Gold Coast Whale Watching – A Complete Guide

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Gold Coast Whale Watching is an absolute must during your visit to this beautiful oceanside city on Australia’s east coast!

There is no better way to get up close and personally with these humble giants than hopping onboard a 2-hour whale watching cruise, which will take you out to sea to spot humpback whales showing off their acrobatic skills during their annual migration.

In this post, I have put together a complete guide of a Gold Coast whale watching experience, including where to book, when the whale watching season is, and what to expect on tour.

Also, at the bottom of this Whale Watching Gold Coast guide, I have included some useful information on where to stay on the Gold Coast, the best time to visit, and other points of interest on Australia’s east coast.

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WHERE TO BOOK WHALE WATCHING GOLD COAST

There are several Gold Coast whale watching tour operators to choose from, though it can be tricky trying to decide which one is the best.

I personally went whale watching in Gold Coast with a tour operator called Sea World Cruises and can’t recommend them enough as they are the most reputable and affordable.

Not only do Sea World Cruises offer whale watching in Gold Coast, but they also have many other cruises available such as sightseeing cruises, lunch cruises, sunset cruises, and more!

Whale watching tours operate out of Sea World, which is located at the northern end of the Gold Coast near The Spit.

WHALE WATCHING GOLD COAST PRICES

  • Adult: $89 AUD
  • Child: $59 AUD
  • Family 2 Adults, 2 Children: $296 AUD

Click Here to check availability and book online in advance.

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GOLD COAST WHALE WATCHING SEASON

The whale watching season Gold Coast starts in April and ends in November.

Every year, these humble giants migrate from Antarctica traveling north along Australia’s east coast at the beginning of winter and then travel back towards the southern ocean at the beginning of spring.

During this time is the best opportunity to see the annual migration and acrobatic displays from these majestic humpback whales as they cruise past the coastlines of NSW and Queensland. 

RELATED ARTICLE → 3 DAY GOLD COAST ITINERARY

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Have you got travel insurance for Australia? We all know accidents can happen and having World Nomads Insurance will save you thousands of dollars if something goes wrong. 

 

WHAT TO EXPECT

Whale Watching Gold Coast is truly an incredible experience and I guarantee you will not regret jumping on board this 2-hour boat cruise. 

The tour starts at the Sea World Cruises where you will board the whale watching tour boat at the Sea World Cruises pier and from here it’s a 15-minute cruise along the Broadwater and out through The Spit till you reach the open ocean. 

As the boat cruises out through the Broadwater, you’ll have spectacular views of some Labrador, Southport, and Surfers Paradise. The boat will then cruise past South Stradbroke Island before reaching deeper waters and to where humpback whales can be spotted.

The duration of the Gold Coast whale watching tour is 2 hours which allows plenty of time on the water to be on the lookout for the playful humpback whales. Be sure to bring your camera to capture all the magic!

Apart from spotting whales on the tour, you’ll also get a close encounter with pods of dolphins that like to cruise at the front of the boat.

FEATURES ON THE TOUR

  • History of migrating humpback whales
  • Spectacular views of the Gold Coast

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SEA WORLD CRUISES LOCATION

seaworld cruises

 

WHERE TO STAY ON THE GOLD COAST

The Gold Coast is a thriving tourist hub with no shortage of accommodation options and most people want to be by the beach as often as possible – I don’t blame them!

RELATED ARTICLE → WHERE TO STAY IN GOLD COAST

I recommend basing yourself in Burleigh Heads which is pretty much the halfway point between the north and south points of the Gold Coast. 

See below for the best places to stay in Burleigh Heads with options suited for small families, budget backpackers, and luxury travelers: 

Luxury: Luxury Beachfront Sky Home

Centrally located in Burleigh Heads and a stone’s throw from the beach. This 5-star accommodation features an outdoor swimming pool, garden, fitness center, and free wifi. The apartments are spacious and include a fully equipped kitchen, living and dining room, 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, hot tub, flat-screen tv, and ocean views. Perfect for families and couples.

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Mid Range: Outrigger Burleigh

The best and most affordable hotel in Burleigh Heads. The Outrigger is a two-minute walk from Burleigh Beach featuring an outdoor pool, hot tub, and ocean views! The rooms are spacious, air-conditioned, equipped kitchenette, living room, private bathroom, and balcony. Close to supermarkets, cafes, restaurants, bars and public transport. Perfect for couples and families.

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Budget: Komune Resort & Backpackers

Komune Resort is located south of Burleigh Heads in Coolangatta and it’s one of the cheapest and best backpackers on the Gold Coast! Located a stone’s throw from the beach, Komune Resort features a beach club, outdoor pool, table tennis, hammocks, pool bar, and nightclub. There are dorm rooms and private apartments available, perfect for friends and solo travelers.

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FOR ALL OTHER PLACES TO STAY,  SEE MY COMPLETE GUIDE ON WHERE TO STAY ON THE GOLD COAST

 

BEST TIME TO VISIT GOLD COAST

The Gold Coast is one of the only places on the East Coast of Australia that sees glorious sunshine almost all year round.

If you want the best of the best conditions weatherwise, I recommend visiting between May and October (Autumn – Spring) which is most ideal for beach bumming, nature walks, and water sports. 

Summer on the Gold Coast is between December and February which sees hot temperatures and a lot of rainfall.

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OTHER GOLD COAST ATTRACTIONS

As I mentioned earlier, there are so many things to do on the Gold Coast you could spend months here and not run out of things to do.

See the list below for some other Gold Coast tourist spots that you may want to check out:

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WHAT TO PACK FOR THE GOLD COAST

When visiting the Gold Coast, here is a list of items I highly recommend bringing with you:

  • Sunscreen – the Australian sun is very strong, so make sure to pack some high-quality sunscreen.
  • Quick-dry travel towel – a must for drying off after a dip in the ocean or lying out on the sand.
  • Reusable water bottle – stay hydrated by bringing along a reusable water bottle.
  • Dry bag – protect your gadgets from any water damage while you’re at the beach.

If you’re interested in taking awesome photos and videos on your travels, this is the camera gear that I use and recommend:

  • GoPro HERO10 – the most popular camera on the planet for action-packed adventures.
  • Canon EOS R – perfect for traveling, this is the most affordable, compact camera on the market.
  • DJI Mini 3 Pro – take your photos and videos to new heights with this user-friendly drone camera.

 

BEST GOLD COAST TOURS

 

 

MORE AUSTRALIA TRAVEL GUIDES

The east coast of Australia boasts awesome beaches, lakes, waterfalls, hikes, and many more fun-fuelled adventures waiting to be had!

This is what Australia is all about and what I aim to share with you in my destination guides.

Click on the links below to see more related posts:

 

TRAVEL RESOURCES FOR YOUR NEXT TRIP

Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or it’s your first trip overseas, here are some useful travel resources to help you kick-start your next adventure!

  • BOOKING.COM – search and book accommodation worldwide
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  • RENTAL CARS – search all rental cars in your next destination
  • GROUP TRIPS – join one of my epic small group trips
  • TRAVEL INSURANCE – purchase World Nomads travel insurance
  • TRAVEL MONEY CARD – get a Wise card today for free

Looking for more? Check out my Travel Resources page for further help with your trip planning!

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

I hope you enjoyed reading this article and if you have any questions about Whale Watching Gold Coast, please leave a comment below and I will get back to you as soon as I can!

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THANKS FOR READING

Hey friend, thanks for reading this guide!

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