Tours and Tickets
Whale Watching Sydney - 3hr Discovery Cruise
4

Whale Watching Sydney - 3hr Discovery Cruise

By Fantasea Cruising
About
Between May and November, thousands of humpback whales pass through Sydney on their long journey from Antarctica to the tropics. Learn about these gentle giants from a marine biologist as you sail the high seas on a whale-watching cruise. Listen to whales through a hydrophone (weather permitting); see the sights of Sydney Harbour from the water.
from
AU$109.00
per adult
Lowest price guaranteeReserve now & pay laterFree cancellation

Ages 0-99, max of 190 per group
Duration: 3h
Start time: Check availability
Mobile ticket
Meets animal welfare guidelines
Live guide: English
More

Highlights
  • Look for humpback whales aboard a classic catamaran, with onboard bar
  • Get insights into whale behavior from a professional marine biologist
  • Hear haunting whale song through a hydrophone, when conditions permit
  • Tea or coffee and a snack are included

  • Three hour Whale Watching cruise.
  • Complimentary coffee and tea
  • Commentary by experienced crew.
  • Professional photographer onboard
What's not included
  • Whale pictures from your cruise (available to purchase)
  • Drinks (available to purchase)


Start:
  • Circular Quay Wharf 6, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
    Cruises depart from Circular Quay - Wharf 6. Our ticket office is the last one on the left hand side of the wharf. Cruises also depart from Darling Harbour - Aquarium wharf. Please select at time of booking
End:This activity ends back at the meeting point.

    • Wheelchair accessible
    • Stroller accessible
    • Service animals allowed
    • Near public transportation
    • Transportation is wheelchair accessible
    If you have questions about accessibility, we’d be happy to help. Just call the number below and reference the product code: 6793P2

    • If you suffer from motion sickness it is strongly recommended that you consult a doctor before traveling
    • Most travellers can participate
    • This experience requires good weather. If it’s cancelled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund
    • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 190 travellers

    • For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.

    Which attractions will I visit with Whale Watching Sydney - 3hr Discovery Cruise?
    How much is Whale Watching Sydney - 3hr Discovery Cruise?
    Whale Watching Sydney - 3hr Discovery Cruise price starts from AU$111.89. Discover and book Whale Watching Sydney - 3hr Discovery Cruise on Tripadvisor
    What is the Whale Watching Sydney - 3hr Discovery Cruise cancellation policy?
    Whale Watching Sydney - 3hr Discovery Cruise cancellation policy: For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience. Discover and book Whale Watching Sydney - 3hr Discovery Cruise on Tripadvisor
    Which company provides Whale Watching Sydney - 3hr Discovery Cruise?
    Whale Watching Sydney - 3hr Discovery Cruise is hosted by Fantasea Cruising. Read reviews, discover additonal experiences or contact Fantasea Cruising on Tripadvisor. Discover and book Whale Watching Sydney - 3hr Discovery Cruise on Tripadvisor

    If you have questions about this tour or need help making your booking, we’d be happy to help. Just call the number below and reference the product code: 6793P2

