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.