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Whale Watching with Hervey Bay's Boat Club Adventure Cruises

Home > Hervey Bay > Adventure | Animals and Wildlife | Cruises | Day Trips | Escape the City
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 August 27th 2020
Cruise the world's first Whale Heritage Site in comfort
Each year, southern humpback whales visit Hervey Bay from July to October having migrated from their summer feeding grounds in Antarctica to this region to give birth, rest, and nurse their young calves in the waters sheltered by K'Gari / Fraser Island. This whale nursery was named the world's first Whale Heritage Site by the London-based World Cetacean Alliance in 2019, and each of the whale watching tours in Hervey Bay are eco-certified.

A humpback whale relaxing in the sheltered waters of Hervey Bay
A humpback whale relaxing in the sheltered waters of Hervey Bay


I recently had the pleasure of going out whale watching for an afternoon on board Boat Club Adventure Cruises' fast catamaran, the Amaroo. This purpose-built whale watching boat leaves from the Hervey Bay Boat Club at the Great Sandy Straits Marina in Urangan.

The Amaroo whale watching vessel - Boat Club Adventure Cruises
The Amaroo whale watching vessel - Boat Club Adventure Cruises


The Amaroo features three viewing decks and a fully enclosed cabin. The upper deck is shaded, with innovative seating along the edges that allow whale watchers to sit looking outwards from the railing, which I really appreciated as an arm support while I was photographing a young male whale who just kept breaching, and breaching, and breaching...

The front of the shaded upper deck of the Amaroo
The front of the shaded upper deck of the Amaroo


Although each run by independent firms, the whale watching boats on Hervey Bay are all in radio contact with each other, and alert each other to the presence of whales, who are especially playful. Although the crew on each of the boats are committed to keeping their legal distance when approaching the whales, at times the whales themselves seem to delight in interacting with people on the boats, and come right up to "mug" the vessels.

A humpback whale engaging in some people-watching
A humpback whale engaging in some people-watching


The speed of the Amaroo gave it a distinct advantage, and although the whale watching tour was only 4 hours in length, including the time to get from the marina to Platypus Bay where the whales most frequently relax before heading home, the captain took us to observe a number of whales during our time out. He and the knowledgeable crew also took time to explain much of the behaviour we were observing, as well as their lives during the rest of the year outside of Hervey Bay.

A whale breaching in Platypus Bay with K'Gari / Fraser Island in the background
A whale breaching in Platypus Bay with K'Gari / Fraser Island in the background


Whales often enjoy jumping during rough weather, and on the day of our trip, the water was choppy enough for them to be breaching repeatedly. Despite this nobody on the trip, from toddlers to grandparents, became seasick, although the Amaroo does have sea sickness tablets for sale if needed.

A humpback whale breaching in front of the Amaroo
A humpback whale breaching in front of the Amaroo


The Amaroo also has a fully licensed bar, and serves complimentary morning and afternoon tea or coffee, as well as serving a range of souvenirs.

I was so enjoying photographing the whales that I completely missed afternoon tea - until a kind crew member brought me a cuppa
I was so enjoying photographing the whales that I completely missed afternoon tea - until a kind crew member brought me a cuppa


Additional facilities on board the Amaroo include:

Toilets
Brightly coloured vessel which attracts the often-curious whales
A canteen
A hydrophone and underwater camera system

The front deck of the Amaroo whale watching vessel
The front deck of the Amaroo whale watching vessel provides eye-level views with the whales


2020 is possibly the best year ever to enjoy a whale watching trip, since COVIDSafe plans have restricted the number of passengers that can be on board at any one time. For example, the Amaroo can carry up to 90 passengers and usually caps numbers at about 60 passengers for optimal whale viewing. However, this year they are limited to just 32 passengers on this huge vessel! As a result, there was ample room for everyone on board to have a front-row view, wherever the whales came up.

Everyone on board has a front row seat to this amazing sight in 2020
Everyone on board has a front row seat to this amazing sight in 2020


Things to bring on your whale watching tour include:

A warm, wind and waterproof jacket
Sunscreen
Binoculars and / or a camera with telephoto lens

The only question remaining after a fantastic trip on the Amaroo is 'When can I return?'
The only question remaining after a fantastic trip on the Amaroo is 'When can I return?'

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Why? Whale watching in the worlds first Whale Heritage Site on board a fast, stable catamaran
When: July - October; 8am - 5pm
Phone: (07) 4197 8766
Where: Hervey Bay
Cost: Adult $120; Child (4-14) $60; 2 Adults 2 Children $310
Your Comment
What an experience Meg. It is hard to understand that people used to, and still do, hunt these magnificent animals. Neil.
by Neil Follett (score: 3|4054) 632 days ago
wow, looks great!
by Joy (score: 3|1945) 631 days ago
Definitely a great experience.
by Kerenza Korostovetz (score: 2|232) 629 days ago
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