A freelance writer who can't resist good food and exploring new places. Visit my blog at www.travelchook.com
Published September 25th 2011
Whale watching has to be one of the most breathtaking activities on earth. In Queensland we are fortunate to have these giants of the ocean swim, breach and blow through our waters during Winter and Spring.
Humpback Whale near the boat. Photo by J.Adler
The magnificent Humpback Whale undertakes the epic voyage of migrating all the way from Antarctica to Queensland to give birth and mate in the warm tropical waters, enabling their calves the best chance of survival.
SeaWorld Whale Watch (on the Gold Coast) uses a very new luxury vessel with three viewing levels and an onboard whale theatre called the 'Spirit of Migloo' for their half day whale watching cruises. Wheelchair Access is available for those who require it.
Spirit of Migloo Whale Watching Boat
The 'Spirit of Migloo' quietly cruises out through the seaway into the open ocean while screening a whale related program on the large screen indoors. All passengers are required to sit down indoors to enter the seaway and for the first few kilometres. This can be frustrating, especially when a whale is playing nearby. However, once the passengers are released to the outside decks, the excitement begins.
Everyone clambers onto the deck with binoculars and cameras and the wind in their hair eagerly looking for whales. Instead of a whale, our cruise got a big beautiful turtle resting on the water which was an unexpected pleasure.
About twenty minutes later, after searching a variety of areas, and the captain contacting other boats, we found two big beautiful humpbacks. The whales surfaced to breathe, blowing a stream of spray that rose high into the air causing passengers such as myself to practically stop breathing in awe. A whale blowing is such a precious special sight.
The whales were only on the surface for a short time before diving back under water. Watching their majestic tails wave in the air with water streaming off them just before they gracefully slide down into the ocean is a sight to behold, and an incredible privilege.
These two whales stayed deep underwater before resurfacing about seven minutes later, and continued to repeat this pattern almost to the second quite a few times. Hearts beat hard, eyes widened and cameras clicked madly. What a priceless thrill.
Whale Watching on the Gold Coast
Humpbacks are the easiest whales to sight because they like to stay relatively close to the coastline during this migration. The whales generally start arriving in June (sometimes May), and begin heading back to Antarctica after they have eaten, played, mated, socialised and given birth. The whale watching season in Queensland is usually from June to November.
Waiting for whales to resurface
SeaWorld Whale Watch offers a half day whale watching cruise which departs from SeaWorld Cruise Terminal in Main Beach on the Gold Coast. The cruise runs for two and a half hours in the morning or the afternoon and a whale sighting is guaranteed or a refund is given.
The SeaWorld Cruise Terminal offers a small gift shop and cafe with seating on a deck overlooking the water for guests to use while waiting for their whale watching cruise to depart.
Deck at SeaWorld Cruise Terminal where you can have a coffee or snack with a water view while waiting for your cruise to leave
The best value ticket is the $110 adult ticket which includes whale watching plus entry to SeaWorld on that day or the next day – a whole weekend of nature and fun. The whale watching cruise runs from June to November. For all the details see this website.
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