Top Gold Coast Whale Watching
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From the sun-soaked shores of the Sunshine Coast to the lush islands of the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland is one of the best places for whale-watching tours in Australia. To maximize your chances of spotting the majestic creatures, here are some tips for whale watching around Brisbane, the Gold Coast, and Hervey Bay.
When to Go
Queensland’s whale-watching season runs from June to November, during the Australian winter months, when the east coast becomes a breeding ground for migrating whales. Hervey Bay is the unofficial whale-watching capital, hosting its annual Whale Festival in July and August, while the Gold Coast is a prime stop on the so-called “Humpback Highway,” the whale migration route that runs between Australia and the Antarctic.
What You'll See
An estimated 10,000 whales pass through Queensland’s waters during the annual migration, including humpback whales and minke whales. Whales can often be seen with their calves, especially later in the season, and you might also spot bottlenose dolphins, sea turtles, dugongs, and even sharks.
How to Go
Half- and full-day whale-watching cruises run from Brisbane to Surfers Paradise, Sea World, and the Gold Coast, aboard specially equipped boats with large viewing decks and underwater microphones so you can listen to the whale songs. Alternatively, cruise around Hervey Bay, Moreton Bay marine park, or Fraser Island on a catamaran excursion and stop to swim or snorkel along the way.
13 results | All Gold Coast Tours
Spotting whales in their natural habitat can be tricky if you don't know where to look. Skip the guesswork on this whale-watching cruise, which guarantees you will see humpback whales as they migrate past the Gold Coast from June to November or you receive a complimentary second cruise. The tour is led by a marine biologist guide who is passionate about conservation and offers insights into whale behavior that enrich the experience. Includes morning tea and a photo booklet souvenir.
Wildlife enthusiasts will love the chance to spot whales in the wild so close to the Gold Coast. Just a twenty-minute cruise off shore, the Australian Whale Sanctuary is prime humpback whale habitat. Get great views of the creatures (when conditions are right) from on board your comfortable boat. This easy 2.5-hour trip can fit into busy itineraries.
Experience the wonder of the Whale Highway Admire humpback whales on their annual migration during an unforgettable cruise with Kokomo. Only a short trip to the seaway and out to the ‘Whale Highway’, we guarantee whale sightings with every cruise or a free return ticket is issued. Our experience is simply unique and intimate onboard our luxurious Brand-New vessel, which has been crafted especially for Queensland Waters by Woody Marine Fabrications in Brisbane. Coming equipped with an underwater 'WHALE EYE VIEW' camera, Underwater 'DOLPHIN EAR' microphone, full surround speakers and expert crew. We offer the best experience, and the best whale views.
Short on time? Sample the natural beauty of the Gold Coast on this outdoor tour. Hop on a sea kayak and paddle your way over to Wave Break Island to swim and snorkel amid tropical fish and colorful coral. Spot dolphins, stingrays, and sea turtles along the coast, and enjoy a snack before heading back to shore.
You will be part of the closest and one of the most intimate encounters in the region due to the eye-level viewing offered by the safari-style vessel. This whale watch is unique, and our highly experienced skipper and crew are on hand throughout to make this experience personal as well as professional. They have a wealth of knowledge and passion for whales and the stunning Gold Coast region they look forward to sharing with you.
Zip through the scenic Gold Coast Broadwater on a high-octane jet boat ride that combines speed-driven fun with sightseeing. Hang on as your boat performs 360-degree spins, power slides and other tricks, then slow down to see Southport Yacht Club, Palazzo Versace Hotel and Marina Mirage. You'll also buzz past Seaworld, the mansions of Sovereign Island and Moreton Bay Marine Park, venturing further than other similar tours. Dolphins and other marine life often seen in these waterways — keep your eyes peeled!
Journey into the hinterlands on this 5-hour afternoon tour of the Springbrook National Park from the Gold Coast. Explore the UNESCO-listed Goondawanna rainforests by coach, stopping to walk through the jungle, peek into ancient caves and enjoy views of Mount Warning from the Best of All Lookout. Visit natural wonders like Purling Brook Falls, Numinbah valley and Rainbow Falls, and soak up the scenery from the Canyon Lookout. This small-group tour is limited to 16 people for a personalised experience, and includes hotel pick-up and afternoon tea.
