Fleurieu Peninsula

WhaleFest is Victor Harbor’s month-long celebration of Whale Season

With education and art at the forefront of the festival, WhaleFest celebrates the annual migration of Southern Right and Humpback whales to SA shores.

All images: South Australian Whale Centre

Each year Southern Right and Humpback Whales inhabit the coastline of Victor Harbor as they search for warmer waters during the winter months and with the first humpback sighting back in May, Whale Season is in full swing!

To celebrate, the 2022 Victor Harbor Whalefest is back with a whale of an event full of fun and educational activities!

Kicking off this Saturday June 11, the month and a half long celebration will burst to life with a Welcoming of the Whales Ceremony followed by a full day of family-friendly fun with live music, artisan markets, maritime talks and workshops.

Other happenings across the festival include movie screenings, maritime crafts for kids, marine workshops and even a sip and paint session.

A special event for this year’s NAIDOC Week will be held on Wednesday June 22nd held by Miwi-inyeri Pelepi-ambi Aboriginal Corporation and will see a smoking ceremony and Welcome to Country followed by a BBQ and family-friendly fun.

This tribute to the beautiful giants of the sea has been a regular occurrence on the Victor Harbor calendar for the past few years with people flocking to the seaside town to catch a glimpse of the majestic mammals.

“People head here every year to see the whales,” says Jeff Mogg – a volunteer at the Victor Harbor Tourist Information Centre.

“We usually see the Humpbacks come through first in late May, early June and then the Southern Right Whales follow.”

After spending the summer in Antarctic waters, the whales head North for the warmer waters of Australia where they stay until around September.

“The usual pattern is that they come late May and leave in September but over the past few years we’ve noticed they’ve been hanging around until mid-October,” says Jeff.

“We’ve also been seeing more humpbacks than normal. Usually Southern Right Whales make up the majority but more and more humpbacks seem to be appearing. We’re not really sure why, just an observation we’ve made,” he laughs.

So, what to know where the best place to spot a whale? Thought so, and Jeff has shared with us his local knowledge.

“There’s an area between Port Elliot and Middleton that we call ‘Nurseries’ which is where many of the nursing mums go to raise their calves and is a great spot to see the mums and bubs.

“However, we’ve noticed a tendency over the past few years  that an increasing number seem to be coming closer to Victor way and like to hang around in the Bay, really close to shore so now that’s become my favourite spot to go.”

The number of whales seen in Victor Harbor varies year to year but Jeff assures me it’s well over 100 with over a dozen visible on any given day.

Keep an eye out on the SA Whale Centre Sighting Log where specially trained whale spotters will keep you updated with all the whale activity in and around Victor.

While Victor Harbor is a hotspot for the gentle giants, whales can be seen all along the South Australian coast at this time of year so check out our guide to the top spots!

For more information and a full itinerary for Victor Harbor Whalefest click here.


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