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Land-based Whale Watching in South East Queensland

Home > Brisbane > Animals and Wildlife | Beaches | Day Trips | Family | Free
by Meg Forbes (subscribe)
Meg Forbes is a mum, freelance writer, and photographer living in the Redlands, South of Brisbane. https://www.instagram.com/megforbesphotography/
Published March 6th 2020
Did you know you can watch whales without leaving dry land?
As Autumn and Winter approach, many of us in Australia turn our thoughts to plans for upcoming whale watching trips. But did you know there are many great spots to watch them without leaving the shore?

A humpback whale offering a 'Straddie Salute' to people on the Gorge Walk
A humpback whale offering a 'Straddie Salute' to people on the Gorge Walk


From around June to October each year, humpback whales migrate along the southern Queensland coast on their way to and from their breeding grounds at Hervey Bay.

A humpback whale and her calf migrating along Queensland's coast
A humpback whale and her calf migrating along Queensland's coast


There are great rocky headlands from the Gold Coast, along North Stradbroke Island and Moreton Island, to the Sunshine Coast that are ideal for whale watching.

This humpback whale got the message about swimming between the flags!
This humpback whale got the message about swimming between the flags!


On the Gold Coast, places such as Point Danger and Burleigh Heads provide great vantage points to watch for whales.

A humpback whale passing fishermen on Snapper Rocks beneath Point Danger
A humpback whale passing fishermen on Snapper Rocks beneath Point Danger


The Gorge Walk and the rocky headland at Cylinder Beach on North Stradbroke Island similarly both provide ideal vantage points to watch for whales as they migrate along our coastline.

A humpback whale with her previous year's calf passing the Gorge Walk at Point Lookout
A humpback whale with her previous year's calf passing the Gorge Walk at Point Lookout


The walk around Cape Moreton's lighthouse on Moreton Island is another great place to watch whales who sometimes swim right along the island's coast behind the surf on their migration.

Humpback whales sometimes seem to enjoy seeing us as much as we enjoy seeing them
Humpback whales sometimes seem to enjoy seeing us as much as we enjoy seeing them


As you move north, there are a number of headlands along the Sunshine Coast that are ideal for land-based whale watching. These include Hells Gate and Dolphin Point at Noosa National Park, Point Arkwright at Coolum, and Point Cartwright at Kawana.

A dolphin swimming ahead of a migrating humpback whale
A 200Kg dolphin swimming ahead of a migrating humpback whale


As can be seen, there are many fabulous opportunities to watch humpback whales that come right up close to our coastline. However, sometimes it can take a little bit of time to spot them. Thankfully other marine wildlife such as dolphins and turtles often come into the same areas, providing entertainment for children during periods of waiting.

A wild dolphin surfing towards the Gorge at Point Lookout
A wild dolphin surfing towards the Gorge at Point Lookout


With so many great opportunities for land-based whale watching along South East Queensland's coast, where will you go to watch them this year?
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Why? Watch whales right from the shore along South East Queensland
When: June to October
Where: From the Gold Coast to the Sunshine Coast
Cost: Free
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