Best Time For Whale Watching In Gold Coast

When is the best time for whale watching on the Gold Coast?

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Whale Watching Resources
For Gold Coast

Gold Coast Whale Watching Season is CLOSED

Whale Watching season is now CLOSED For Bookings on Gold Coast.

Whale watching tours will start up again for the 2018 Whale Watching Season in late May to early June 2018. The season usually runs from June to end of October 2018.

If you want to get out on the water whilst on the Gold Coast why not check out Gold Coast Cruise Options. Several of the Whale Watching boats run cruises during the off season.

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When's the best time?

The whale watching season in the Gold Coast runs from May to November each year.

Cruises and tours run during the main part of the season usually from around 1 June to 31 October.

Most importantly, people ask about when the best time to see the whales is, and the real answer is during the months of June, July, August, September and October.

People want to be sure they won't waste their money on a whale watching cruise and not see whales.

For that reason, one of the things you should look out for when choosing your whale watching tour is a good guarantee. That way you won't be disappointed.

Obviously they cannot guarantee exactly how many whales you will see or what they will be doing, but the good ones know their reputations rely on them giving you a great experience.

There are different phases in the season where you will see different aspects of the whales on their journey past our coast.

The main types of whales seen are the Australian Humpback whales. Humpbacks are the best whales to watch because they love an audience and perform tricks!

Tail slapping, pectoral fin slaps, spy hopping or the ultimate photo opportunity is a rare full whale breach where they jump out of the water and plop back!

And you think we have fun watching them...I bet they have fun!

Frequently asked Question - when is the best time for whale watching on the Gold Coast?

Most of the whales we see on the Gold Coast are humpback whales.

Best Time For Whale Watching In Gold Coast

You can take your pick of what is the best time for whale watching from the various parts of the cycle of these animals as they migrate to their breeding grounds and return along the east coast of Australia.

There are three phases of the whale watching season on the Gold Coast.

They are not black and white phases, rather a fuzzy grey between each part.

Here is a bit more information about the three phases.

Use this as a guide to work out the best time for whale watching in the Gold Coast for you.

Early Whale Watching Season - May, June and July

Even though the season runs from late May to early November, there is a definite cycle to what you will see.

The first humpback whales start passing the Gold Coast from mid to late May.  We usually get warning as they stop off for some sightseeing in Sydney first!  That is usually when the first excitement starts to build!

There is a big research centre at Byron Bay, and they monitor whale activity including numbers and do other useful research.

There is a pure white humpback whale that has been named Migaloo. You'd be very lucky to spot him! In 2009 he passed through in early July, but hadn't been seen for a couple of years prior.

The whales migrate from Antarctic waters up the east coast of Australia to warmer water for breeding and giving birth. It is a 5,000 km trip and they don't eat!

During these months you will usually see whales only going north.

Mid Season for Whale Watching - August & September

During August and September you will start to see humpback whales heading back south. There are still some whales going north.

You will mostly see only adult or juvenile whales at this point with the occassional mother and calf.

The numbers of calves will increase the later in the season it is.

The mothers and calves usually stay in the warmer waters until the calves are a bit older and stronger and have learnt some tricks!

The numbers of mothers and calves heading south increase during mid to late September.

Late Whale Watching Season On Gold Coast - October & November

By this stage you should only see whales heading south to the Summer in the Antarctic. You are more likely to see mothers and calves at this point. This is probably the best time for whale watching to see the calves and mothers together.

You may also see some Orcas or Killer Whales.  Orca head north in search of easy humpback prey. They hunt down the humpbacks in packs and will pick off the calves if they can.

This is nature, but it seems devastating when you realise that once they kill the humpbacks they only eat the lips and tongues.  Having said that the lips and tongues can be up top 4 tonnes in an adult humpback!

The rest of the humpback is then eaten by other ocean inhabitants such as sharks, other fish and marine birds - grateful for the free lunch.

This isn't something I particularly want to see.  When we lived in Victoria I can remember several news stories of whale carcasses floating in the waters of Victoria and South Australia, so these hunts are more likely to occur down there.

Orcas can be seen off the Gold Coast at either end of the season.  It is not the norm - so don't come expecting to see them, but be pleasantly surprised if you do.

The best time for whale watching on Gold Coast?

You pick - you decide what you would like to see.  I don't have a favourite time, because every day is different and wonderful. Just get out there and see these beautiful creatures.

Whale Watching Tours

Whale watching tours run throughout the season. Mostly from late May or early June through to early November.  Most tours have pretty good sighting records and always look out for the guarantees they offer.  

What you see will depend upon many things including the weather, the whales on the day and the point in the season.

Check out all Gold Coast Whale Watching Tours.

Current Top Options Whale Watching In Gold Coast

Here's a selection of the best current deals at the moment for the whale watching in Gold Coast. Please check here for all whale watching options including Coolangatta option for those staying in southern Gold Coast.

  • Sea World and Sea World Whale Watch Special Deal

    Sea World + Whales

    This deal is ALWAYS POPULAR because it offers fantastic value if you want to visit Sea World theme park and go on a whale watching cruise.

    There are some special terms regarding the Sea World visit, so make sure to click more info and read on...

