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An Insider’s Guide to All Whale Watching Tours in Hervey Bay

Hervey Bay is the world’s first Whale Heritage Site, and not by chance! Humpback whales visit our waters to raise their calves and make of the Great Sandy Marine Park their playground between July and October every year. Yes, they come to play, and as such, you will see whales chilling, having fun and being very curious about YOU! Not the same behaviour they show elsewhere.

Join the fun in Hervey Bay and let them check you out and say helloooooo! (in whale language). But first, it’ll come handy to understand how cruises are organised on the bay, so you can choose the best tour for you and your wallet.

Here we’ll explain them all:

Things to do in Hervey Bay - whales
Photo by @herveybaywhalewatch

Half-day whale watching tours

These cruises are perfect if you don’t want to spend an entire day out. On average, you’ll be on board for about 4.5 hrs. Some cruises offer morning sessions and afternoon ones to enjoy at sunset, and prices range between $99-$130 for adults. The key is to choose the cruise shape that you prefer and the type of catering provided, while all of them offer drinks and nibbles not two are the same:

  • Tasman Venture and Whalesong offer very similar schedules at a similar price. While Tasman Venture has underwater viewing rooms, Whalesong offers a hearty buffet on board. Views or food?

  • Spirit of Hervey Bay offers morning & afternoon tea, and as such, price is a bit cheaper. The cruise is the biggest of the bay, so if you’re into a big cruise experience this is the one!

  • Quick Cat II offers morning and afternoon sessions, they’ll entertain you longer (6hrs) and will give you a tasty light breakfast or afternoon tea on board. The cruise has five open viewing decks, plenty of room to put your excited face out for the curious whales. For $35 extra they’ll take you to Kingfisher Bay Resort in Fraser Island for delicious lunch, but you don’t have to if it’s not within your budget.

Things to do in Hervey Bay - whales
Photo by @tasmanventure

Full-day whale watching tours

Here’re cruises go out for about 6-9hrs. You’ll find less kids on board, but of course, this is perfect for the whale-obsessed kid, more time outside! All of them are fully catered and they all offer plenty of food; prices range between $150-$195 for adults and the three options are very unique:

  • Freedom III: This is a 6hrs cruise offering delicious food and homemade profiteroles, and is all about whales. The captain offers such a nice commentary and fun entertainment, a hilarious day out!

  • Blue Dolphin: Is for the sailors who like cruising slowly. For 8hrs you’ll enjoy the landscapes of the bay and the many moves of the whales. Only kids over 8yo are allowed as this is a sailing boat and you need to watch your steps. You’ll find this cruise more intimate, but you must like sailing to enjoy the full day out.

  • Remote Fraser Island & Whale Experience: This is the highest price range but this cruise will take you on a great adventure. A dreamlike whale experience in combination with exploring the west beaches of Fraser Island. Plenty of other activities and aquatic sports involved. Not to be missed!

Things to do in Hervey Bay - whales
Photo by @freedomwhalewatch

Most affordable whale watching tours

The most affordable that’s neither half-day nor full-day is Pacific Whale Foundation. The fastest boat of the bay that’ll take you to the whale spot and back in the blink of an eye, but you’ll get to spend more time on the whale playground than cruising round. They offer three sessions a day, 3hrs on board, soft drinks and refreshments, and expert Marine Biologist on board (plus they do environmental research for the whales).

Tip: Keep an eye on Spirit of Hervey Bay, Hervey Bay Whale Watch and Freedom III for early and late season discounts.

Things to do in Hervey Bay - whales
Photo by @pacificwhaleoz

Swimming with the whales

This section deserves its own blog… swimming with whales, what a dream! Read here!


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