The whale migration season has begun and, with increasing numbers of Humpback whales sighted over the last few years, another great whale watching season is expected off Phillip Island throughout the winter months. In celebration of this exciting season, Phillip Island's Wildlife Coast Cruises, in partnership with Phillip Island Nature Parks and the Dolphin Research Institute, is hosting the inaugural Winter Whale Weekend; a host of special events and opportunities for close encounters with majestic migrating whales, to be held on the Queen's Birthday Weekend, from 11th – 13th June 2016.
Each winter humpback whales make their way along the Victorian coastline on their northerly migration from Antarctica to the east coast of Australia. Phillip Island's coastal landscape including Grossard Point, The Nobbies, Pyramid Rock, Cape Woolamai and further afield at San Remo, Kilcunda, and Cape Paterson all provide great vantage points for locals and visitors to spot a whale from June all the way through until September.
The 2016 Winter Whale Weekend will kick off the migration season with a series of events and encounters for the whole family including:
Talk to the Experts @ Antarctic Journey
Visitors can enjoy hands on family fun, experts' talks on marine wildlife, and take a virtual trip to Antarctica at the world's first interactive Antarctic experience. The Antarctic Journey takes visitors on a three-level walk through adventure that provides a virtual and educational insight into the wonderful world of the Southern Ocean and Antarctic. The Antarctic Journey features state of the art multimedia technology including an augmented reality screen which allows visitors to appear as though they are patting a penguin, playing with a seal or within arm's reach of a magnificent whale.
When: Saturday 11th June. Enjoy the Antarctic Journey from 11am – 1pm and stay for the talk on marine wildlife from 2pm until 4pm.
Where: The Nobbies, 1320 Ventnor Road, Summerlands, Victoria
How: For more information visit www.penguins.org.au or phone 03 5951 2800
Whale Out of Water
Kids of all ages will love climbing into the giant inflatable whale at the YMCA Phillip Island Leisure Centre during the Winter Whale Weekend.
When: Sunday 12th June at 2pm, 3pm & 4pm
Where: YMCA Phillip Island Leisure Centre, 10 – 14 Church Street, Cowes
How: For more information and to book your session visit www.wildlifecoastcruises.com.au
Winter Whale Cruises
The Winter Whale Cruise will run on Saturday, Sunday and Monday for the Winter Whale Weekend. As well as searching for the great whales, whale watchers will have a very high chance of seeing playful dolphins and will also visit Seal Rocks to enjoy the spectacle of thousands of fur seals frolicking, gaze at beautiful sea birds like the Shy Albatross with its awe inspiring 2.5 metre wingspan and take in the spectacular coastal scenery of Phillip Island including The Nobbies, Pyramid Rock and Cape Woolamai. The cruise includes morning tea and a hearty lunch of soup and sandwiches.
When: Departing at 9.30am on Saturday, Sunday and Monday for the Winter Whale Weekend and every Saturday and Sunday throughout June, July and August, plus mid-week cruises during the school holidays.
Where: The Winter Whale Cruise departs from Cowes Jetty, 11 – 13 The Esplanade, Cowes
How: For bookings and more information visit www.wildlifecoastcruises.com.au
Adding to the Winter Whale Weekend family fun will be whale movie screenings (at the Parish Hall in Cowes), photography exhibitions, recycled ocean art activities and fabulous prizes to be won!
To stay up to detail with all the Winter Whale Weekend details visit www.wildlifecoastcruises.com or phone 1300 763 739.
Follow on social media at: www.facebook.com/WinterWhaleWeekend
Whale watchers who spot one of the beautiful creatures are encouraged to report any sightings to the Whale Hotline on 0487 745 066.
The Winter Whale Weekend will be run by Wildlife Coast Cruises in partnership with Phillip Island Nature Parks and the Dolphin Research Institute. The event is supported by Destination Phillip Island, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Australian Orca Database, Parks Vic and DELWP.