Manly's not just a great holiday destination – it's also in a perfect location to check out the annual whale migration from May to November each year. Occasionally humpback whales take sanctuary in Manly Cove, often with a calf, and that's not unusual. Whales have been entering Sydney Harbour and its bays and estuaries for centuries – there's evidence of this at Balls Head in Wollstonecraft where ancient Aboriginal engravings depict the image of a large whale.
To spot a pod of whales, head to one of the coastal headlands around Manly or its nearby suburbs. The North Head Sanctuary on the tip of Manly peninsula features fantastic views out to sea, and the Fairfax Walk is an easy circuit connecting three whale- watching lookouts. From here, you can head back into Manly or take the Bluefish track to Shelley Beach. In nearby Mosman, Bradley's Head in the Sydney Harbour National Park also offers fantastic whale watching.
If you'd prefer to get a little more up close and personal to the migrating whale population, Manly Whale Watching runs cruises throughout the season. Late morning or early afternoon are considered the best times to see the whales, as there's less glare off the water, making it easier to see the whales' tell-tale blow!