Sydney's famed humpback whale visitors are once again turning on the charm during their annual migration.
One of the world's longest and most spectacular migrations is getting underway along Australia's east coast. From mid-May through to the end of November, humpback whales swim the 5000km journey to their breeding and calving grounds in the tropics.
It’s a migration that, conveniently, anyone can watch from vantage points along the NSW coast. But the most spectacular place to experience it must be Sydney where, on very special occasions, whales will frolic in front of a dramatic city skyline or cruise past suburban beaches so sunbathers can watch them from the comfort of their beach towels.
Professional wildlife photographer, Jonas Liebschner, has worked for 10 years with Whale Watching Sydney, which recently became a part of the NRMA. He has spent thousands of hours watching whales in both the seas off Sydney and inside Sydney Harbour, where he has photographed whales swimming all the way up to the Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge.
“My dream is to photograph a whale breaching in front of the Opera House,” he says. “I’ve come very close and on two occasions, I’ve watched whales swimming near to the Opera House. Unfortunately, they didn’t jump. But one day…”
Sydney is one of the few cities in the world the mammals visit frequently and the number of humpback whales entering the Harbour has increased in recent years. The species was protected in 1966, after almost 90 per cent were slaughtered by whale hunters, leaving a perilously small population of just 5000. Happily, today, numbers are increasing, and when you head out to sea on a Whale Watching Sydney cruise, you’re almost guaranteed to find one.