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Winter Whales on the Gold Coast

  • July 5, 2018
  • By 50 Shades
  • 28 Comments
Winter Whales on the Gold Coast

Winter and Whales go hand in hand on the Gold Coast. Every year these giants of the ocean migrate north along the East Coast of Australia seeking warmer waters to breed and give birth. As a population we have become obsessed with getting up close and personal with our amazing marine life, and there is no better encounter than one with the Winter Whales on the Gold Coast.

I have previously seen plenty of Whales from various lookouts and viewpoints along the coast and witnessed a couple of Minke Whales on a Whale Shark swim on the Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia. Despite these visual sightings I had never really got that close to our friendly and playful Humpback visitors. So I was rather excited to jump aboard a Whale Watching cruise with Spirit of Gold Coast.

What to Expect on a Whale Watching Cruise

Unfortunately I suffer miserably from sea sickness so normally avoid sea cruises on smaller vessels. However I couldn’t have asked for better conditions when I boarded the catamaran that departed from Marina Mirage at Southport Spit. The conditions were calm and glassy with no wind, mild temperature and cloudy skies. Perfect for seeking out whale blows!

Winter Whales on the Gold Coast

Leaving Southport Broadwater

Once we negotiated the Broadwater, out through the Gold Coast Seaway, we were in open water. We looked back towards South Stradbroke Island and noticed a few surfers and many small fishing boats. Once we got out a fair way out all eyes were peeled for whale blows, including the crew and passengers.

Winter Whale on the Gold Coast

Our first whale sighting

After a while we spotted our first whale, that had surfaced at a distance of approximately 50m off the port side of the boat. We saw a glimpse of the large creature’s back and before we knew it, it disappeared under the water. The skipper stopped the boat and we waited and waited for the Whale to resurface again. It did make a re-appearance about 10 minutes later, but much to our dismay it dived under again with a flick of it’s gigantic tail.

Winter Whale on the Gold Coast

Humpback Whale Facts

These marine creatures are incredible. Did you know?

  • They are one of the largest species of whale, the fifth largest of all whales.
  • They have baleen plates (no teeth), used to filter food.
  • Each Humpback has a different pattern of black and white on the underside of it’s tail.
  • They weigh between 25-40 tonnes (1 tonne at birth).
  • They grow to 16m in length (4m at birth).
  • Gestation period is between 11-11.5 months
  • The milk the calves drink is over 50% fat and the calves can double their body weight within the first week of life.
  • They are also the most acrobatic of all whales.
Winter Whale on the Gold Coast

A breaching whale off the Gold Coast

The reason that we see them in Queensland is because they’re on their annual migration from their feeding grounds in the Antarctic to their breeding grounds in the Whitsunday Islands. It’s about a 5000 km trip each way – quiet a holiday!

Whale Watching Cruise Information

A Gold Coast whale watching cruise with Spirit of Gold Coast departs twice daily between late May to October each year. They offer guaranteed whale sighting, which means you get a free return trip if you don’t see whales on your cruise.

Winter Whales on the Gold Coast

Aboard the Spirit of the Gold Coast

The cruise goes for 2.5 hours and includes, morning/afternoon tea, full commentary, professional crew with a vast knowledge of marine life, a catamaran vessel that is built for the best whale viewing and a safety briefing prior to cruising.

From my own personal experience I found the crew were friendly and extremely helpful at all times during the cruise and were happy to answer any questions we had about the whales.

Winter Whales on the Gold Coast

On the lookout for Whale blows

A Spirit of Gold Coast Whale Watching Cruise costs $99 Adult and $59 Child.

Although the two whales that we observed weren’t willing to play on the day, they are often curious and playful creatures that perform all types of acrobatic manoeuvres like barrel rolls, breaching, tail slaps, peduncle throws and spy-hopping.

Winter Whales on the Gold Coast

A flash of Whale tail before it submerges

Whale Watching is Fun!

I must confess that I was expecting to see more Whales than we did and also some spectacular Whale acrobatics. However, like many wild animal interactions you can’t rely on the Whales “performing” on the day. But did I enjoy the morning cruising the open seas off the Gold Coast seeking Whales? I certainly did! As you can see the scenery on the Gold Coast and Southport Broadwater is lovely and for that reason alone it is worth doing.

Winter Whales on the Gold Coast

Gold Coast Seaway

Once we had observed two of these magnificent creatures, it was time to return to the marina. But it was a grand adventure and I can now say that I have been up close and personal with our Humpbacks visitors. I wonder whether they need a travel visa to visit our seas?

Winter Whales on the Gold Coast

Marina Mirage on the Southport Broadwater

Have you been aboard a boat cruise getting up close and personal with marine creatures?

This post is part of the Lovin’ Life Linky with a Lovin’ Life Team of the “ageing positively” kind who are as keen as I am to promote the Lovin’ Life mindset.

The Lovin’ Life Team includes:

Lyndall from SEIZE THE DAY PROJECT
Deb from DEBBISHDOTCOM
Min from WRITE OF THE MIDDLE.
Leanne from DEEP FRIED FRUIT
Jo from JOANNE TRACEY
and of course me, Kathy from 50 SHADES OF AGE

 


 

 

 

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By 50 Shades, July 5, 2018 Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
  • 28

50 Shades

Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.

