Dolphin at the sea near Strahan Village

Wildlife - Whales and Dolphins

Strahan is located on the edge of Macquarie Harbour—a vast waterway that opens into the wild Southern Ocean through the narrow opening at Macquarie Heads—Hell’s Gates.

Common and bottle-nosed dolphins are often seen from the beaches of the west coast and within Macquarie Harbour, occasionally riding the bow wave of boats. Bottle-nosed dolphins grow between 2-3 metres in length and can weigh up to 300 kg. They are dark in colour, with a pale grey underside. Common dolphins have a unique, pale hourglass pattern along the sides of their bodies and are smaller than bottle nosed dolphins (1-2 metres long/200kg). Both species are commonly seen in small groups up to 12 individuals, but can gather in groups of thousands in the open ocean.

In Tasmania, migrating whales are most often sighted along the east coast, but southern right and humpback whales are occasionally spotted from west coast beaches. In 2013, a rare blue whale was sighted off Tasmania’s west coast—one of only 220 recorded sightings within the last 30 years.