Whales of Western Australia: Feeding Habits, and Prime Viewing Spots

Whale watching in Western Australia’s pristine coastline offers a unique opportunity to witness the awe-inspiring world of whales. These magnificent creatures have long captured the imagination of people worldwide, and Western Australia provides one of the best places to observe them up close. In this article, we’ll delve into the feeding habits of whales in Western Australia, their proximity to the shore, their diet, and the prime locations to watch these giants of the sea.

Whale Species in Western Australia:

Western Australia is home to several species of whales, with the most commonly observed ones being humpback and southern right whales. Humpback whales are known for their impressive annual migrations, while southern right whales are famous for their distinctive callosities, or rough patches of skin, on their heads.

Feeding Habits:

The feeding habits of these majestic creatures are a spectacle in their own right. Humpback whales are filter feeders, primarily consuming krill and small fish. These behemoths use a unique method called bubble-net feeding, where they blow a wall of bubbles to trap their prey, then swim through the trapped school of fish and devour them. Southern right whales, on the other hand, are skim feeders, filtering food particles through the baleen plates in their mouths.

Proximity to the Shore:

One of the remarkable aspects of Western Australia is how close these whales come to the shore. From May to December, humpback whales migrate along the coast, passing as close as a few hundred meters from the shore. This proximity offers a remarkable opportunity for land-based whale watching, allowing enthusiasts to witness their breathtaking displays of breaching, tail-slapping, and spy-hopping.

Diet of Whales:

Understanding the diet of whales is crucial to appreciating their role in the marine ecosystem. Humpback whales predominantly feed on small prey such as krill, plankton, and small fish. Their feeding habits help regulate the populations of these smaller marine organisms, maintaining the delicate balance of the underwater food chain. Southern right whales, too, feed on zooplankton, krill, and small fish, contributing to the health of the marine environment.

Prime Whale Watching Locations:

Western Australia boasts numerous locations where you can watch these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat:

  1. Ningaloo Reef: Located on the state’s Coral Coast, this World Heritage-listed site is renowned for its whale shark and humpback whale encounters. Tour operators offer boat and snorkeling trips to get up close to these giants.
  2. Bremer Bay: Known as the ‘Orca Capital of the World,’ Bremer Bay is a prime location for spotting orcas, humpback whales, and southern right whales. The annual orca season, from January to April, is a must-see event for any wildlife enthusiast.
  3. Albany: This historic coastal town in the Great Southern region is an excellent place to spot southern right whales during their annual migration. The breathtaking cliffs of Torndirrup National Park provide a fantastic vantage point for whale watchers.
  4. Broome: Situated on the Kimberley coast, Broome offers the opportunity to see humpback whales during their migration. The warm waters of the Indian Ocean make it a popular destination for whale enthusiasts.
  5. Perth and Fremantle: You don’t have to venture far from the city to witness whales. Perth and its neighboring city of Fremantle offer excellent shore-based viewing opportunities, especially during the humpback whale migration season.


Whales in Western Australia are more than just magnificent marine creatures; they are vital components of the region’s rich marine ecosystem. Their feeding habits, proximity to the shore, and role in maintaining the balance of marine life make them a fascinating subject for observation. Western Australia’s picturesque coastal locations provide unparalleled opportunities to watch these majestic giants in their natural habitat, a truly awe-inspiring experience for all who have the chance to witness it.

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