    Sea World Whale Watch
    & Sea World Entry Combo
    Great Value for Visitors

    $178.00 $110.00
    Child (3-13)
    $141.00   $90.00
    Family (2A 2C)
    $561.00 $350.00


    Sea World Whale Watch & Sea World Entry Combo

    Sea World Whale Watch Season Options

    Sea World Whale Watching Cruise
    PLUS Entry to Sea World Gold Coast theme park*

    This popular deal is particularly good if you only want to visit Sea World (and not Movie World).

    If you want to visit both these theme parks, there may be better options for you by getting a combination theme park pass, and then looking at either just the Sea World Whale Watching or else choosing one of the other great value Whale Watching options.

    Sea World Whale Watch is a popular option, because it is easily recognisable, it has a large boat and is backed by the professionalism of Sea World.

    * This deal requires you to be quite organised with your holiday itinerary because of the terms surrounding the Sea World Entry. You have to pick up your Sea World Entry ticket at the cruise terminal AND may only use it on the day before your cruise, the day of your cruise or up to 2 days immediately following your cruise.

    Sea World Whale Watch Cruises are now available in the morning from 10am to 12.30pm or afternoon from 2pm to 4pm.

    In order to get the most value out of this amazing combination deal, I recommend you book your Sea World Whale Watch cruise early in your holiday and plan to go to Sea World theme park either the day before your cruise or on one of the two days the following your cruise. This allows you to have a full day at Sea World.

    However, if you have a short holiday and not much time, you can do the morning cruise and then have the afternoon from 12.30pm through to 5pm at Sea World. Or go to the theme park in the morning and then go on the cruise at 2pm.

    You will need to arrange transfers to get to the Sea World Cruise Terminal - which is in the car park of Sea World. You can use the standard Sea World theme park transfer for the morning cruise.

    This season there are two cruises daily. The morning cruise departs around 10am returning around 12.30pm. The afternoon cruise departs around 2pm returning around 4.30pm. All cruises are dependent upon weather conditions, which is why I always recommend you plan your itinerary for your holiday beforehand and book in your cruise early in the vacation, in case it has to be rescheduled. It would be terrible to miss out on seeing the whales.

    Sea World offers the following guarantee: 'Guaranteed sightings or full refund will be provided except during the months of May and November'

    Sea World + Whale Watching Cruise
    Adult $110
    $178 SAVE $68 per adult

    Child (3-13 years) $90
    $141 SAVE $51 per child

    Family (2 Adults + 2 Children) $350
    $561 SAVE $211 per family

    Sea World Whale Watch PLUS Sea World Entry

    More Sea World Options

    Sea World Whale Watching Cruise
    Adult $99
    Child (3-13 years) $79
    Family (2 Adults + 2 Children) $300

    Sea World Whale Watch

    Outstanding Value - no credit card or booking fees. Print your own vouchers. Mobile Vouchers Accepted.

  • Whale Watching From Surfers Paradise Great Season Opening Deal

    Surfers Paradise Whale Watching

    These cruises go from the heart of Surfers Paradise, so you don't need transfers! Departs 4 times per day - two in the morning morning, a midday and an afternoon departure.

    Click for more info or BOOK NOW...

    Surfers Paradise Whale Watching
    3½ hours inc. Canal Cruise
    Great Value & Options for Visitors

    Child (4-14)
    Family (2A 2C)


    Surfers Paradise Whale Watch

    Whales in Paradise Cruising

    Surfers Paradise Whale Watching Cruises
    4 Cruises Per Day For Great Flexibility

    This is the only whale watching cruise that leaves from the centre of Surfers Paradise.

    If you are staying in Surfers, Broadbeach, Main Beach or even Southport, you can either walk (Surfers Paradise only) or take the new G:Link or a bus to this cruise. No need to use an attraction transfer for this one!

    If you need to drive, you can easily park across the road, under Circle on Cavill or Chevron Renaissance. Parking charges will apply.

    There are a couple of great advantages for this whale watch including the convenience of the departure location, a bonus canal cruise to see the houses of the rich and famous from the Gold Coast before you head out to see the whales and the flexibility to choose one of 4 daily cruises to see the whales.

    Cruises are just over 3 hours and depart at 8.30am, 10.30am, 12.30pm and 2.30pm daily. You need to be checked in at least 20 minutes before departure.

    This whale watching company offers the following guarantee: 'Guaranteed whale sightings or free return cruise.'

    All cruises are dependent upon weather conditions, which is why I always recommend you plan your itinerary for your holiday beforehand.

    Book your cruise before you arrive in Gold Coast and make sure it is early in the vacation.

    This is in case it has to be rescheduled due to weather conditions - it would be terrible to miss out on seeing the whales.

    BE QUICK. Click for more info or BOOK NOW

    Whale Watching from Surfers Paradise
    Adult $99
    Child (4-14 years) $69
    Family (2 Adults + 2 Children) $267


    Outstanding Value - no credit card or booking fees. Print your own or use mobile vouchers.

Ready To Get Started? Travel Planning Guide & Sheets

You'll find lots of photographs, descriptions and information to help you dream up your perfect Gold Coast Holiday.

Why not start with all that the Gold Coast has to offer.


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