Whale and her baby take a rest in waters off Wollongong

Whales captured off the Thirroul coastline by Nanja and Jason. Instagram @nanja__

A whale and her calf resting off the Thirroul coastline provided an excuse for plenty of people to take a beachside stroll on Tuesday morning.

The mother and child - which have been identified as Southern Right whales - were spotted resting offshore at Macauley's Beach - sometimes coming as close as 80 metres to the shore.

Surf Life Saving Illawarra duty officer Anthony Turner said it wasn't unusual to see whales resting off the coast - both in the Illawarra and elsewhere - at this time of year.

Whales captured off the Thirroul coastline by Nanja and Jason. Instagram @nanja__

Whales captured off the Thirroul coastline by Nanja and Jason. Instagram @nanja__

"It looks like it's been there most of the day just sheltering," Mr Turner said.

"They generally seem to do that as they're heading up north, especially if it's just given birth. What they do is they seem to rest up for a period of time before moving north."

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He said they tend to look for a sheltered spot near the shore to rest and recover.

Mr Turner said whales can shelter for one or two days, so there is a chance the visitors will be there on Wednesday.

"Our best advice to the public is to watch from a distance and just enjoy the spectacular show Mother Nature is putting on," he said.

"It's spectacular when you see things like things like dolphins and whales offshore - it's a beautiful thing to see in nature."

There are restrictions around keeping a safe distance from whales.

Unmanned flying vehicles like drones cannot get closer than 100 metres, while it is a 300-metre no-fly zone for aircraft and a 500-metre zone for helicopters.

Swimmers cannot be closer than 30 metres from a whale and cannot wait in front of a whale or behind it.

Boats have to stay 100 metres away if the whale is alone, or 300 metres if it is with a calf.

Regardless of whether the whale is alone or with a calf, jetskis can get no closer than 300 metres.

This story Watch a whale and her baby take a rest first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.