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Whale Watching

Humpback Whale Breaching
Humpback Whale Surfacing
Breaching Whale
Whale Tail Spotted on a Boat Tour
A Whale surfaces Near a Kayaker

Newfoundland and Labrador is one of the most spectacular whale watching places in the world. 22 species of whales, including the minke, sperm, pothead, blue, orca, and the world's largest population of humpbacks, feed on capelin, krill and squid along the coast. Between May and September, these whales can be seen breaching the surface of the water and playing along our shores. Catching a single glimpse of these huge and majestic mammals is an exciting and awesome experience whether it's from the rail of a boat tour, the side of your sea kayak or hiking a seaside trail on land.

Along the way, you'll see caves, waterfalls, and the majesty of the Newfoundland and Labrador coastline including icebergs, seabirds, and other wildlife.

Icebergs, Whales and Birds – the Triple Play!

Triple Play Map

For tourists keen on viewing whales and seabirds, it should be noted that they migrate north in the late spring and early summer – and can often be plentiful through to early fall. The opposing southerly iceberg migration allows for brief intervals where all three may happily coexist. This spectacle is not entirely uncommon but should not necessarily be expected by sightseers even when travelling at the optimal time of year. Many factors affecting timing, location, and populations naturally vary from year to year, so it's hard to be accurate.

How to Watch

By Boat

What better way to see a whale than to sail to meet one – or more – at sea? Our boat tour operators allow you to do just that, and they know exactly where to find the closest pod. It's not uncommon for a whale or porpoise to investigate a visiting boat; sometimes, you can look over the railing and see a whale – many metres in length – swimming gracefully under your vessel.

By Sea Kayak

This is as close as you'll get to swimming with a whale, porpoise or dolphin. A sea kayak tour offers the information, safety, and entertainment of a boat tour, with the closeness and intimacy of a kayak. Our ocean kayaking operators will take you as far as safely possible to caves, inlets, icebergs, and whales.

By Land

If your sea legs are out of practice, you can see pods of whales while hiking or walking along seaside trails, rugged cliffs, and sandy beaches. Look out from a cliffside peak and see the tails of humpbacks splashing in the sea. Or picnic alongside the ocean to get a fine view of whales and porpoises swimming nearby – no binoculars needed.

Whales can be seen in all bays along the coastline. Some spectacular viewing sites by land are Signal Hill, Cape Spear, Trinity, Cape Bonavista, Twillingate, White Bay, Strait of Belle Isle, St. Vincent's, Cape St. Mary's, Cape Race, Witless Bay, and St. Anthony.

Hot Spots

Location data provided by the operator. Please confirm location before departure.

Whale Species

Humpback

The world's largest population of feeding humpback whales is found here. Migrating from the Caribbean, they spend from April to October in the waters off Newfoundland and Labrador. They are often seen "breaching" or jumping out of the water and crashing into the waves.

Minke

Common in the bays of Newfoundland and Labrador, this is the smallest baleen whale. Unlike other whales, the minke's tail does not show when it dives to feed on capelin, mackerel or herring, and it will spend very little time on the surface before swimming deep under water for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. You'll see these whales in summer and early fall.

Pothead (Pilot)

Named for its thick pot-shaped head, these small toothed whales often travel in large groups of up to 100. They love to feed on squid and fish during summer and early fall.

Fin

This large baleen is the second largest of the whales. They travel further offshore than the humpbacks and minkes. And they can travel in packs of up to eight.

Sperm

The largest of the toothed whales, the sperm, has a wrinkled body that is dark brown or grey in colour. A blowhole in the shape of the letter "S" sits on the left side of its head, producing a bushy spout that extends beyond its front.

Blue

The blue whale is the largest mammal that has ever lived on earth – a whopping 21 to 28 metres long. This baleen whale is most abundant on the southwest coast of Newfoundland, especially during the winter months.

Orca (Killer Whale)

This well-known toothed whale can be seen off of Newfoundland and Labrador in the summer months. Look out for a stout, glossy, black and white body – and a big set of teeth.

White-beaked Dolphin

These dolphins have a dark grey body, a short white nose, white patches in front of and behind its dorsal fin, and light grey and white patches across its back.

White-sided Dolphin

These "squid jumpers" or "jumpers", as they are locally known, have black or dark grey backs, a light grey patch running their backs, and white bellies. Behind and below their dorsal fins are two yellow- or beige-coloured ovals.