Exploring the Gold Coast Hinterland can be a challenge if you don’t have your own transport, but this full-day tour from the Gold Coast offers the perfect introduction. Discover the natural wonders of the Springbrook National Park, stopping to take in the views of Mt Warning and the Numinbah Valley, and admire landmarks including the Natural Arch, Rainbow Falls, and Goomalarah Falls.
Experience the Gold Coast’s beautiful Surfers Paradise on a tour aboard an amphibious Aquaduck. Bring the kids and hop aboard this unusual dual-purpose vessel for a jaunt along the area’s picturesque beaches and past local landmarks like Palazzo Versace and Marina Mirage. Then, enjoy a thrilling river cruise past the glitz of millionaire’s row as the Aquaduck transforms from a bus into a boat.
Start your day off right with a half-day kayak tour to South Stradbroke Island. Enjoy a great vantage point on the beaches and wildlife of the Gold Coast as you paddle at a leisurely pace, stopping to snorkel off Wavebreak Island, visit secluded beaches, and enjoy a picnic breakfast on the beach. Your expert guide shares informative commentary about the region's ecology and animals, and provides full instruction on kayaking and snorkeling — making this tour suitable for both experienced paddlers and first-timers.
Our Whale Adventures are truly unique. We utilise a small vessel in small groups of only 8 guests, providing an unparalleled, personal, and boutique whale watching experience. We closely work with researchers and encourage all our guests to become inspired by what we do. Swimming with whales is a our ultimate experience and provides you with an opportunity to see and listen to the whales underwater. We will kit you up with a wetsuit (winter), mask, snorkel and life jacket. Once alongside a pod of whales, you will swim out along a floating rope designed to provide you with a safe and relaxing time with other swimmers. Once in the water you will be able to see and hear the whales. Bring your GoPro or underwater camera to film your experience..... or rent one of ours. NOTE - The whales are fickle creatures and will choose if they want to swim with you. We have no control over their activities, however staying calm is best.
You can literally touch the ocean and feel the spray of whale blows in your face! That is how close you are to the water surface on our boats. When we say to get at eye level with our humpback whales, we really mean it. You can look forward to closer and longer encounters as humpback whales do not feel intimated by our smaller vessels! Furthermore, in times of COVID-19, small group experiences are the preferred way to explore nature. Our whale cruise creates a private tour feel and you will be able to talk to our experienced staff and get all your whale questions answered.
Our Small Boat Whale Watching tour is an absolutely personalised experience. This 2-3h Gold Coast Whale Watching adventure tour is on a smaller vessel with a maximum of 8 participants. Spectators can look forward to closer and longer encounters as humpback whales do not feel intimated by a smaller vessel. The outer tubes of our semi-inflatable vessel are only 50cm above the water surface. This even allows you to submerge your waterproof camera on passing whales for some great underwater shots for those lucky enough. Whilst no vessel is allowed to approach whales closer than 100m, our experience shows that the whales are usually approaching us whilst our engines are turned off and the vessel drifts through the water. For this very reason, our vessel is frequently chartered by research groups to conduct field surveys and sampling.
What people are saying about Whale Watching in Gold Coast
Whale Watching Tour with Spirit of Gold Coast"Amazing team, very friendly, welcoming on board and throughout the trip. Also very knowledgeable. The MC on board ( sorry I forgot your /his name ) was fantastic. We would book with these guys again. ( Spirit of Gold Coast) and via Viator. Such an easy , trouble free process. And we saw whales."..."
Whale Watching Gold Coast"Super Trip ! Have been to several other whale watching experiences but this was by far the best. These guys really know their stuff and love what they do ! Highly recommended. Thanks !"..."
Natural Bridge & Springbrook Waterfalls Tour"Thanks to Edie our driver we had a great day out on this tour not only did he explain to us the things we were looking at but also very informative and funny.I would recommend this tour who wants ti see the hinterland, rainforests,and beautiful waterfalls.Edie thank you for the day out and the memories I would have for a long time to come."..."
Full-day Springbrook National Park Tour from the Gold Coast"Wonderful Experience ❤️ Probably due to professional tour guide Ms. Sonia 😇 I would love to visit again with my Family, hopefully 🔜"..."
Aquaduck Gold Coast 1 hour City and River Tour"Lovely and funny tour guide and driver. Definitely made the trip relaxed and enjoyable. I would recommend this to those who wanted a fun and easy city and river tour."..."
Half Day Dolphin Kayaking and Snorkeling Tour"What a great family experience! The guides we friendly and helpful. We had an awesome morning on the water with some great sightseeing and snorkelling. Highly recommended!"..."
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Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
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