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    About the operator
    Don’t take it from us – here’s what people have to say about this operator:
    • Fantasea Cruising
      595
      Australia
      Joined in October 2013
    • J Mark F
      0 contributions
      Zoo
      I wish I had known how hilly it was. Just too much for our age. We would not do it again. Ont the other hand we enjoyed the seal show, and the bird show.
      Written 17 February 2024
    • DMR-2011
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      Great Experience!
      This was a great experience. The combo pass was great and the location to pick up the tickets was easy to find. Staff there and on the boats were great. The Taronga Zoo was one of the prettiest we’ve ever seen. The views across the harbor were amazing. Highly recommend this tour!
      Written 11 February 2024
    • Kyra P
      0 contributions
      Awful!
      We booked to see the fireworks over the opera house on Australia Day and it was absolute shambles. The wharf was ridiculously busy with little to no organisation. We arrived early to ensure we knew where we were going. I showed a fantasea worker my ticket and was told to wait in another line due to our boat being the second one to leave from the harbour (first being 6:45pm, ours being 7pm). Once it was our lines turn to board I was then told I should have been on the first boat even though my ticket specifically stated 7pm (not 6:45pm). The worker got very argumentative and explained it was our fault however the company was the one to change our timings without letting us know. The email that was supposedly sent to me was then made apparent they spelt the email address completely wrong and therefore again the company was at fault. With this in mind the worker that evening decided to persist being rude, repetitive in his argumentative comments, antagonising me and my partner, causing lots of unnecessary upset and generally trying to escalate the situation. So much so, that a family behind us in the line stood up for us and told the man he was in the wrong. We had no apology and were still made to feel as though it was our fault. We eventually got on the boat to then find out we had paid double what a lot of other passengers had paid.
      Written 26 January 2024
    • jimsearle27
      0 contributions
      NYE cruise from Manly was absolutley appalling.
      Fantasea Cruising Sydney NYE cruise from Manly was absolute crap. Absolute crap. Did the Manly NYE cruise tonight and it was an absolutely appalling experience, due to the complete lack of organisation. . Hundreds of people crammed into a very small wharf area for almost an hour - with two boats worth of passengers all mingled together, no coordination or communication from crews. Only one person was checking these hundreds of people in and allocating wrist bands, again with no comms on the boat boarding procedure. As people were starting to get really angry, they opened a gate about 2 metres across and hundreds of people shuffled down onto a narrow gangway - with no communication on which boat would be boarding first or when. The passengers should be held in two separate areas or divided in some way to make the boarding process quicker and less chaotic. Once on board, there were no apologies for the appalling hour people had just spent trying to get on the boat. The boat also had very small outside viewing areas, so viewing was limited. One of the small areas at the rear of the boat was next to the toilets - only three of them for several hundred people - which were not flushing. So not only did you have a cr4ppy view, you had a matching odour to accompany it There are hundreds of other Sydney NYE cruises. Choose anyone of them, they have to be better than this. The fireworks are amazing - this terrible experience is not the way to see them.
      Written 15 January 2024
    • 276vijayb
      0 contributions
      Low end experience
      We went for the 9pm fireworks cruise on Dec 31st. The check in process was absolutely inefficient. After having paid for the cruise online, we still had to stand in a line for 30 mins to get our wristbands along with people who were in line for tickets, so no real benefit of buying online. The cruise anchored in a spot where we couldn't see the Harbor bridge or the light show on opera house. Other cruises were in the bay with a great view.
      Written 8 January 2024
    • 757ChrisW
      0 contributions
      Seas the Day
      Unforgettable Sydney Harbour cruise, 2 hours of scenic beauty, and thanks to Booking.com vouchers, it was a free and fantastic experience!
      Written 6 January 2024
    • Cherece
      0 contributions
      Hop on Hop Off
      This is good way to get an overview of the city. You will have a chance to explore the red and the blue route.
      Written 25 December 2023
    • AbiralBaniya
      0 contributions
      Fantasea is Fantastic
      I took taronga zoo ticket plus 48 hour pass for AUD 84.14. It included unlimited rides plus self-service tea & coffee via their vending machine in this time frame. At the end, I realised this deal was a real bargain. The boats are clean & comfortable, the crew is friendly, the commentary were informative, the harbour views are always amazing, we could spot dolphins during our ride from Watson bay to Manly bay...got all as advertised by Fantasea. I needed to reschedule my second day i.e. move my free ride day to the third day. They accommodated my request without hassle. A big thank you. I have seen a few negative comments by other customers. I hope Fantasea would take steps to address for any genuine complaints. For me, I would definitely take Fantasea again when I visit Sydney the next time.
      Written 15 December 2023
    • K1187HCcraigc
      0 contributions
      Great Value Day
      In the harbour views are always amazing and the mix of animals in the zoo was great including the koala experience. The Fantsea boat was spacious and very comfortable. Only slight negative is needing more round trips in the day to Manly and Watsons Bay in the schedule.
      Written 3 December 2023
    • Julia P
      0 contributions
      Do not waste your time or money.
      Heaps more expensive than the regular Sydney /PTV NSW ferries and runs a really limited timetable - of just 8 services a day between 8.45 and 17.00. Bought a Taronga Zoo / 24 hour ferry pass combo and had to catch a regular ferry to the zoo because we couldn’t find where Fantasea ferries departed from. Couldn’t cancel tickets even though we didn’t use them because their 24 hours start at midnight (even though their ferries don’t run then). Got to the zoo to find that we should have got entry vouchers from Fantasea so had issues getting into zoo. On our return trip, couldn’t use the tickets we bought because their LAST ferry left BEFORE the zoo closed. Just pay your $8 a day to catch all 9 NSW PTV ferry services that run from before 6am to after midnight. Waste of time and money.
      Written 26 November 2023
    • anniecat1242
      0 contributions
      Had a nice time
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    • bwimom
      0 contributions
      Poor customer service - look for other options to get to the zoo!
      We were willing to pay a little more to get the round trip ferry trip from Darling Harbor to the zoo - as opposed to just paying separately and using Sydney transport. We were given a schedule of when the ferry would run to and from the zoo. We decided to take the 16:00 ferry from the zoo to Darling Harbor. When the ferry got there, the captain got off and said he couldn’t take any more passengers and we’d have to wait another 1/2 hour for the next boat. No apology or anything. We decided to just take the other ferry company’s ferry back rather than sit there waiting for what was going to be the last ferry and which might also have been full. When we called the company they offered no apology or any kind of refund. They wanted proof we took another kind of transport. Well I still have my unused ticket for their ferry. All in all - no apology and terrible customer service . You have many choices to get to the zoo from Sydney - I don’t recommend this one.
      Written 1 November 2023
    • Carlos P
      0 contributions
      This trip will make you vomit!
      The operator failed to inform their customers before they booked that the waters are very rough so people can proactively take Dramamine or not book at all. People were vomiting left and right. And all to see a very small part of a whale in the very far distance. A total rip-off! You’re better off watching the movie “Free Willy”.
      Written 10 October 2023
    • WendiMitchell60
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      Wow!
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      Written 26 September 2023
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      Written 19 September 2023
    See all 595 reviews
    These reviews are the subjective opinions of Tripadvisor members and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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    4.0
    81 reviews
    Excellent
    43
    Very good
    14
    Average
    12
    Poor
    5
    Terrible
    7

