. My wife saw nothing. There was no chance to take photos. We were also advised that whales were at 10 km out and we would go back to find them but nothing further was said. A very disappointing cruise that we wouldn't recommend.

6 months ago

We where very pleased with the captain explaining the possibility of large waves and offering anyone the choice of changing dates to wait for a calmer day.

6 months ago

Service: All good.

Product: All good.

6 months ago

Service: Staff are very helpful from booking right through

Product: Despite the conditions enjoyed it. The crew looked after every one top marks

6 months ago

Service: Great service.

Product: Great experience and knowledgeable guide.

6 months ago

Service: The Crew were wonderful, the boat was very comfortable

Product: The six of us had a wonderful afternoon - of course we would have liked more whales, up closer, but we did see some - and it was a great thrill.

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