Our Latest News

Strong interest on Next Iconic Walk


The period to submit proposals for Tasmania's next world-class walking experience will be extended due to massive interest from across the State.More

Parks and Wildlife Service in tourism awards


Two key Parks and Wildlife Service enterprises have been listed as finalists in this year's Tasmanian Tourism Awards.More

Tasmania's Next Iconic Walk


The call is out to find Tasmania's next world-class walking experience.More

Caring for Wildlife

Whale Watching Guidelines

Humpback and Southern Right whales are the two most well known species that migrate north to breed during the winter months.

Humpbacks normally head as far north as Queensland waters to breed, whereas the Southern Rights are more normally found around Victorian and South Australian waters. As they move from the cooler Antarctic waters to the warmer areas they pass the Tasmanian coastline, with a peak period for whale sightings during June and July.

You can discover more about these magnificent creatures at our web page on whales and whale strandings

Reporting Sightings

When people report sightings of marine mammals it provides biologists with the Department of Primary Industries and Water the opportunity to record the time and location of these sightings and to find out more about the migratory behaviour of these species.

If you see whales in Tasmanian waters, please ring our whale sightings and strandings hotline (0427 WHALES or 0427 942 537). This information is vital. Not only are you adding knowledge of whales but you may even prevent whales from stranding.

Viewing Guidelines

The whale migration season offers a chance to have a glimpse at some of these spectacular creatures but it is important boat operators are aware of guidelines in place to protect public safety as well as the welfare of the animals. The guidelines include:

  • not approaching any closer in a boat than 100 m to a whale - recommended distance for boats moving at slow speed and with no wake (that is less than 8 knots)
  • vessels under steam should not approach any closer than 300 m
  • withdrawing immediately if the whale shows any kind of disturbance
  • adopting a slow speed while in the area
  • not approaching from the rear of the animal.

There are also restrictions on the height that aircraft can operate around whales. Fixed wing aircraft should fly no closer than 300 metres from a whale. Helicopters are prohibited whale viewing craft, and should go no closer than 1000 metres if in the vicinity.

For further information and to obtain a copy of the guidelines brochure:

Wildlife Management Branch
Department of Primary Industries and Water
134 Macquarie Street,
Hobart TAS 7001
Phone: 03 6165 4305
Fax: 03 6233 3477
Email: wildlife.reception@dpiwe.tas.gov.au

See the Department of Environment and Heritage website to view the Australian National Guidelines for Cetacean Observation and Areas of Special Interest for Cetacean Observation: www.deh.gov.au/coasts/publications/whale-watching-guidelines-2005.html