Watch whales from Sydney harbor

Sunday, June 16, 2002

SYDNEY, Australia -- In addition to its landmark harbor bridge and opera house, Sydney is boasting a new waterfront attraction for visitors -- whales. Hundreds of them.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service says Australia's most populous city is also one of the country's best for catching a glimpse of migrating marine mammals and now is the time of year to go looking.

One of the best spots for watching the whales while keeping both feet on dry land is Kurnell at the mouth of Botany Bay, where British explorer Capt. James Cook moored his ship, Endeavour, when he first came ashore at what later became Sydney.

"On one day alone last year, June 23, a record 48 whales were spotted passing Kurnell," says Brian Gilligan, director general of the parks and wildlife group.

Volunteer spotters recorded 723 humpback whales over 61 days last winter.

"Many were international tourists who were thrilled they could see Australian wildlife so close to Sydney," Gilligan says. Other good vantage points are North and South Heads at the harbor.

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