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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

Boat Tours

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 $3200 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 $215 Per Person
You've just slipped into the water and in the distance you see a different shade of blue. It 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 so big be alive?

Or snorkel the incredible sea caves and kayak along the cliffs of Bell Island! A perfect day on the water that gives you the freedom to explore each nook and cranny of the island.

Later you can enjoy a delicious lunch with one of our partners!

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Ocean Quest Adventures

Starting at $4890 Per Person
Multi-region
Join our expedition to catalogue the orcas of southern Labrador. Help us census humpback whales and enjoy the arctic history of Battle Harbour. Travel through time viewing fossils, ancient reefs, and some of the new world's earliest archaeological sites. Enjoy comfortable nights, wild days and some of our planet's most dramatic landscapes as we count humpbacks and continue pioneering the study of eastern North America's orcas. Look for migrating shorebirds and the Northern lights.
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Wildland Tours

Starting at $54.99 Per Person
Join us aboard the 60 foot daybreak 93 to view majestic icebergs, humpbacks, fins, and minke whales. After the tour dine at Addy's Seafood Restaurant for fish and chips over looking Twillingate Harbour.
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Twillingate Adventure Tours

Starting at $99 Per Person
At the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula where the capelin, mackerel and herring draw the whales from June to September; interact with minke, humpbacks and sometimes even the beluga. From a Zodiac boat at the beginning of Iceberg Alley, see majestic icebergs and experience mysterious heritage and culture.

A 3 hour boat tour along the shore of the Great Northern Peninsula that will take you from the quaint little community of Bide Arm along the many rural communities now resettled.

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Mayflower Inn & Adventures

Starting at $225 Per Person
Three hour exclusive audience with the whales for you and up to 5 of your closest friends. An intimate adventure in one of nature’s most awesome places hosted by senior naturalist. Includes a relaxing picnic lunch in a secluded cove. Relax to sounds of the waves lapping on the shore and the crash of nearby waterfalls. Lunch includes complimentary wine and local micro brewed beer.

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Gatherall's Puffin and Whale Watch

Starting at $299.00 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 $94 Per Person
Experience the excitement of Sea Kayaking on the Avalon Peninsula’s spectacular world famous coastline. Our guided kayak tours explore these waters which are dotted with magnificent icebergs, soaring seabirds, fluttering puffins and majestic whales as they migrate south. Discover hidden coves, sea caves, waterfalls and be sure to bring along your camera to capture all the unforgettable memories. Plus enjoy a scenic drive from Old St. John’s to beautiful Bay Bulls along the Southern Shore.

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The Outfitters Adventures

Starting at $120 Per Couple
Deep in the heart of Gros Morne, a “UNESCO” World Heritage Site, experience firsthand nature’s sanctuary. Visitors will experience the culture and history behind the communities along the shores of Bonne Bay. Catch sightings of bald eagles, humpback whales, dolphins and other wildlife. Discover the geological rock formations and admire the breathtaking backdrop of The Tablelands and Gros Morne Mountain, while allowing our BonTours Crew to entertain you with local Newfoundland jigs and reels.
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BonTours
  • Norris Point, Gros Morne National Park
  • 1-888-458-2016
  • (709) 458 2016

Starting at $90 Per Person
Set sail on an Award Winning Boat Tour that will leave you breathless. View the largest Atlantic Puffin colony in North America, watch playful Humpback Whales and sail past 10,000 year old icebergs. Enjoy a beer tasting of 7 Award Winning ales and lagers at Quidi Vidi Brewery while learning the history of the charming fishing village.

*Full brewery tours available on Saturday's and Sunday's

Package includes: 2 hour boat tour, shuttle service, brewery tasting, 2 pack Quidi Vidi beer

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O'Brien's Whale and Bird Tours

Starting at $80 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 in and view able NOW!!!! 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 enjoy a two hour kayak trip at half price. We use tandem kayaks.
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Trinity Eco-tours

Starting at $90 Per Person
Sit back, relax and enjoy the view as humpback whales breach, pectoral fin and fluke (tail) 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. Sail to the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve, home to half a million Atlantic Puffins and millions of other seabirds. A sight not to be missed! Package includes: 2 hour boat tour, Shuttle service, 1 Iceberg Beer, 1 Puffin souvenir .

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O'Brien's Whale and Bird Tours

Starting at $1299 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 $160 Per Person
Northland Discovery Boat Tours will guide you to an area that boasts the highest number of icebergs and the greatest variety of whales in Newfoundland. After your boat tour, enjoy a selfguided tour of the Grenfell Properties and learn a little about our local history. Package includes: 2 passes for the boat tour, 2 passes for Grenfell Properties, $50 gift certificate for Lightkeeper's Restaurant and a night at the Grenfell Heritage Hotel & Suites with continental breakfast.

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Grenfell Heritage Hotel & Suites & Northland Discovery Boat Tours

Starting at $160 Per Couple
A three hour tour viewing spectacular marine scenery, whales, icebergs, bald eagles and nesting sea birds complete with tea with the whales on our custom built Zodiac. Tea includes a variety of hot and cold beverages and locally made baked goods.
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Sea of Whales Adventures

Starting at $259 Per Person
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
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Trinity Eco-Tours Lodge

Starting at $79 Per Person
Take a true Newfoundland tour aboard a dory. This is a personal tour around Goose Arm & Middle Arm in search of the majestic whales and the bald eagles. We get up close and personal with the bald eagles. Feed these majestic birds near their nest site then collect mussels for a fresh boil up a seaside cabin. This area is very scenic, mountains, waterfalls, fjords, resettled communities, a Dorset Eskimo burial site and a very calm setting.
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Four Seasons Tours

Starting at $50 Per Person
Along with our majestic scenery and live interpretation, keep an eye out for whales. It's caplin season in Cox's Cove and the minke whales are in hot pursuit!! Your whale watching experience includes an onboard snack.
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True North Charters and Tours Inc.

Starting at $400 Per Person
Pete and George Barrett of Cartwright, Labrador, offer whale watching with a difference. You’ll look for whales, seabirds, seals and other marine life while camping near at Pigeon Cove near the Wonderstrands, a 56-km sandy beach named by the Vikings 1,000 years ago. You will camp nearby in a recently excavated Inuit winter house. Don’t be surprised if a caribou wanders into camp, where in the evening George will tell stories of the Nunatukavut way of life of his ancestors.
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Experience Labrador

 

* 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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