Whale watching Hervey Bay tours 2023

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Whale watching Hervey Bay tours operate each year during whale season in Hervey Bay. From July to November humpback whales visit the calm waters of Hervey Bay as part of their annual migration along the Queensland coastline. This is the best time to visit Hervey Bay, to take advantage of the Hervey Bay whale watching season.

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Hervey Bay is a popular year-round holiday destination and during whale watching season thousands of visitors come to witness the spectacular humpback whales. In this guide we highlight the best whale watching Hervey Bay tours.

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Whale Watching Hervey Bay Tours

Comparison Chart – Hervey Bay Whale Watching Packages

To help you choose which whale watching Hervey Bay tour is right for you, we have compiled a snapshot of the the popular day trips from Hervey Bay along with a brief description of what’s included. Below in the article is a detailed overview of each tour.

The Best Whale Watching Hervey Bay Tours

Here’s a handy reference list of the best whale tours Hervey Bay – see all the reviews of the day trips below!

  • Hervey Bay Whale Watching, 4 hour cruise
  • Hervey Bay Whale Watching Experience, 5 hour cruise
  • Spirit of Hervey Bay Whale Watching, 4.5 hour cruise
  • Freedom III Premium Whale Watching, 6 hour cruise
  • Hervey Bay Whale Swim and Watch, 6 hour cruise
  • Half-Day Whale Watching in Urangan, 4 hour cruise
  • Remote Fraser Island & Whale Experience, 9 hour cruise

Planning a Hervey Bay whale watching visit

Located approximately 280 km north of Brisbane, Hervey Bay has a population of around 50,000 and is an ideal holiday destination for those wanting a relaxed coastal getaway, calm waters, and modern amenities, with the added bonus of easily accessible humpback whale watching tours.

We have visited Hervey Bay many times and over the years have watched it grow from a small seaside village into a large town. Although it has grown in size it retains its beachside charm, especially along the extensive esplanade. Many resorts and holiday let homes are located directly across from the beach allowing easy access and spectacular ocean views.

Being a bay, the waters are calm with safe swimming which is ideal for family holidays. For those who prefer a camping holiday there are large caravan parks located along the esplanade with direct beach access. For fishing enthusiasts Hervey Bay also offers excellent fishing either from the shoreline or by boat.

Hervey Bay Esplanade
The calm waters of the esplanade

Although there are other places in Australia to see whales, such as Exmouth in Western Australia and the picturesque head of the Bight in South Australia which we visited during our trip across the Nullarbor, Hervey Bay is widely seen as the best place in Queensland for whale watching.

Fraser Island, the world’s largest sand Island is also located nearby and no visit to Hervey Bay would be complete without allocating additional time to visit this world heritage UNESCO site. You can learn more about what to see and do on Fraser Island including best day trips on our Hervey Bay tours to Fraser Island article.

When is the best time to visit Hervey Bay for a Whale watching tour?

Whales begin to arrive in the Hervey Bay region in July each year. Many Hervey Bay whale tours begin to operate from the middle of July and usually end around 31st October.  While some whales may still be present in November most will have departed.

A visit any time during this period would usually guarantee that you will get to see whales in their natural environment. It is worth noting that during this peak whale watching season that tours can sell out quickly. Therefore, to avoid disappointment, plan your visit to Hervey Bay by booking accommodation and tours well in advance.  

Great Sandy Straits Marina Hervey Bay Queensland
Great Sandy Straits Marina

Whale watching in Hervey Bay packages

Below is further information on each whale watching cruises highlighted in the comparison chart. These tours operate from mid July to end of October during each whale migration period. Taking any of tours should guarantee you get to see whales. Additional information including reviews from previous passengers are available on the links to each cruise.

Hervey Bay Whale Watching Cruise

Take in your half day whale watching cruise onboard a specially designed whale watching catamaran with rear viewing deck. This fully guided tour has expert commentary on the history of whales and local marine life. There are multiple viewing areas including underwater viewing windows and the outdoor viewing deck.

The catamaran is also equipped with hydrophones so you can hear the whale’s sing. Tea and coffee is served with snacks when the boat departs the marina. After viewing the whales, an antipasto platter is served on the return trip. During the journey drinks can also be purchased at the fully licensed bar.

The operators are so confident you will see whales that in the unlikely event no whales are spotted, you can take a return Hervey Bay whale-watching cruise on a different day free of charge. This cruise consistently receives 5 star reviews and has many satisfied customers.

Click here for current pricing, reviews and booking information.

Hervey Bay Whale Watching Experience

This 4-to-5-hour cruise onboard the specially designed MV Whalesong includes hotel pickup. The cruise operates twice daily with a morning and afternoon departure available. The boat has multiple viewing areas, underwater cameras, and Hydrophone to hear and view the whales. Includes expert commentary on the whales and marine life.

Morning tea and buffet lunch is included on the AM departure and afternoon tea and buffet dinner is served on the PM departure. Drinks, snacks, and souvenirs are also available for purchase.

This cruise consistently receives positive reviews.

Click here for current pricing of the Hervey Bay Whale Watching Experience.

Spirit of Hervey Bay Whale Watching Cruise

As with many of the whale watching Hervey Bay tours this cruise offers the choice of 2 cruises a day. A 4.5-hour morning cruise departing at 8:30am or a 4-hour afternoon cruise departing at 1:30pm. Both cruises include either morning or afternoon tea and hotel pickup.

