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The best spots to see whales in Noosa

26 Feb 2021

With record numbers of humpback whales (30,000+) migrating up Queensland’s coast and back to Antarctica through Noosa’s waters between July and the end of October, there are many wonderful sightings of these amazing mammals. If you’re lucky enough to see (or hear) a whale, it’s something you’ll never forget.

Here are some of the ways you can enjoy this incredible experience in Noosa and nearby:

  • See them from the land at vantage points around Noosa
  • Hire a kayak or take a kayak tour from Noosa and keep a look-out
  • Join a whale watching tour in Noosa
  • Head to Mooloolaba, Brisbane or Hervey Bay for a whale watching tour – all are just a day-trip away and you can be back in Noosa for dinner
  • See them from the air on a scenic flight
  • Get really up close and personal on a swim with whales experience


*Cover image courtesy of Whalesong Cruises

Spot whales from land

Whales and their newborn calves can be spotted from vantage points along the eastern beaches from Sunshine Beach to Sunrise, Peregian and Coolum, where a coastal boardwalk provides great viewing.

Whales can also be seen from the Noosa National Park headland if they are close enough to shore. Just look for the spray of water into the air as they “blow” when they rise to the surface to breathe. Or look for a splash anywhere between the beach and the horizon as they poke their head, fin or tail out of the water. If you're lucky, you might catch them breaching - look out for a big splash of water as they launch their whole bodies out of the water.

Tours from Noosa

Noosa Ocean Rider, Noosa Thriller and Noosa Wave are jet boat rides that tour the waters around the Noosa National Park headland where they often see dolphins - and whales at this time of the year.

Epic Ocean Adventures (pictured above) do guided kayak tours to Double Island Point from Noosa, and often have stunning, close-up encounters with whales.

Ever wanted to swim with some of the most majestic and largest animals on earth in their natural habitat just off of Noosa? You now can with Noosa Wave, and experience a truly life-changing moment as you swim with whales, and the occasional dolphin.

Noosa Wave Boating Adventures

Boat tours

From Mooloolaba - just 30mins south of Noosa Sunreef and Whale One do whale-watching tours from Mooloolaba to the warm Sunshine Coast waters.

From Brisbane - Brisbane’s Moreton Bay, less than 2 hours south of Noosa, also has whale-watching tours with Brisbane Whale Watching.

From Hervey Bay - arguably the most special place on the Queensland coast to see whales is Hervey Bay. Whales spend up to 10 days in these waters with their young, on their return migration to the antartic and in 2019 they were named the world's first Whale Heritage Site. Hervey Bay is just a 2.5hr drive north of Noosa, and there’s a great range of half-day or full-day boat tours that take you close to the whales. It's not slim pickings in Hervey Bay, you can head out with:

Best of all, you'll be back in Noosa in time for dinner!

Whale watching with Whale One

See whales from the air

Flights over Noosa, Fraser Island and the Sunshine Coast also offer the chance to spot whales. Air Fraser Island have day tours and overnight experiences to the World Heritage-listed island on Noosa’s doorstep, while The Recreational Flying Co also offer scenic and charter flights over Fraser, Noosa and Rainbow Beach.

Sunshine Coast Helicopter Tours have scenic helicopter flights, or join Paradise Seaplanes for a flight in their Wilga Warbird. Or keep a lookout during a spectacular scenic flight over Sunshine Coast beaches with Helitec.

Swim with the whales

Sunreef Mooloolaba were the first in Australia to offer the chance to swim with humpback whales – you can’t get much closer than that! Noosa Wave in Noosa and Tasman Venture in Hervey Bay also offer an incredible swim with the whales experience.

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