Sunshine Coast Whale Watching

Join the conversation or just check us out...

Sunshine Coast Whale Watching Resources

Whale Watching At Sunshine Coast

If you are planning on staying at the Sunshine Coast you'll find it less busy than the Gold Coast. There are less options for whale watching, but there are some...

  • Drive to Mooloolaba and take a cruise to see the whales on Whale One
  • Or, take a day trip to Hervey Bay from the Sunshine Coast to see the whales from there.
  • Moreton Bay Whale Watching is also accessible from Sunshine Coast and leaves from Redcliffe.

Information and Bookings for Whale Watching Cruises from Sunshine Coast.

The whale watching season in Sunshine Coast is shorter than the Gold Coast one and usually doesn't really start up till mid-June in time for school holidays and runs till mid-October just after those school holidays finish.

In 2014, an Australian first was introduced... The option to swim with the whales. The boat, called '4 Shore', goes out from Mooloolaba twice daily from around early July to mid October.

Tours are dependent upon minimum numbers of 10 and of course can be cancelled due to weather conidtions. The tour has a maximum of 20 participants. They provide wetsuits and snorkels and you just need to be able to swim. WHAT an experience!

Another alternative, is to go enjoy a full day cruise in Moreton Bay, with hotel pick ups from Sunshine Coast hotels available.

Please Note: The vessel Whale One is now owned and operated by True Blue Cruises. Previously it was marketed as Australia Zoo whale watching on board the Whale One (previously known Steve Irwin's Whale One).

* If you read all the information or you get lost in it, you can always ask me directly anything I haven't covered. The easiest way is to email me through my contact form.

Staying on the Sunshine Coast at Noosa.

Noosa River on Sunshine Coast

Quick Facts about Sunshine Coast Whale Watching

There is one main operator for standard whale watching on the Sunshine Coast which is True Blue Cruises on the Whale One boat. The cruises leave from The Wharf at Mooloolaba at the southern end of the Sunshine Coast.

Whale One (previously owned by Australia Zoo) is a 30m Catamaran with 360 degree viewing and can carry about 115 passengers.

Tours depart daily at 10am returning 2.30pm from mid June to mid-October depending upon whale activity and weather. There are afternoon tours on weekends and during school holidays

The boat is moored at The Wharf in Mooloolaba, which is also home to Underwater World.

The main tour at 10am includes morning tea (afternoon tours include afternoon tea) and other refreshments can be purchased onboard and there is a souvenir shop.

Boat is designed for good viewing of whales and the crew are well versed about the whales. They use videos to show more footage and information about the whales and hydrophones to listen to the whale song!

Booking is essential for these tours. Get in early to avoid disappointment, especially during school holidays as whale watching tours fill up quickly. Sunrise cruises are available during some Queensland school holidays as an additional option. They leave at 5.30am returning at 9.00am and include a buffet continental breakfast.

About Sunshine Coast Whale Watching Tour Operator

True Blue Cruising runs these whale watching tours and purchased the Whale One boat from Australia Zoo.

You can expect high quality and good information, delivered with passion.

If you are staying in the Gold Coast, I have to admit I cannot see a compelling reason to drive to Sunshine Coast for this tour from a whale watching perspective and would suggest you consider one of the local Gold Coast whale watching tours.

This Sunshine Coast whale watching tour is better suited to those staying in the Sunshine Coast or northern Brisbane.

Book a Whale Watching Cruise from Sunshine Coast.

  • Sunshine Coast Whale Watching Options

    Whale Watching In Sunshine Coast
    Including SWIM WITH WHALES Option

    Cruise from Mooloolaba to see the whales OR take the option to SWIM WITH THE WHALES.

Where To Find The Wharf at Mooloolaba

The map below will help you find where they are located. Switch to satellite view (Sat) for more details and an aerial view. You can get directions on the map too.

Parking is easy at The Wharf which also shares parking for the Underwater World attraction.

Don't forget to explore this map or use the functions to get directions.

View The Wharf Marina at Mooloolaba in a larger map

Review Of Sunshine Coast Whale Watching on Whale One

Whale One is the main Sunshine Coast whale watching operation. You can expect a high quality tour on a good boat. The tour itself takes about 4 hours.

If you are staying in the Gold Coast, personally, I don't consider this worth the drive to see the whales unless you have your heart set on going on Steve Irwin's old boat - Whale One which was commissioned in 2007.

The whale watching here will be similar to what you will see from Brisbane or the Gold Coast.

If you are staying in the Sunshine Coast, beware of travel times. Mooloolaba is at the other end of the Sunshine Coast from Noosa, so make sure you leave an hour to get from Noosa if that is where you are staying!

The coast road is notoriously slow going, so make sure you leave plenty of time not to get flustered. Pick ups can be arranged from Sunshine Coast accommodation.

Whale One is located at The Wharf Marina in Mooloolaba, see the map below. If you are driving up from the Gold Coast for this trip, you will need to factor in at 2½ to 3 hours drive (due to the traffic in the mornings).

From the marina it is a short trip out of Mooloolaba seaway to the ocean and the whale watching! Like the Gold Coast you will have to go out to about 3 miles offshore before you can stop to whale watch.

Some of the things I like particularly about this operation is that it is:

  • High quality tour with high quality educational value. They do it very well..
  • Whale One is a 65ft catamaran that takes about 115 passengers.
  • 360 degree viewing from this specially designed boat.

Book a Whale Watching Cruise from Sunshine Coast.

Whale Watching Hints and Tips

In response to some questions I have received I have written a couple of articles giving hints and tips for a great whale watching experience.

If Sunshine Coast Whale Watching is not what you are looking for, don't forget to check out the other tour operators in the Gold Coast or Brisbane to find something to suit your needs.

 Gold Coast Local Information 

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.


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.


After many years of planning trips with my family both locally and overseas, I've created many resources to help you through creating an itinerary and plan that will have you seeing, doing and experiencing the best the Gold Coast has to offer you.

You can do it yourself using the resources on this website by starting here.

Or you can cut some corners and get my travel planning sheets and extra resources.


When you are ready to book your Gold Coast travel arrangements I've hand picked the best resources for all aspects of your travel itinerary. You can feel confident that you are accessing the best local and global travel providers for your holiday.