6 Of The Best Whale Watching Tours Near Brisbane That Will Blow You Away 

Whale, hello there 

By Dinushka Gunasekara | 19th July 2023

Queensland’s cooler seasons aren’t just for hot chocolate and finally wearing that one puffer jacket you own. The drop in temps also marks a truly extraordinary trek in our ocean’s depths: the annual migration of humpback whales to and from the Antarctic. 

Catching sight of the deep sea giants is easy when you know the right places to look, and Brisbane’s surrounds offer many opportunities for whale watching and encounters. Between June and October, North Stradbroke Island is the closest place to Brisbane for land-based whale watching, but the best way to say ahoy to these epic creatures is breaking waves where the tail-slap is only metres away. 

Here’s our guide to the best whale watching tours in and around Brisbane for a guaranteed whale of a time! 

Brisbane Whale Watching

Setting sail daily from Redcliffe Jetty, climb aboard the Eye Spy vessel and watch the leviathans of the deep make their way through the clear Moreton Bay waters. The high-speed and air-conditioned luxury catamaran is led by Captain Kerry Lopez – the only female captain to own and operate a whale watching venture in the South Pacific rim! Brisbane Whale Watching offers transfer packages from all major hotels in the CBD to make climbing on deck a breeze, and you can even up the ante with their VIP cruise, giving you access to an exclusive lounge, priority boarding, an exclusive hostess, and complimentary beverage. Plus, a portion of every ticket is donated to whale charities! Book here.   

Spirit Whale Watching

This pioneering Gold Coast whale watching tour has been following the majestic humpbacks through the area for more than 25 years. Friendly, knowledgeable, and incredibly passionate about what they do, you’ll be privy to commentary from experienced marine biologists while on board the custom-built vessel that houses a variety of viewing decks. Missed the shot of an awesome tail flick? All Spirit Whale Watching cruises include a professional photographer to capture the action and the best moments of the voyage. Book here.  

Tangalooma Whale Watching

Make the most of island life for a day with all the best Tangalooma has to offer – including incredible whale sightings! Departing from Brisbane twice a day, this day cruise will take you to Tangalooma Island Resort to kick back on the sandy shores, before climbing aboard Australia’s largest whale watching vessel for a three-hour adventure. Led by expert eco rangers, you’ll get up-close to a pod of whales (and maybe even a dolphin or two) all from the comfort of the smooth sailing catamaran. Tickets to the whale watching cruise also grants you full access to the resort and its facilities, including two swimming pools, restaurants, and bars. Book here.  

Sea World Cruises

Take a trip to the Humpback Highway in the hands of Australia’s most-awarded whale watching operator. Hitting the seas from Sea World in Main Beach, revel in intimate encounters with the gentle giants aboard a purpose-built luxury whale watching vessel. You’ll even have the choice to upgrade into the VIP Captain’s Lounge for a next level experience! This tour is overflowing with features to make the trip memorable, like an underwater hydrophone and marine naturalist guides. Book here

Whales In Paradise

Hailed as Gold Coast’s most affordable whale watching tour, the dynamic encounters here will stay with you for a lifetime. The locally owned and family operated business offers unobstructed views on a state-of-the-art vessel with water-level viewing decks. The boutique service means no crowds, and they even boast a fully licensed bar onboard. Whales and wines? Now that sounds like a good time. Book here.   

Sunreef Mooloolaba 

You can’t get much closer to whales than this – Sunreef gives you the unique opportunity to swim with humpback whales! The completely organic experience will see you diving into the deep with one of the largest mammals in our oceans. Simultaneously ensuring respect to the animals and their environment, they’ll provide everything from the wetsuit to the fins, and mask, preparing you carefully and thoroughly before the moment of a lifetime. Prefer to keep dry? Sunreef is also home to the best whale watching tours on the Sunshine Coast! Book here

Image Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland
By Dinushka Gunasekara A self-proclaimed Spotify connoisseur who plans her weekends on Monday, Dinushka’s least favourite time of the day is in between meals.




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