orca jumping out of the water as seen on Bremer Bay Orca Whale Watch Tour

An Honest Orca Whale Watching Bremer Bay Review 2023

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Two companies provide orca whale watching Bremer Bay tours; Whale Watch Western Australia (Bremer Bay Killer Whales) and Naturaliste Charters.

Naturaliste Charters are our preference due to the following factors:

  • Naturaliste Charters are the founders of the killer whale expeditions, established in 2015
  • Their vessel is the only vessel operating from Bremer Bay built in WA for the Southern Ocean, Alison Maree handles the conditions beautifully
  • They are a Family-Owned company
  • Catering on board is done by the talented team at the Wellstead Museum Café with all dietary requirements catered for
  • A marine biologist is on board every expedition providing expert commentary, and a professional photographer
  • Guests are emailed the photographs and a blog from their experience the following day
  • Naturaliste Charters offer the best value for money – they operate 8 hours instead of 7, providing our guests more time with the wildlife
  • 100% Safety rating
  • Free Returns if there are no sightings!
Our Pick
orca killer whale in the ocean bremer bay whale watch tour

Bremer Bay Orca Whale Watch Tour

The Orca cruise by Naturaliste Charters in Bremer Bay is an experience of a lifetime! To witness these incredible creatures on the hunt in their natural environment was incredible.

We saw quite a few, some coming close to the boat to check us out.

Don’t miss out – book your tour today.

Bremer Bay is a small fishing community located in Australia’s Southwest. The orcas, known for their majestic leaping abilities and incredible hunting skills, attract tourists worldwide. They can be seen in the Bremer Bay Canyon from January to the beginning of April.

Orca Tour Bremer Bay Summary

Tour Length: 8 hours

Arrival: You must arrive by 7.45 am for boarding at 8 am

Departs: Bremer Bay at 8.30 am

Rating: 5⭐️ on Tripadvisor with over 470 reviews

Dates: Daily from January to April

Age Limitations: Children must be at least 10

Inclusions:

  • 8-hour cruise onboard the Alison Maree
  • Commentary from an onboard marine biologist
  • Photos & blog emailed from your expedition
  • Food & drinks onboard
passengers onboard Naturaliste charters boat looking at orcas on whale watching cruise in bremer bay

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Orca Whale Watching Bremer Bay Review

What People are Saying

Our Bremer Bay Orca Tour Experience

Seeing orcas in the wild has been a lifelong ambition, so I was so excited that our tour was booked to see the Bremer Bay orcas. I’d read up all about the tour, along with what to expect during our time on the cruise, so I felt prepared.

killer whales ortcas swimming alongside boat
Orcas swimming alongside our whale watch cruise in Bremer Bay

Arriving for your Orca Whale Watching Tour

You must arrive at the Bremer Bay Boat Harbour, Swarbrick Road, Bremer Bay by 7.30 am ready for the once-in-a-lifetime experience.

orca up close in the southern ocean
Orca Whale Watching Bremer Bay

The Orca Cruise Boat

This Bremer Bay orca tour takes place on the luxury vessel Alison Maree, a 20m Catamaran built in Western Australia for WA ocean conditions. As it was built specifically for the Southern Ocean, you know you are on a large, stable, and incredibly safe boat with an expert crew to help with any needs throughout the day.

The Alison Maree features modern onboard facilities, including air conditioning, toilets, a filtered water system, comfortable PFD and complimentary access to the Captain’s Lounge.

aerial view of the bremer bay orca tour boat naturaliste charters
Alison Maree – catamaran used for Naturaliste Charters Orca Tour from Bremer Bay

The journey to the Patch (Bremer Canyon)

After a safety briefing, we were on our way. The Southern Ocean, also known as the Antarctic Ocean, can be dangerous and turbulent, and the ocean’s open expanse creates an environment ideal for gigantic waves. Luckily, the Bremer Bay Orca patch, where hundreds of Killer Whales & other cetaceans congregate each year to feed on giant squid, is just 20 nautical miles (37 km) off the coastline of Bremer Bay. The Patch is at the apex of three canyons – Bremer, Hood & Henry Canyon.

The Southern Ocean can be rough, even in summer, so be prepared. I suggest taking anti-nausea medication even if you don’t usually suffer from motion sickness. You don’t want it to ruin this awesome bucket list experience.

