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 FOR 2022!

2022 Whale Watching season is now CLOSED on Gold Coast.

Whale Watching Season from usually from late May and runs through to early November.

Check out the booking options for Whale Watching including current deals as they become available, often with huge savings.

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.

 Gold Coast Local Information 

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 Whale Watch Latest Deals

    Sea World Whale Watching

    This cruise is ALWAYS POPULAR with a well respected cruise operator.

    Morning cruise goes every day during season. Lots of parking close by and easy to get to using shuttle buses, or public transport.

    Sea World Whale Watch

    Great Value for Visitors

    Child (3-13)
    Family (2A 2C)


    Sea World Whale Watch

    Sea World Whale Watch Season Options

    Sea World Whale Watching Cruise

    This popular cruise is often fully booked, so it is worth booking ahead, especially during school holidays.

    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.

    Sea World Whale Watch Cruises are available in the morning from 10am to 12.30pm and sometimes in the afternoon from 2pm to 4pm (though you will need to check for dates and availability on the links provided).

    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 (not always available) 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 $99
    Child (3-13 years) $79
    Family (2A+2Ch) $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.

    BE QUICK. Click for more info or BOOK NOW...

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

    Child (0-14)
    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 (0-14 years) $69
    Family (2 Adults + 2 Children) $267


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


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