Harbour Porpoise

This small porpoise is dark grey in colour with a white speckled underside. They travel in groups up to five and are known locally as "puffin pigs" for the grunting sound they make when they blow.
Starting at $90 Per Person
Sit back, relax and enjoy the view as humpback whales breach, pectoral fin and fluke slap right before your eyes. With the largest population of humpbacks returning each summer you never know what you’ll see. You may even witness a rare double breach. Cruise to the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve, home to 1/2 a million Atlantic Puffins and millions of other seabirds. Sail past towering icebergs. Package includes: 2 hr Award Winning Boat Tour, Shuttle Service, 1 Iceberg Beer, 1 Puffin Souvenir

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O'Brien's Whale and Bird Tours

Starting at $199 Per Couple
Hop aboard Newfoundland’s Award Winning Boat Tour with O’Brien’s and set sail to the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve. Enjoy the view of half a million Atlantic Puffins and millions of other seabirds. A birders Paradise! Feel the chill as you pass by 10,000-year-old icebergs. Watch in awe at humpback whales in their natural environment.

Spend a restful night in St. John’s at Memorial University’s Paton or Macpherson College.

1 night stay, return shuttle to boat tour and two boat tour tickets.

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O'Brien's Whale and Bird Tours and Memorial University Residences Paton/ Macpherson College

Starting at $1390 Per Person
Multi-region
Live the life of a light keeper on 'Iceberg Alley'. Hear the calls of Humpback Whales echo off massive icebergs in your private cove. From Gros Morne to Labrador, experience the province’s natural and cultural highlights. Tour a fjord, then off to Quirpon Lighthouse Inn on a remote island overlooking the Viking site. Wander cliffs to ancient sod huts, but keep an eye out for whales and icebergs at your feet. Enjoy boat trips - two exploring Iceberg Alley and one through Western Brook Pond fjord.
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Linkum Tours

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Multi-region
North America's largest puffin colony and members of the world's largest humpback whale gathering headline a week-long holiday rich with the flavours and culture of Newfoundland. Great hotels, icebergs, lighthouses, orchids, sperm whales, caribou, and the New World's first city are also on the itinerary.

Immerse yourself in the colours, flavours, and adventures of this dramatic destination. Join our small groups to explore the coastal headlands and to voyage with local whale researchers.

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Wildland Tours

Starting at $89 Per Person
Ride on a zodiac tour to see whales up close and personal plus other marine wildlife like dolphins, porpoises, seals, eagles, turres & murres plus puffins. Icebergs are viewable in season !!! After your experience of a lifetime, relax at Skipper Bob's café and enjoy a $20 gift certificate towards food at the Lodge or let us pack you a bag lunch to hike the Skirwink Trail rated one of the top ten trails in Canada! Or apply your credit to a two hour kayak tour. We use tandem kayaks.
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Trinity Eco-tours

Starting at $50 Per Person
Steady yourself against the railing as the MV Iceberg Alley bobs gently on the North Atlantic, cruising into Iceberg Alley where surreal 10,000 year old icebergs are adrift. Hear traditional tales and hold your breath as humpbacks and fin whales break the surface. Watch the sunset dapple reds and oranges on the sea as kittiwakes and gannets circle above and dolphins play off the bow. Immerse yourself into coastal Newfoundland with the Iceberg Man for a true Canadian Signature Experience.
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Twillingate Island Boat Tour

Starting at $3300 Per Person
Join us to count humpback whales and enjoy the romantic history of old St. John's. An amazing holiday for whale enthusiasts and seabird watchers. Enjoy comfortable nights, wild days and some of our planet's most dramatic landscapes as we census humpbacks and hang out with some of the planet's largest seabird gatherings. Learn about our pioneering studies of eastern North America's orcas. Savour lobster and look for puffins, caribou, moose, icebergs, sperm whales, and other local highlights.
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Wildland Tours

Starting at $299 Per Couple
Set sail on an award winning boat tour for the thrill of a lifetime! View half a million Atlantic Puffins at the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve. Watch playful Humpback Whales frolic right before your eyes. Breathe in the fresh ocean air as you past by towering icebergs. Return to the Holiday Inn for a swim in their new pool with giant water slides, check out the state-of-the-art fitness center and dine at Eastside Mario’s. Tour & shuttle, one night stay, restaurant gift certificate.