It takes around 90 minutes from departure to arrive at the Orca feeding ground. Once there, staff look out for signs of orca activity.

lots of orcas close up
We saw a few different pods of orcas on the tour

Bremer Bay Orcas

The Orcas visit this area to hunt for squid who are weak from breeding and are an easy target for Orcas and Sperm, Pilot, and rare Beaked Whales. Vast amounts of krill are found in these canyons, which attract a variety of marine life which lures larger cetaceans and the apex predator of the ocean, the Orca.

The squid the Orcas hunt are giant and colossal squid, which can be up to 14 m in length and weigh up to 750 kg.

We were in prime Orca territory along the continental shelf, and it didn’t take long before we saw our first pod of orcas of the day – Lucy and her family. Giovanni swam up close to the boat, and the family seemed fascinated by the vessel surrounding us. We had incredible views of these majestic creatures and could appreciate their size.

two killer whales seen from a boat tour
It was amazing how close you felt to them on Whale Watch 1

Family pods are led by the eldest female, the matriarch, who has the knowledge and experience to pass on to the younger members. Not far behind is usually her son. It’s incredible to see the size of a male Killer Whale’s dorsal fin – as large as a man and weighing up to ten tonnes!

Orcas can live up to 100 years, with females living the longest. Most families stay together for the duration of their lives, and you will often see families joining up to hunt together.

During the next four hours, we saw families of orcas as they hunted for food. The sightings of oil on the top of the water told us that they had recently caught a giant squid, and their movement throughout the day depicted that they were on the hunt for a whale in the deep waters.

The crew have a lot of experience, are knowledgeable and provide a commentary on what the orcas are doing. During the cruise, photographs are taken for research as well as a complimentary souvenir to guests.

an orca swimming under the water
Not the best photo but an orca swimming under the boat!

Food onboard

The Naturaliste Charter Orca whale watching tour includes:

Morning Tea

Wood Fire Baked Croissants

Fresh Fruit Skewers (GF,DF,VG)

Dietary- Banana & Cranberry Bread (GF,DF,VG)

Lunch

Fresh Rolls or Wraps or GF Bread

Wood Fire Roasted Chicken, Avocado, Herb Aioli & Baby Spinach

Salami, Cheddar Cheese, Semi Sundried Tomato & Rocket

Spiced Chickpea, Roasted Seasonal Vegetables & Salad (DF,VG)

Sweets

Double Chocolate Orca Print Cookies

Apple Cinnamon Crumble Cake

Dietary – Date & Coconut Bliss Balls (GF,DF,VG)

Dietary- Chick Pea & Cocoa Brownie (GF,DF,VG)

Afternoon Tea

Vegetarian Sushi or Anti Pasto Skewer or Spinach & Ricotta Scroll

Pumpkin Savory Scone

Dietary- Zucchini & Chive Muffin (GF,DF,VG)

Drinks

Filtered Water, Tea, Coffee, Milo, a selection of Herbal Teas, Soup and Soft Drink are included.

close up of a wild orca near bremer bay on a whale watching tour

Where to buy Tickets for the Orca Whale Watching Bremer Bay Tour

Bremer Bay Orca Tour from Albany

Join Busy Blue Bus Tours in Albany on an unforgettable journey to Bremer Bay, home to one of the most incredible sights in nature – Orcas in the wild.

Upon arrival, jump onto the Naturaliste Charters Orca Tour, and enjoy the cruise knowing you don’t have to drive all the way back to Albany after a tiring day at sea.

The remote road between Albany and Bremer Bay can be dangerous during dawn, dusk, and when it’s dark due to kangaroos being active and jumping across the road. You also have to contend with looking into the blinding sun on the way to Bremer Bay and then again on the return journey to Albany.

Instead, why not have a nap or enjoy the passing scenery as Busy Blue Bus Tours take you safely back to Albany.

Included in the tour price is:

  • Return transfers from Albany to Bremer Bay return with Busy Blue Bus Tours
  • Bremer Canyon Killer Whale Expedition with Naturaliste Charters    
  • Morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea prepared by Wellstead Café     
  • Expert commentary from the on-board Marine Biologist
  • Daily blog & photos from your expedition to be emailed if requested

Departure Time: 5.30 am from Albany Visitor Centre (arrive 5 minutes early).