The Spirit of Hervy Bay is a catamaran offering superior comfort and clear views of the whales from its 6 levels of viewing decks including a water level deck. It also has underwater viewing rooms for viewing life below the surface and hydrophone to captures sounds of the whales.

This cruise offers views of Fraser Island beaches from Platypus Bay and has onboard commentary. The operators of Spirit of Hervey Bay have been offering whale watch cruises for over 30 years and reviews are consistently positive.

Click here for current pricing and bookings.

6-hour Hervey Bay Premium Whale Watching Cruise

This premium cruise visits the calm waters of Platypus Bay near Fraser Island. It is an 18-meter power catamaran that carries a maximum of 49 passengers. Whale sightings are guaranteed from 1 August to 20 October or a free return tour. Morning and afternoon tea with fruit and cheese platter is provided as well as a tropical buffet lunch.

Commentary about whale behaviour is provided and the boat is equipped with a hydrophone to hear whale vocalisations. The tour is operated by Freedom Whale Watch onboard the Freedom III which was specially redesigned for whale watching tours. It has 3 viewing levels so you can take in the scenery of the bay and views of Fraser Island beaches.

This is an extremely popular luxury cruise with limited passenger size which is always highly rated, so it is advisable to book early.   

Check here for further reviews and bookings.

Hervey Bay Whale Swim and Watch

This is a small group cruise in a speed boat with no more than 20 people. It offers the option of snorkelling with all equipment provided. The cruise is 6 hours and includes morning tea and lunch.

If you want to avoid the large crowds of other Hervey Bay whale watching tours, then this may be just what you are looking for. What sets this cruise apart is the up-close whale encounter allowing you to go snorkelling and swimming with the whales. The operators guarantee whale sightings.

Reviews from previous travellers are positive and the general consensus is that you can get a more personalised whale watching experience due to the reduced number of participants.

For bookings and reviews of the Hervey Bay Whale Swim and Watch cruise click here.

Half-Day Whale Watching in Urangan

Cruise Hervey Bay aboard the purpose-built whale watching vessel MV Amaroo catamaran. A 20-metre catamaran featuring modern facilities and carrying up-to 50 passengers per cruise. This 4-hour cruise departs daily from Urangan. It offers morning or afternoon departures and includes morning or afternoon tea. The vessel has multiple viewing areas for taking in the spectacular bay views and whales.

Commentary is provided by the vessels captain and includes informative information on humpback whales, the local history of the region and other marine life that inhabits the bay.

Another popular cruise that receives first class reviews consistently.

Click here to check pricing and availability.

Remote Fraser Island & Whale Experience

Combine a visit to remote Fraser Island with your whale watching tour. Board the Tasman Venture for an unforgettable trip to the remote parts Fraser Island to explore the Island. Tour includes bush walking, snorkelling, kayaking, and swimming on Fraser Island and whale watching from the Tasman Venture in the calm waters off Fraser Island.

This full day tour of approximately 9 hours departs at 7:30am from the Marina and includes morning, afternoon tea and lunch. The Tasman Venture is a long-established tour company that has a reputation for quality tours.

Click here for more information and current pricing.

Hervey Bay family holiday attractions

Of course, there is so much more to do in Hervey Bay than whale watching tours. Notable places to include on your stay include the following.

Take a walk along the Urangan Pier. This historic Pier is located on the esplanade at Urangan and is hard to miss. It stretches almost 900 metres and finished construction in 1917. It once had a railway track which was used to transfer cargo between rail and ships. In 1985 it was due to be demolished. However, local outcry saved the pier and although 239 metres of it was demolished the rest thankfully was saved. These days the Pier is used for recreation and is a popular fishing spot.

Urangan Pier Hervey Bay Queensland
Urangan Pier is a popular landmark and great spot for fishing

Located nearby is the Great Sandy Straights Marina at Urangan. This is where the Hervey Bay whale watching tours depart from. Here you will also find many resorts, top class restaurants with marina views and shopping. It is a great place to take in the sights and relax.

It is also worth taking the 10-minute drive from Urangan along the esplanade to visit Point Vernon. This area is mainly residential but there are many places you can stop and admire the views of the bay. Picnic areas are also available as well as boat access.

On the way to Point Vernon you will pass the Wetside Water Park located along the esplanade at Pialba. This water park is popular with families with kids visiting Hervey Bay and although not huge has plenty of attractions that will appeal to kids and adults.

Wetside Water Park
Enjoy a refreshing day out at Wetside Water Park

The Hervey Bay esplanade stretches for approximately 20 km with pathways lining the foreshore and there are multiple access points to the sandy beaches. The opposite side of the Esplanade is lined with boutique shopping, restaurants, take away eateries and plenty of recreational stores.

Where to stay in Hervey Bay

There is a large range of Hervey Bay accommodation to suit every budget with accommodation styles ranging from resorts to apartments and hotels. Our advice is to book early as the popular resorts and hotels especially along the esplanade are popular in whale watching season.

Click here to find the best deals on accommodation.

Last words on Best Whale Watching Hervey Bay Tours

A whale watching tour from Hervey Bay Queensland is an unforgettable experience that should be on everyone’s bucket list. The pristine calm waters and abundance of marine life of the region make Hervey Bay an ideal family holiday destination, especially during the whale migration season.

Have you been on whale watching tours from Hervey Bay? Comment below what your most memorable experience was. 


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