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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Sea World Cruises
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Jump-on point

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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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A whale waving hello

The BEST Affordable Camera For Travel

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If you’re on the hunt for a professional camera for traveling, check out the Canon G7 X Mark II.

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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 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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Gold Coast Broadwater
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On the lookout for humpback whales
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Whale Watching Gold Coast
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Dolphin spotting
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A friendly humpback
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View of the Gold Coast

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The Nomatic 20L Travel Pack is perfect for everyday use and for those shorter 1-3 day adventures.

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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: Maxmee Backpackers Resort

Maxmee Backpackers Resort is located in Surfers Paradise and it’s one of the cheapest and best backpackers on the Gold Coast! Located a stone’s throw from the beach, the resort features a beach club, outdoor pool, a basketball court, and a bar. There are dorm rooms and private apartments available, perfect for friends and solo travelers.

Maxmee Backpackers Resort

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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Springbrook Waterfall Gold Coast

BEST GOLD COAST TOURS

 

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:

Must-Have Travel Essentials

Hidden Money Wallet

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Keep your cash and other valuables safe with this anti-theft hidden money wallet!


Reusable Water Bottle

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The GRAYL GeoPress is the best reusable bottle that allows you to purify water from anywhere!


Travel Backpack

Nomatic 20L Bag

The Nomatic Travel Backpack has 20+ innovative features, perfect for everyday use!


Quick-Dry Travel Towel

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The most compact, lightweight, and quick-dry towel for traveling!


Portable PowerBank

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Keep your phone, laptop, and accessories charged while you’re on the go with the Anker PowerBank!

More Australia Travel Guides

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Click the button below to view all articles related to Australia!

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!

For a quicker response, be sure to join Jonny Melon’s Travel Tribe on Facebook and post your questions or recommendations to our awesome community.

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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!

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Search and book accommodation worldwide.


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Book buses, trains, and transfers online in advance.


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Need travel insurance for your next trip?

THANKS FOR READING

Hey friend, thanks for reading this guide!

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