With so much stunning beauty and majesty being present around the Gold Coast it is sometimes easy to forget about our diverse and ever-present marine life. Often it is easy to be distracted by our great beaches, but if you take the time you can really discover some incredible wildlife not only around our ocean, but also beneath it!

Whale watching is truly an awe-inspiring and even humbling experience. Some of the largest Humpback whales can be 16 metres long and weigh in excess of 40 tonnes, in perspective that’s around eleven elephants. The season itself runs from June to November; and it is estimated around 20,000 of these creatures will make their way up our Eastern coast from the cooler waters around Antarctica and off the very bottom of Tasmania. Once in the warmer waters around the Whitsundays and the safety and welcoming features of Hervey Bay they will then give birth to their young. Some of the older whales can reach one hundred years old meaning that this annual migration North and South has been repeated by some of these animals for literally decades.

To see these whales up close in their natural habitat is a must do whilst visiting the Gold Coast, and even for residents of the area, a once in a lifetime necessity. What are the best trips to take and top tips to spot these majestic mammals? Read on to find out.


The original and very first whale watching company on the Coast, Whales in Paradise is a great option for all types of whale enthusiasts – be it a budding tourist or curious local. Centrally located in Surfers Paradise, they dock and start their trips from nearby Nerang. Their 69-person catamaran is the perfect way to get up and close with these magnificent creatures, the “Mahi Mahi” has a very quiet style of engine and being fiberglass, allows acoustical noise in the water to be absorbed, meaning whales are much more likely to come up closer. From the Gold Coast, they offer five different times daily to make the trip out onto the water whilst the season is in full swing, and cater for all ages and disabilities.


Another great option for getting out on the water has to be Spirit of Gold Coast Whale Watching. Located in the Broadwater on Main Beach, these guys have years of experience behind them, all staff are carefully chosen and genuine ocean lovers. Meaning they will be more than happy to educate you about these whales, their environment and how we can do our bit to support and protect their way of life. Being a member of Eco Tourism Australia ensures the environmentally conscious can be rest assured that by taking this trip they are having a minimal impact and a much smaller carbon footprint is being left behind.


As a newcomer to the season, the beloved Sea World has unveiled their most advanced whale watching vessel yet, the Spirit of Migaloo II, just in time for the winter season. This multi-million dollar Sea World Cruises vessel has been designed to provide you and fellow passengers with front row seats to all the action with six external viewing platforms and tiered stadium-like seating from sea level to the sun deck. For a truly immersive experience, the family will also love the Captain’s Lounge for underwater video viewing and the onboard underwater hydrophone where you can listen to whale vocalisations in real time.


We are truly spoiled for beautiful beaches here on the Gold Coast. And ask any local, when it comes to the whale watching season, you can easily spot these creatures by chance with sand between your toes simply strolling on any of our beaches. Happen to look out at the right time and you might just be treated to a breaching whale or the sight of a mother teaching her newborn the art of swimming.

To better your chances of catching a glimpse, head to either Burleigh Hill in Burleigh Heads, or Elephant Rock on Currumbin Beach by The Vikings SLSC. These two spots have the advantage of being elevated and on a clear and sunny day (we get a few of them), and perhaps armed with some binoculars, you will almost certainly get some views of our rather large aquatic visitors.

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