Think back to some of your most memorable travel experiences and odds are it’s not a hotel, restaurant or tour that springs to mind, it’s a wildlife encounter. There’s something uniquely captivating about observing and interacting with animals, particularly when they’re ones you can’t easily see at home. With more than 2000km of beach-fringed coastline and vast swathes of rust-red Outback, Australia’s New South Wales (NSW) has countless opportunities to have a memory-making animal experience. Here are some of the best.
Jervis Bay is one of the only places in Australia you can swim with humpback whales. This sheltered bay three hours’ drive south of Sydney is the halfway point for the whales’ epic 5000km annual migration between Antarctica and the South Pacific. The whales head north between April and July but your best chance of swimming with them is when they return south in September and October. Dive Jervis Bay offers whale watching and swimming tours and if you’re lucky you may also see the bay’s resident population of fur seals, penguins and bottlenose dolphins. divejervisbay.com
Port Stephens is Australia’s undisputed dolphin capital, home to NSW’s biggest marine park and a large population of curious common and bottlenose dolphins. Located 2.5 hours’ drive north of Sydney, it’s a region that’s almost unfairly blessed with magnificent national parks, 26 pristine beaches and the largest coastal sand dunes in the Southern Hemisphere. To get a closer look at its most famous residents, sign up for a tour with Dolphin Swim Australia from September to May. dolphinswimaustralia.com.a
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