Perhaps the best reason to visit the Gold Coast in winter is to catch a glimpse of some other visiting tourists – of the sea-born, humpback variety. Here are our favourite ways to see the whales as they pass our golden coast in search of warmer waters.
SPIRIT OF GOLD COAST
On a mission to promote awareness about humpback whales and give passengers a memorable experience out at sea, Spirit is one of the best ways to see these majestic animals in their natural habitat. Your day aboard a Spirit cruise includes a guaranteed whale sighting – if you don’t spot any, a complimentary return cruise will be offered to all passengers – and the possibility that a curious whale will emerge right next to the boat. If not, you will still be able to see them from at least 100-metres away, which any whale watching cruise passenger will tell you is a surreal, breath-taking experience. Not to mention, Spirit even have a fully licensed bar on-board, meaning you can purchase drinks and snacks during the cruise. You are also totally welcome to pack a picnic and bring it aboard if you prefer. Whatever you do, be sure to keep an eye out – not just for whales – but for myriad other sea life including dolphins, flying fish, turtles, sharks and birds. And, on rare occasions, there are also orcas who travel north, too! To experience the Gold Coast’s whale watching season up close, board a Spirit of Gold Coast cruise from Mariners Cove Marina, Main Beach.
SEA WORLD WHALE WATCHING
The marine experts at Sea World Cruises also offer a life-changing whale watching experience, right here on the Gold Coast. Setting sail from the pristine waters of the Gold Coast, the Spirit of Migaloo II is Australia’s newest and most advanced whale watching vessel. On the Migaloo II, you’ll be able to spot passing whales from six external viewing platforms with tiered stadium seating, from the sea level to the sundeck, or via an exclusive experience in the VIP Captain’s Lounge. You’ll also be cruising the seas with Marine Naturalist, who will provide plenty of information and entertaining commentary on these majestic sea creatures. The 2.5-hour cruise departs from Sea World four times a day and runs from June to November, giving intimate groups of locals and travellers the chance to admire the whales as they take the Humpback Highway north. You can also cruise knowing that your experience is doing a world of good for plenty of other sea animals, as Sea World Cruises supports and sponsors Sea World Marine Research and Rescue, whose team works around the clock to keep aquatic animals safe. Like Spirit, Sea World Cruises also offer a 100% Whale Sighting Guarantee that offers a free return cruise if no whales are spotted.
A little further afield…
As much as we love spotting whales on the Gold Coast, the awe-inspiring, soul-stirring, up-close whale watching encounters that you will find in Hervey Bay are more than enough reason to venture north. Between July and November, thousands of humpback whales travel the ‘Humpback Highway’ and arrive in the calm, protected waters of Hervey Bay. Unlike any other place along the Humpback Highway, the whales will stop and spend up to 10 days, resting, socialising and playing before continuing their trip back to the Antarctic for the summer months. This unique relationship gives reason to celebrate each year with the Hervey Bay Ocean Festival. It’s an eclectic event that recognises the importance of the ocean to Hervey Bay and promotes the conservation of the marine environment and animals that are unique and important to our region. The festival kicks off on July 27 and runs to August 4, with a calendar of colourful events that features the Fraser Coast Kite Karnival, Hervey Bay Seafood Festival, Whale Parade, Paddle Out for Whales, and loads more.
When you’re out whale watching this season, make sure to keep your eyes peeled for the ‘unicorn’ of humpback whales – migaloo. You’ve definitely hit the whale-watching jackpot if you spot this brilliant bright white specimen out in the wild! READ MORE HERE