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Holiday Inn St. John's & O'Brien's Whale and Bird Tours

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This is a two night accommodations / three day package featuring guided Zodiac or kayak tour, nature hike, historical three hour walk around Trinity and an evening play featured at the Rising Tide Theatre. Staying at our lodge you can visit the local churches Anglican and Catholic to view their historical significance in a community that made its living form the sea plus related historical sites. A guided walking tour is included that will reveal all of these features and more of the local lore.
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Trinity Eco-Tours Lodge

Starting at $160 Per Person
Take a thrilling tour along iceberg alley with award winning Northland Discovery Boat Tours. The 2 ½ hour tour will captivate you with live interpretative programming on our marine life and culture. Our area boasts one of the best regions on the planet to view seabirds, dolphins, whales and 10,000 year old icebergs! Afterwards, enjoy a self guided tour of Grenfell Historic Properties and explore the historic home of Sir Wilfred Grenfell, a heroic medical missionary, originally from England.

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Grenfell Heritage Hotel & Suites & Northland Discovery Boat Tours

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You are bobbing up and down in the Atlantic Ocean. In the distance a different shade of blue grows and brightens, until it is white. It takes a moment to process that this is the underbelly of a humpback whale. How can anything living be so big? The whale surfaces for air and notices you. How curious and strange you must be to her. She decides to have a closer look. You realize you now have a new friend; too bad you can’t text her later. Available option: no snorkeling / stay aboard Zodiac!
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Ocean Quest Adventures

Starting at $158 Per Person
If you love coastal hiking without crowds this is for you. Guided walk along the Irish Shore's rugged coastlines, quaint villages to a famous lighthouse. Picnic lunch served atop a seaside meadow with vistas of puffins and other seabirds swirling below. The icebergs and whales we see are as interesting as the locals we meet. Their accents and distinct brogues are a delight (the folks, not the whales)! This is a special offer filled with takeaways to remind you of your unforgettable day!

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Cook's Coastal Walks

Starting at $68 Per Person
Join us to the Iceberg Capital of the World to view 15,000 year old majestic icebergs, whales in their natural habitat and breathtaking scenery. Step aboard the 60 foot M.V. Baybreak 93 for a 2 hour tour to these wonders of nature and then relax overlooking Twillingate harbour at Addys Restaurant enjoying our Seafood Platter with fresh Cod,Shrimp,Scallop and succulent mussels.
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Twillingate Adventure Tours

Starting at $299 Per Couple
Two of Canada's Signature Experiences Collection have teamed up to provide an incredible day of Whales - from the water and from a lighthouse! Stan Cook Sea Kayak Adventures & Lighthouse Picnics are offering a coastal kayaking adventure followed by a leisurely picnic. Offer is filled with takeaways to remind you of an unforgettable day! A 2 hour Go & Tow morning adventure, with complimentary custom Tee Shirts from Stan Cook, followed by a lighthouse picnic at Ferryland with a gift blanket.
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Stan Cook Sea Kayak Adventures & Ferryland Lighthouse Picnics

Starting at $1349 Per Person
Multi-region
The title says it all - with more than 29,000 kilometres of coastline, there are plenty of vantage points to see the true stars of this package, the whales, birds and bergs!

Package includes expert travel advice, 7 nights’ accommodation, 7-day mid-size car rental with unlimited kilometres, two whale watching boat tours, St. John’s city tour, a Lighthouse Picnic, and admission to select museums and attractions.

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Maxxim Vacations

Starting at $1323 Per Person
Come with us to the top of Atlantic Canada's tallest Lighthouse, Point Amour. Pay respects to the oldest maritime archaic burial mound in North America. Learn how the Basque dominated the 15th century oil industry at Red Bay UNESCO World Heritage Site and "Walk Back in Time" when you visit Battle Harbour Island. Culinary experiences, accommodations and experiences are perfectly balanced with luxury and historic charm. Includes two days of light to moderate hiking on Battle and Caribou Island.
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Tour Labrador

Starting at $50 Per Person
Multi-region
Experience Twillingate, Iceberg Capital of the world with award winning Iceberg Quest. Breathe in the fresh ocean air as we set sail down Iceberg Alley. Feast your eyes on a glittering parade of majestic icebergs, 25,000 years in the making. Witness the mighty humpback whale playfully thrust itself out of the water in a full breach. Sail past rugged coastlines. Dance a jig to a Newfoundland shanty. Fall is love all over again. Book now... experience the WONDER!
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Iceberg Quest Ocean Tours

 

* Offers are subject to availability. Taxes are extra. You may have to pre-book and/or mention
the promotion at the time of booking. Please check with the operator for more details.

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