    Catherine R
    1 contribution
    Nov 2023 • Family
    Absolutely disgraceful experience. Do not entertain this company at all . They took us out to sea knowing how dangerous the conditions were . Approximately 70 % of the passengers were throwing up everywhere! The toilets were covered in sick and unusable. The upper deck should have been cordoned off due to the weather conditions as people were falling everywhere. I fell down the stairs and as I am currently recovering from cancer this was the last thing I needed.
    We were supposed to have free tea and coffee but that didn’t transpire and I was even charged for water !
    An absolutely awful experience never ever to be repeated .
    I contacted the company on the 11 th of November and after chasing via email I still have not had a response to my complaint. Disgraceful.
    Written 23 November 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

    Vacation44444034704
    1 contribution
    July 2023 • Family
    We had a very calm day. It was wonderful cruising out to sea. We were 2 adults and 2 small children. We saw many humpback whales swimming along. and bonus dolphins. We were very lucky to see the whales breach a few times and some great flukes! Some great photo opportunities.
    Kids loved it (when not unwell). I brought along some snacks and I was very glad I did. The tea/coffee was not anywhere to be seen. The kiosk was not open. (I heard other parents had expected to buy their kids some items on board). I did not hear any commentary though and I spent a lot of the cruise inside with a seasick child. Staff were friendly and efficient.
    Written 9 July 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

