Head out on the (humpback) highway

Experience the breathtaking spectacle of the annual whale migration with self-confessed ocean enthusiast Dominic May.

Dominic May had been working in marine tourism in stunning locations such as Lord Howe, Heron and Stradbroke Islands for over a decade when he first came to Newcastle and “simply fell in love with this place.”

Dominic founded CoastXP, Newcastle’s premier whale watching touring company, had a fast, eco-tourism vessel built to his custom specifications and went about sharing his love for the ocean and its creatures with locals and visitors alike.

“We’ve really got everything here,” he says passionately. “There’s the rugged cliffs of the coastline, sea caves, shipwrecks, historic icons like the Catherine Hill Bay Jetty, but most importantly, we’ve got an abundance of marine life with pods of resident bottle nose dolphins, seabirds, turtles and seals during the cooler months. The highlight of course is the majestic display of the annual whale migration.”

The whale season starts in May with June and July being the peak months.

The small-group experience of a CoastXP Encounter Tour will get you up close and personal with humpback whales, one of the most inquisitive and interactive species of all marine mammals.

Dominic May is a self-confessed ocean enthusiast.

Down to a few hundred animals by the time whaling stopped in the 1960s, their numbers have increased steadily, and last year more than 35,000 whales passed Newcastle’s shores on their journey from the Antarctic to the warmer waters south of the equator and back.

Adult humpbacks grow up to 18 metres in length and can weigh up to 50 tonnes, even a newborn humpback baby will hit the scales at about two tonnes.

Read more about CoastXP in our Winter issue of Hunter & Coastal Lifestyle Magazine or subscribe here.

Photography courtesy of CoastXP