If you’ve ever wanted to go whale watching, Hervey Bay is the perfect place for you!
Just 1.5 to 2 hours drive north of the Sunshine Coast or about 3.5 hours from Brisbane, Hervey Bay is honestly the most amazing place to get up close with these majestic animals.
Numerous humpback whales visit the waters nearby from late July to early November and the protection of Fraser Island means the waters are largely calm (great news for those, like me, who tend to get sea sick).
During a recent weekend trip to Hervey Bay we made a last minute decision to take a half day whale watching tour. It turned out to be one of the best decisions we’ve ever made!
Whale watching in Hervey Bay
Based only on the advice of a friendly local, we booked on the 3.5 hour Tasman Venture ‘Whale Watch Encounter’ tour.
There are numerous companies that offer whale watching tours out from Hervey Bay and they probably all offer a fantastic experience but we were personally thrilled with our decision to go with Tasman Ventures.
We opted for the morning tour, departing Great Sandy Straits Marina at 8.30am. It wasn’t long after the boat had headed out in the direction of Platypus Bay, at the northern end of Fraser Island, before we were treated to the sight of a humpback whale leaping out of the water in the distance.
The trip just got better from there!
Eye-to-eye with a whale
At one point we pulled up alongside Tasman Venture’s smaller boat and watched in amazement as two humpback whales swam in between the two vessels, eyeballing those of us on deck, rolling around, splashing their tails and generally putting on an amazing show.
They were just so curious to see what we were up to, getting so close that you could stare into their eyes, see the grooves in their skin and the barnacles attached to them.
Tasman Venture’s catamaran has a specially designed platform at the back of the boat that they can lower to the water’s edge. At one point our daughter was on the platform when a humpback rose out of the water mere centimetres from her. Talk about an unforgettable experience!
At the same time our younger son and I were on the upper deck watching on and got the full view of this majestic animal rising up from the deep, before rolling onto its side to eyeball us.
It is difficult to convey in words just how thrilling and unforgettable the experience was. I think perhaps the photos do the experience better justice.
Which whale watching tour to take?
When talking about this amazing trip, we’ve had several people ask whether we were able to get a good view of the whales on the larger boat because of the number of people onboard.
While at times you couldn’t get the exact spot you wanted, we found that we were always able to find a viewing spot and as the whales move around the vessel, what one second was the “wrong spot” suddenly becomes front row to the action!
However, if you have the money and time, we would recommend taking a tour on one of the smaller vessels. For example, Tasman Venture also offers a full-day tour for almost double the price, but as it is on a smaller boat the whales seemed to gravitate towards them more.
That said, everyone on both boats on the day we went out definitely had an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience.
We have been lucky enough to previously go whale watching out from Reykjavik, Iceland, and saw numerous Minke Whales and few Humpbacks on that trip. But while that experience was amazing, it now pales in comparison to our experience out from Hervey Bay.
If you ever get the chance, book a whale watching trip out from Hervey Bay – you won’t regret it.