    Passport22035703875
    1 contribution
    Oct 2023 • Solo
    Unfortunately due to weather conditions the trip was cut short and we had to return to the dock. We were given a voucher for the nxt whale season. Staff were grt though and the rough weather added a bit of excitement
    Written 12 November 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

    ChenSiRen
    Singapore, Singapore115 contributions
    The cruise ship was stable & clean. The guide was informative & witty in sharing his knowledge. We managed to catch quite a few sights of whales actions. Gathering point for boarding & disembark is conveniently located at Darling Harbour.
    Written 13 June 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

    JDL
    8 contributions
    Oct 2019 • Couples
    It’s always tricky reviewing an experience - especially one involving the unpredictabilities of wildlife. To what extent am I rating the service provided and to what extent am I rating my enjoyment of the particular activity? In reality it is difficult to separate the two.

    This was the most unpleasant 2 hours I have endured in recent memory.

    My husband and I boarded the whale watching cruise boat full of expectation. During the safety briefing the crew warned us that the water outside the bay was choppy, however at this point the trip was already in motion. As we left the harbour it became evident this was no exaggeration.

    I have never been seasick in my life, however I rapidly became nauseous and descended to the lower back of the boat as per recommendations in the briefing. As I became increasingly worse my husband grabbed a sick bag for me. I slid my hand inside the bag to open it and discovered it was already used and wet. Its contents? Saliva and used chewing gum.

    As the boat was tossed about by the waves, I threw up from seasickness for the first time in my life. Too late to grab an untainted sick bag. My husband began to feel extremely nauseous too, having never experienced any form of travel sickness before. We staggered outside to the back of the boat in need of air, where we remained for the last 90 minutes, clutching the rails. At this point I should note it was barely possible to walk a single step without holding on with two hands.

    I felt so ill all I can remember is clinging to the rail and using all my inner resources to control gastroesophageal activity. My husband however relayed to me what can only be described as an apocalyptic scene. Here are a few highlights:

    1. One poor mum was repeatedly vomiting into a bag. Having handed her baby to her other half, the baby then vomited all over him. By this point the staff were handing out sick bags and sick sweets in every direction. The skipper continued the cruise undeterred.
    2. A fellow captive projectile vomited all over the deck missing the sick bag completely. At this point all retching passengers surrounded us as staff attempted to clear chunks from the deck with a water hose.
    3. Of course the toilets were also on the back deck. My husband watched as at least a dozen passengers (probably more) desperately entered, most holding used sick bags. Those too sick to move were pinned to the deck floor-you guessed it-clutching sick bags.

    Every time a whale plume was spotted our hearts sank - another hopeless pursuit as the boat lurched across the waves in chase of whale sprays. More nauseous passengers descended to the makeshift sick bay.

    I cannot tell you how glad we both were when this horrifying experience was over. Stepping off the boat we staggered back to our hotel to shower and scrub ourselves of this experience. To my horror as I removed my backpack I discovered it was covered in vomit. For reasons I need not recount, I know this did not belong to me. Yes, this was someone else’s vomit.

    I began my review by noting the complexities involved in separating the service provided from the chosen activity.

    Was it Fantaseas fault that the waves were incredibly choppy? No.
    Was it Fantaseas fault that we saw no more than a couple of plumes and a distant tail? No.

    Was it Fantaseas fault that they didn’t cancel the cruise despite the conditions?
    I think everyone on that cruise would have said, quite frankly, yes.
    Was it Fantaseas fault for not warning us of the conditions at sea, allowing us to make an informed decision? Most definitely, yes.

    I’m afraid if you run a business that relies so heavily upon weather conditions, you have to ensure your business model makes allowances for such eventualities, including if you have to cancel at your expense. In reality, the cruise should have been cancelled. The conditions were not suitable for it to proceed. I’d estimate that at least a quarter of the passengers were sick during our time at sea. Looking around as we exited the boat, no one appeared to enjoy the experience.

