Whale watching on the Gold Coast | Deals and tips for the 2019 season

Where and when to spot these magnificent beasts on the Gold Coast.

Watching whales as they migrate along the east coast of Australia is a spectacle like no other. These beautiful creatures captivate us as they swim, lifting and slapping their tails and fins and blowing jets of water through their blowholes.

Queensland’s Gold Coast is prime for witnessing whales as they journey up or down the coast to breed and give birth to their calves. While seaside vantage points work a treat to catch them, there’s something unsurpassable about sailing alongside humpback and southern right whales while on a cruise.

If that sounds like your cup of tea, we know a few deals that can get you onboard to watch the migration affordably.

Best for whale watching and sightseeing:

Half-Day Whale Watching and Canal Cruise

Half-Day Whale Watching and Canal Cruise from Viator

Highlights:

  • Watch humpback whales at play for just $99
  • Listen to interesting commentary from a marine naturalist
  • Small group sizes with a guaranteed rail side position
  • Glide along the Gold Coast canals past luxury homes

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Best for guaranteed whale sightings:

2.5-Hour Whale Watching Tour on Spirit of Gold Coast

2.5-Hour Whale Watching Tour on Spirit of Gold Coast from Groupon

Highlights:

  • See majestic humpback whales in their natural environment for $59
  • Receive a free return voucher if whales are not sighted
  • Chance to view dolphins, birds, sea turtles and other marine life
  • Includes a whale photographic keepsake booklet to commemorate the experience

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Best for learning about humpback whales:

3-Hour Whale Watching and Marine Research Adventure

3-Hour Whale Watching and Marine Research Adventure from Groupon

Highlights:

  • Enjoy a three-hour trip for $69 looking for the world’s largest mammals
  • Participate in research activities such as using the hydrophone to listen to underwater sounds
  • Choice of a sunrise tour for the calmest waters or a mid-morning departure
  • Take away a brochure with a summary of information about humpback whales

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When is whale watching season on the Gold Coast?

While whale watching season on the Gold Coast runs from May to November every year, the best time to catch the migration is between June and October.

Between May and July you’ll find the whales making their way north to breed, and from August onwards you’ll see them heading back south with their young.

The most common breeds you’ll witness are humpback whales and southern right whales, though if you’re lucky you may also spy killer whales (orcas) or false killer whales.


What is the best time for whale watching on the Gold Coast during the season?

The peak periods of activity for whale watching on the Gold Coast are slightly before and slightly after breeding. If you’re looking to increase your chances of seeing them, mid-June to July and mid-September to October are the ideal periods to do this.

Another good way to see when the whales will pass by Byron Bay and the Gold Coast is to keep an eye on when they pass Sydney.


Whale watching cruise companies in Gold Coast compared

Cruise name and lengthDeparture pointInclusionsPrice (from)Book with
Gold Coast Dive Adventures 3-hour tourRunaway Bay
  • Snacks and hot drinks
  • Brochure on humpback whales
$49 per child

$69 per adult

Groupon
Spirit of Gold Coast Whale Watching 2.5-hour tourMain Beach
  • Complimentary tea, coffee and biscuits on arrival
  • Photographic keepsake booklet
$39 per child

$59 per adult

Groupon
Whale Watching and Canal Cruise 3.5-hour tourSurfers Paradise
  • Complimentary coffee and biscuits
$69 per child

$99 per adult

Viator

 

Whales in Paradise 3.5-hour tourSurfers Paradise
  • Complimentary tea, coffee and biscuits
$69 per child

$99 per adult

RedBalloon

 

Gold Coast Adventures 2.5-hour tourSurfers Paradise
  • Free morning tea and muffins
  • Free undercover parking
  • Whale documentaries onboard
$69 per child

$99 per adult

RedBalloon

 

Sea World Whale Watching 2.5-hour tourSea World
  • Underwater microphones to hear the whales sing
$79 per child

$89 per senior

$99 per adult

Gift it Now

 

Latest deals on whale watching in Gold Coast

Adrenaline Adrenaline

Up to $44 off shark diving

Valid on select dates and activities like swim with sharks, whale watching, sailing, jet ski, scuba diving, kayaking, parasailing, fishing and more. Destinations are Sydney, Perth, Gold Coast, Brisbane and Melbourne. T&Cs apply.

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Adrenaline Adrenaline
Exclusive

Extra $10 off with code

Available sitewide for activities like whale watching, sailing, jet ski, scuba diving, flying experiences, kayaking and more. Minimum spend of $99. Destinations include Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and all major cities across Australia. T&Cs apply.

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365 Tickets 365 Tickets

Up to 20% off Sydney attractions

Valid for use on select dates. Activities include sightseeing, aquarium tickets, bus tours, whale watching, jet boating, explorer passes, vivid festival cruises and more. T&Cs apply.

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Deal ends

Adrenaline Adrenaline

10% off activities and experiences with code

Valid on select dates and activities like whale watching, sailing, jet ski, scuba diving, kayaking, parasailing, fishing and more. Must book two or more people in single order. Destinations are Sydney, Perth, Gold Coast, Brisbane and Melbourne. T&Cs apply.

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Gift It Now Gift It Now

Up to 20% off experiences

Valid on select experiences and activities like skydiving, scenic helicopter flight, kayaking, whale watching and more. Destinations include Sydney, Byron, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Darwin and Perth. T&Cs apply.

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iVenture Card iVenture Card

Save up to 40% off Sydney attractions

Plus skip the lines at popular attractions including Taronga Zoo, Jenolan Caves, SEA LIFE Aquarium, whale watching cruises and more.

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Popular Travel coupon codes

Last checked Code description Code
9 Dec 2019 Up to 50% off on deals plus $40 off sitewide LAS****
27 Nov 2019 Extra 10% off with code FIN****
21 Nov 2019 Year-end sale: Extra $10 off experiences with code YEA****
20 Nov 2019 Christmas sale: Extra $30 off skydiving with code SAN****
7 Nov 2019 Year-end sale: Extra $40 off experiences with code YEA****

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