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Aboriginal Experience

During the peak of the northern migration in October. Cruise Details

Aboriginal Whale Watching Experience

$120/ Adult

Adult $120
Child (4-15) $120
Children aged 12-15 must be over 130cm high to travel on Totally Wild.

Indigenous Experience

An Aboriginal Elder will share their stories about Gurawil the whale and its importance to the Aboriginal communities with you.

2.5hr Premium Cruise

Onboard Totally Wild. Custom built for whale watching and a maximum capacity of 27 passengers.

20min to the ocean

Don’t waste hours traveling to the whales and back. Minimal time in the harbour, maximum time with whales. Only 20min from Darling Harbor.

  • During the peak of the northern migration and NAIDOC Week in July
  • Departs Darling Harbour at 9:15 and 12:30 on 7th, 13th and 14th of July

Whale Watching Sydney is bringing back their unique Aboriginal whale watching experience during the peak of the northern migration in July during NAIDOC week.

Join us for a 2.5hr whale watching cruise onboard Totally Wild and learn about Gurawil the whale and discover the connection and responsibility of Aboriginal communities to this important animal.

Along the east coast of New South Wales, the presence of whales in Aboriginal culture is embedded in many forms, from Dreaming stories to whales recognised as totem animals for various language groups. There are many significant sites of artwork depicting whales – particularly around Sydney.

An Aboriginal Elder and Aboriginal cultural guide will lead you through the cruise and share their stories of land, water and sky which have been passed down from Aboriginal ancestors. Passengers can also participate in an ancient whale song to summon the whales.

Meet Your Aboriginal Cultural Tour Guides

Elder Aunty Barb Sims


Community advocate, respected Elder, teacher, carer, living educational library (and telephone directory) and most of all collaborator!

Barbara Simms (affectionately and respectfully known as Aunty Barb), was born in Sydney and grew up at number 24 The Reserve, La Perouse.

A mother of 5 children, a foster carer for 15 children, a grandmother to 19 grandchildren and great grandmother to 6.  You’d think that would be enough to keep anyone busy, but life was never too full or busy to focus on other matters close to the community’s heart.  Aunty Barb has invested immeasurable unpaid hours to this.

Throughout the years Aunty Barb has used her wealth of knowledge of culture to provide talks and education on the local area; beaches, nature trails and bush tucker.

She provides rich cultural mentoring to too many people and organisations to name individually and has also in the past provided cultural awareness training in GP practices in the Eastern Suburbs and Sutherlandshire.

In 2012 Aunty Barb received the Pauline McLeod Award from the Eastern Region Local Government Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Forum.  The award recognises “silent achievers” who have worked diligently in promoting Reconciliation through their selfless acts with a desire to improve the quality of life for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Not long after this Aunty Barb was also acknowledged with an award from NSW police for Dedicated Services to the Police by providing guidance on cultural awareness.  Local MP Matt Thistlethwaite has also acknowledged Barbara Simms with a community services award.

At 73 years young, Aunty Barb’s most recent employed role has been as the Guriwal Aboriginal Corporation as the Respite and Transport Coordinator for some 20 years. Just retired in December 2020 Aunty Barb is now lending her time to providing education and cultural mentoring.

Dean Kelly


I am Dean Kelly and identify as a South Coast NSW Saltwater Yuin, Walbunja, Dhoorga Gurandgi cultural man through my father, and Western NSW Freshwater stone country cultural Wailwan, Nypampai Man through my mother. I was born in Sydney NSW on Gadigal land in 1967.

I am member of the Botany Bay Aboriginal Community and am also accepted as belonging to the La Perouse Aboriginal Community. I have also served for two terms (4 years) as a Board Member on the La Perouse Local Aboriginal Land Council. I currently remain a member of the La Perouse Local Aboriginal Land Council.

As a Cultural Practitioner my true passion and cultural obligation is dedicated to the protection and preservation of Aboriginal cultural heritage. My cultural knowledge has been passed down through my family for countless generations, and I’m told by my Elders to give it away to keep it!

Vessel Features

Built to the same design as offshore rescue vessels, its powerful engines, rigid hull design and high back seats provide safety, speed and comfort. Totally Wild provides an up-close and personal whale watching experience with its maximum capacity of 27 passengers.

Totally Wild received a new wrap in May 2024 for national Reconciliation Week with artwork by Bianca Gariner-Dodd.

The artwork “Charging Together Towards a New Dreaming” is a visually stunning work, and when viewed in the context of NRMA Group commitments to reconciliation, it tells an important, layered, and beautiful story. One of respect for people, community, culture, Country, and nature.

Bianca Gardiner-Dodd is a Kamilaroi woman with cultural ties to Bundjalung through her husband and children. Born in Liverpool NSW Bianca has spent the last 35 years living on the Far North Coast Tweed Region of NSW.

Much of Bianca’s work reflects her contemporary perspective of Aboriginal Art with an overriding inspiration stemming from the pristine coastal environment of ocean, beach, surf, dunes, creeks, rainforest and parklands that surround her.

  • Up to 27 passengers only
  • Same design as rescue boats
  • Purpose built for whale watching
  • One open walk around deck
  • Highspeed with three 250hp engines
  • Roof and clears to keep the weather out

Sydney Map

  • Ticket Office
  • Departure Wharf

Aboriginal Whale Watching Experience

$120/ Adult

Adult $120
Child (4-15) $120
Children aged 12-15 must be over 130cm high to travel on Totally Wild.

NRMA Members Save 20%

Simply enter your Membership number when booking online.

If you’re not a Member, join for just $5/month and start saving on dining, attractions, experiences, accommodation and more.

Discover All Benefits

Whale Guarantee

We see whales on 99% of our cruises, but if we don’t…

In the unlikely event no whales are successfully watched on your cruise, you get a free return trip.

How it works

NRMA Members Save 20%

Simply enter your Membership number when booking online.

If you’re not a Member, join for just $5/month and start saving on dining, attractions, experiences, accommodation and more.

Discover All Benefits

Whale Guarantee

We see whales on 99% of our cruises, but if we don’t…

In the unlikely event no whales are successfully watched on your cruise, you get a free return trip.

How it works

We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land and waterways on which our business operates. We pay our respects to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders past, present and emerging.