There is minimum of 3 passengers required for a departure with Busy Blue Bus Tours.

Check availability, prices, and book direct with Busy Blue Bus Tours here.

Other Marine Life in Bremer Bay

Here are some other species you may see on your Bremer Bay Orca whale watching tour:

  • Sperm Whales
  • Pilot Whales
  • Beaked Whales
  • Dolphins
  • Sea Lions
  • Migratory Antarctic Sea Birds
  • Sunfish
  • Sharks (including Great Whites)
orcas swimming in the ocean

What To Bring on your Orca Whale Watching Bremer Bay Tour

Photos of the day are included in the tour package. However, we took a camera to record a few of the Orcas and family memories.

Other things to bring with you include:

  • sunscreen
  • hat
  • sunglasses
  • jacket (it can be cool at sea)
  • your refillable water bottle
  • binoculars
orcas in bremer bay

Tips for your Bremer Bay Orca Tour

  • Take seasickness prevention tablets as most people do suffer on this tour (see your doctor for a prescription)
  • Arrive on time (boarding gate closes five minutes before departure)
  • Look for birds – find the birds, and you will most likely see the killer whales (scavenging for food left behind after a hunt)
  • Tours are subject to minimum numbers and weather/ocean conditions, so try to be flexible with dates
  • You need to be mobile to get on and off the boat and move around it in choppy conditions (tour is not suitable for young children, elderly, heavily pregnant, or any mobility problems)
  • Ask questions – the crew are knowledgeable
  • Wear rubber-soled shoes (so you don’t slip)
  • If you feel queasy, look at the horizon

This Bremer Bay Orca Whale Watching tour by Naturaliste Charters is worth the cost. It’s a unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience, and we hope you can witness this apex predator in its wild natural habitat for yourselves!

passengers leaning over the boat to see the orca close up on bremer bay killer whale tour

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FAQ

Can you see orcas from the shore at Bremer Bay?

No, you cannot see orcas from the shore at Bremer Bay. The only way to see them is on a whale watch cruise.

Where can I see orcas in Bremer Bay?

You can see orcas in Bremer Bay on a whale watch cruise only.

What is the best time of day to see orcas in Bremer Bay?

The best time of day to see orcas in Bremer Bay is in the morning when the ocean is usually calmer, but you can still see them in the afternoon before the tour returns.

How far is Bremer Canyon from Bremer Bay?

Bremer Canyon is about 70 km from Bremer Bay. However, the orca cruises take you only 37 km from Bremer Bay where the Killer Whales spend most of their time hunting. The area is only 10 km in size, on the edge of the continental shelf, and is a favourite feeding location named The Patch.

Where can you whale watch Orcas in Western Australia?

The most reliable place to see Orcas in Western Australia is Bremer Bay. You will need to join a tour, though, as they cannot be seen from shore.

When can you see Orcas in WA?

You can see Orcas in WA from January through to the beginning of April in Bremer Bay.

Please note we paid for the Orca Whale Watch Tour ourselves and all views are our own.

Western Australia Travel Guide

Save Money Planning Your Trip

Click on the links, which will take you directly to the website.

Flights ✈️

We fly Virgin Australia domestically due to their competitive prices and fantastic customer service, and fly with Qatar Airways to Europe.

Accommodation 🏩

We mainly use Booking.com for accommodation as they consistently have the lowest rates with free cancellation on most properties.

For pet sitting in Western Australia and worldwide, we are members of Trusted Housesitters. Free accommodation for pet and house sitting.

Car Rental 🚘

To compare rental car company prices, we use Discover Cars, an award-winning car rental comparison website. They offer competitive pricing in over 10,000 locations worldwide and are highly rated.

Campervan/RV Rental 🚐

DriveNow is a good resource to compare campervan hire in Western Australia as it includes all the large companies like Britz, Maui, and Jucy as well as smaller ones.

Travel Insurance 🌏

Cover-More and Travel Insurance Direct are our preferred travel insurance companies for domestic and international travel.

See this Travel Insurance for Australia guide for more information.

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Book Direct with Naturaliste Charters Here