Lets Go Humpback Whale Watching Gold Coast

Some friends and I were brain storming the other day about blogging projects. As Humpback whales are currently on the move up the east Coast of Queensland, Australia our decision was easy – Lets Go Humpback Whale Watching Gold Coast!

Annual Humpback Whale Migration

While the Gold Coast is a holiday spot for many thousands of beach lovers in Australia, some 17,000 humpback whales also holiday here each year. They cruise 5,000 – 8,000 km from Antartica to relax in the Queensland’s tropical waters as far north as Cairns in Tropical North Queensland. They navigagate within the safety of the Great Barrier Reef, a favourite place for them to give birth in Queensland being Hervey Bay.

The annual humpback whale migration is the underwater version of the great Wildebeest migration of the Serengeti.


Humpback Whale Migration Map Queensland


Whale Watching Season Queensland

In early June the whales begin cruising up the Queensland coast and by early November they are heading home with their newborn calves.

Back in Antartica they fatten up on krill and plankton before returning again next year.

Whale watching is one of the most beautiful and peaceful past times on the planet.

Photo by Jennett Bremer

Go humpback whale watching on the gold coast in Australia


Spirit Whale Watching Gold Coast

We chose Spirit of Gold Coast for our whale watching cruise. Their 24 metre Catamaran departs from Mariners Cove Marina next to Marina Mirage on Seaworld Drive at Main Beach, Gold Coast. As we walked along the pier we could see a line forming at the departure point, next to the helipad.

If you have a favourite position on the boat arrive 45 minutes before departure so you can be toward the front of the queue.

Having said that, when the whales appear passengers move around all over the place.

  • Daily Morning Departure 9.30 a.m. Return 12 noon.
  • Depart from Mariners Cove Marina.
  • Arrive 30 minutes before departure.
  • Take seasickness tablets 30 minutes before departure.
  • Free Trip if no whales are sighted.
  • Free parking at Mariners Cove Marina
  • Free morning tea
  • Licensed Bar

Marina Mirage

Marina Mirage Gold Coast is where our whale watching tour departed from

Helicopters added to our excitement when whale watching on the Gold Coast

We love marinas and thoroughly enjoyed walking through the vibrant Mariners Cove Marina. The helicopter action only added to our anticipation.

Staff were proactive in reminding people to take sea-sickness tablets if required. They checked in on everyone regularly during the trip to see if anyone was feeling ill, advising on the best place to sit to avert sickness. As an occasional sea-sickness victim, I was very impressed with their caring attitude and helpful actions.

We had already taken our tablets prior to departure, so grabbed a complimentary coffee and biscuits and headed on up to the top deck. I love sitting in the fresh air – never inside the cabin. There is also a front lower deck on the catamaran which is great for getting up close and personal with the whales and dolphins.

Whale Watching Gold Coast

The water was flat and calm.

Perfect for finding whales.

Instagram photo of Surfers Paradise taken from Spirit.

Everyone on board, from the whale spotter in the tower to the smallest child on deck, was on whale watch duties. Although we saw telltale blows, the whales were being shy. We saw backs of whales and tails of whales and swirls of whales as they dove, but no breaching of whales. Even so, it was magical to be in their presence.

Check out this video.


Rewarded with a flash of whale tail on the Gold Coast of Australia.

A post shared by budget travel talk (@budgettraveltalk) on

A breaching whale is an thrilling sight, as 40 tonnes of animal launches out of the water before falling backwards with a loud slap.

The silence on the boat was intense, broken only by cries of Whales at 1 o’clock and Dolphins on the Bow! 

I wished we could have stayed there longer looking for more whales and waiting for them to come closer or breach. But the 2.5 hours trip time sped by and too soon we had to return. In busy times the boat does a second trip in the afternoon (weather permitting).

Humpback Whale Watching on the Gold Coast of Queensland Australia


We received reduced price tickets for our trip, but as usual we only write what we know to be true. All thoughts are our own.

Humpback Whale Facts

  • A baby humpback weighs a hefty 2 tonnes.
  • Female Humpbacks are larger than the males. They can measure 15 metres long and weigh more than 40 tonnes.
  • The whales concentrate on looking after and teaching their calves whilst in Queensland. They don’t feed here.
  • Humpbacks live between 45 and 55 years.
  • Humpbacks are endangered. There are only 35,000 world wide.
  • Only Male Humpbacks sing – it is a courtship ritual.
  • Humpbacks to do not have teeth, they have baleen plates
  • Humpbacks only eat in cold water
  • They eat 2000 – 2500 km of krill, plankton and small school fish each day
  • They feed twice each day
  • Humpback whales only close down half of their brain when they sleep so they can consciously remember to breathe.

More than a Whale Watching Boat Tour

Yes we were here for whale watching Gold Coast, but cruising through the Broadwater is picturesque and interesting in itself. Not only are there pleasure boats and police boats, but also helicopters, birds and views back to Surfers Paradise.

Parasailing on the Broadwater Surfers Paradise

Parasailing on the Broadwater Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast

We saw Pelicans from our what watching boat on the Gold Coast

Coming back through The Spit Surfers Paradise Gold Coast

Sailboat on the broadwater Surfers Paradise


Whale Watching Gold Coast Discount

At times reduced priced tickets can be sourced from GROUPON.

Best Coffee Gold Coast

Find the Best Coffee Gold Coast here.

More Australian Wildlife

Read about where to find more Australian Wildlife here and here.



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