Whale watching in Hervey Bay is an experience not to be missed during the whale migration season (June - November). There are nine whale watching operators running out of Hervey Bay. We were keen to find a small vessel and a no frills trip, hoping to avoid the 'big tour' feel so chose "That's Awesome". The company certainly lived up to its name and we had an incredible experience.
That's Awesome was the first operator to start up in Hervey Bay and they have over 25 years experience. The tour felt small and personal, just as we had hoped. There are three That's Awesome tours to choose from - Dawn, Day and Dusk Patrol. We went on the Day Patrol, leaving the Bay at 10.30 returning at 13.30 and shared the experience with about 15 others.
The boat itself is the fastest of the Hervey Bay whale watching vessels and the 30 minute ride out into Platypus Bay was really enjoyable. It can get quite breezy and splashy at high speed, so it's worth bringing warm clothes and raincoats. The crew had some spare jackets (including a children's size) available to borrow.
I really enjoyed being on a small boat, with all viewing at water level, allowing us to get 'eye-to-eye' with the whales. There is a viewing deck around the whole boat and plenty of space for all the passengers, so it was easy to move around to follow the whales and I never felt like I was struggling to get a great view. There were small gates on both sides of the boat which made perfect viewing spots for my nearly 3-year old to be able to look out safely without needing to be lifted up.
The commentary on the tour was great with whale facts casually shared throughout the trip - no dull monologue being read out to the masses on a microphone here.
We saw plenty of whales within a few metres of the boat. Seeing a Humpback swimming under our boat and waving its fin close by was truly thrilling. The That's Awesome booklet included a great spotters chart outlining the various whale 'moves' from the "Peduncle Slap" to the "Head Lunge".