    And the whales? Frankly we weren’t in a fit state to look in any other direction other than the one facing home. A few plumes and a barely discernible tale popped up in the distance. Not enough to justify leaving us feeling sick for the rest of the day as we collapsed in our hotel room.

    Proceed with extreme caution.
    Written 9 October 2019
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

    netscapenavigator
    Mumbai, India151 contributions
    Oct 2018 • Solo
    This is the high point of downtown Sydney. Even if you have only a few hours. The boat ride gives you a completely different perspective. It might sound a bit touristy because of the `guaranteed sighting' pamphlet but the ride is an experience in itself as it gives you an opportunity to see the whales in their natural habitat as they migrate from Antartica up north to feed and breed. You do not need to feel guilty about this as the operators are very environment conscious and the boat captains are quite mature and do not hassle the whales but go to where they are sighted and wait patiently. I took the smaller 30-seater speed boat (a rescue vessel actually) from Darling Harbour. It starts from the pier off Madame Tussauds, sails below the harbour bridge, past the Opera House and alongside the sandstone cliffs to the swelling sea. Given that visibility is pretty good, Leon the captain had a good eye and the fact that whales being mammals need to come up frequently ensured that we got to see the whales in all their barnacled glory. We got to see a mom and a calf, another set of three whales including a juvenile. On the way back we got to sea a family of wild seals nestling along the cliffs near the lighthouse.
    Written 30 October 2018
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

    megdot84
    8 contributions
    Nov 2019 • Couples
    Seeing two sets of mom/calf humpback whales was incredible! They were breaching and flapping for so long we were in amazement. We also saw a large school of bottlenose dolphins, which was beautiful.

    This tour however is not for those who can be or have been seasick. It is very rocky the whole time.

    For me, seeing the whales was worth the rockiness though. One of the most incredible experiences I’ve ever witnessed.

    Attached are photos from the tour, taken by the tour - the photo package was totally worth it. This combined with the videos we captured on our phones is a fabulous keepsake!
    Written 17 November 2019
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
    Hello megdot84, Persistence and whales do sometimes go hand in hand, but I am so glad you had an amazing experience. thanks for the kind words about out trip Regards,
    Written 9 December 2019
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

    DUYGU A
    Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates8 contributions
    We joined to whale watching cruise and it was a lifetime experience. We were lucky enough to see 2 different grpup of whale, 4-5 of each group. The water was rough that day, if you are scared of water, think twice. The captain was so informative about the whales and the boat was pretty clean. I definitely recommend this tour if you wanna see these amazing animals. And somehow if you don't see them on that tour, they offer you a free tour for next tour.
    Written 30 October 2019
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

    Ian B
    Zurich25 contributions
    Sept 2019 • Solo
    I wasn't expecting to see much as friends of mine had said it was a bit hit and miss. I mean they are wild animals. However not only did I see close up humpback whales but also common dolphins and a feeding ball. It was a fantastic experience, unfortunately I was sea sick and so could not take photos. However the staff were great when they found out, and helped me recover giving good advice to stay low on the boat and at the back. Plus the sea breeze helps as well. In addition the ginger sweet was great in helping calm the stomach. I can't imagine it is nice to look after someone with sea sickness but the staff were great with me.

    The knowledge demonstrated by the staff about the whales and other animals was very good as well.

    I would highly recommend this company to see whales.
    Written 15 September 2019
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

    Sim Yen
    Singapore, Singapore268 contributions
    Aug 2019
    Staff did their best keeping a running commentary and trying to find a whale for the trip. Sighting wasn't great but there is. The windy conditions made for a choppy ride although the captain do try to keep the boat towards the waves. Daughter enjoyed it even though she said she only saw a small bit of whale. I was basically seasick once the boat started pitching, so I'll have to take her word for it.
    You get a complimentary drink and snack for this cruise, so quite worthwhile if you do not get seasick.
    Written 22 August 2019
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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    Whale Watching Sydney - 3hr Discovery Cruise provided by Fantasea Cruising