28 Comments
  • Jo Tracey
    July 5, 2018

    We did one with Whale One out of Mooloolaba last year – & had such a brilliant day we’ll be doing it again this year. As you say, though, they’re wild animals & don’t necessarily perform on cue. But when they do? It’s remarkable.

    • Kathy
      July 5, 2018

      Yes it’s one of those things. You either get whales breaching out of the water getting everyone wet on the boat or the ones that are a little bit shy. I wasn’t disappointed really because I’ve seen plenty from afar.

  • Ingrid
    July 5, 2018

    I’d love to go on another whale watching cruise. I’ve only been on one before and I only saw a couple of whale water spouts and the smallest bit of the whale’s back. I dream of seeing a whale breech or even a flip of a whale’s tail!

    • Kathy
      July 5, 2018

      Yes it was a great experience. It was a thrill to see them surface and then dive back down with a flick of their massive tails. I think I would definitely like to go again, maybe when they’re heading back south with their calves. #TeamLovinLife

  • Pinky Poinker
    July 5, 2018

    Whales are wonderful. We saw them from Rainbow Bay once but I’ve never been on a cruise. Lucky you had a calm day :)

    • Kathy
      July 5, 2018

      They are incredible creatures. I felt blessed to actually see them in the lovely sea waters off the Gold Coast. I would go again in the blink of an eye! #TeamLovinLife

  • Denyse Whelan
    July 5, 2018

    So glad you didn’t get seasick so that really could enjoy it all. I went on one from the far south coast a few years back and they were frolicking but it was October and they were going ‘home’. Great shots and isn’t it fascinating seeing the city from the boat! Denyse x

    • Kathy
      July 5, 2018

      I would love to see them frolicking Denyse. Maybe next time! #TeamLovinLife

  • Jodie
    July 5, 2018

    This would be fabulous….of course you’d want to see a ton of whales since you paid money, but at least you did see some…and those photos were amazing!!
    XOXO
    Jodie
    http://www.jtouchofstyle.com

    • Kathy
      July 5, 2018

      Even seeing two of these marine giants made the cruise worthwhile. It was a great thrill and I can highly recommend this as something for the bucket list. #TeamLovinLife

  • budget jan
    July 5, 2018

    I’m pretty sure no passports are required when you are the size of a whale lol. Great write up of a lovely day while watching.

    • Kathy
      July 5, 2018

      Ha ha, I guess not Jan! It was a lovely morning out and I would love to do it again when they are heading south with their calves. #TeamLovinLife

  • Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au
    July 5, 2018

    My sister-in-law is a huge fan of whale watching – I’ve never really gotten the appeal of it, but then I see fabulous pictures of them breaching the surface and suddenly I understand it more. Your photos are great and the blues of the sky and ocean prove it must have been a fantastic day (the whales were a bonus!)

    • Kathy
      July 5, 2018

      Yes it was a fabulous morning out on the waters off the coastline of the Gold Coast. Whales are truly majestic creatures and I always get a thrill out of seeing them in the sea. #TeamLovinLife

  • Sandy from Tray Tables Away
    July 5, 2018

    Great to hear about this day/ half day excursion. A lot of people think you have to go up to Harvey Bay for some good viewing I think !.?

    • Kathy
      July 5, 2018

      I think we get great viewing here on the Gold Coast as well, but they tend to stay and play in the calm seas off Hervey Bay. It just depends on timing. #TeamLovinLife

  • Annette
    July 5, 2018

    Great narrative of our morning Kathy. They are truly magnificent. I’ve had the privilege of diving with these gentle giants of the sea. To hear the whale song in the water is a memory I’ll cherish forever.

    • Kathy
      July 6, 2018

      Diving with them would have been both scary and thrilling at the same time. I would love to hear their whale song. #TeamLovinLife

  • Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond
    July 6, 2018

    It looked like the perfect day, Kathy! I didn’t realise you could do a Whale Watching Cruise from the Gold Coast (always thought of the North Coast for this), so I think I will book one next time we are down. They are magnificent aren’t they? You captured some great memories there.

    • Kathy
      July 6, 2018

      It was a nice calm and glassy day out on the open sea thank goodness! I believe we do get some great encounters with whales during the season off the Gold Coast. It was an awesome sight. #TeamLovinLife

  • Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit
    July 6, 2018

    WOW! Amazing. Are those breaching shots yours? The pictures are incredible. #teamlovinlife

    • Kathy
      July 6, 2018

      No we never got to see a breaching Humpback on the cruise so these images are from Shutterstock. I’ve seen them breaching from the shoreline and they are an incredible sight.

  • Natalie @ Be Kind 2 You
    July 6, 2018

    This looks amazing. I ahve never been whale watching but it is now on my bucket list. What an experience with such a magnificent looking creature.

    • Kathy
      July 6, 2018

      It was an amazing day out on the open waters off the Gold Coast. I would love to do it again. #TeamLovinLife

  • Sydney Shop Girl
    July 6, 2018

    Kathy
    Thank you for sharing your whale watching adventure. I don’t know if I’ll ever be game to do it myself so for now I am content to have read your post and admired your photos!

    SSG xxx

    • Kathy
      July 7, 2018

      It was a great experience and to be to see these majestic creatures up close in their natural environment was a thrill. Thanks for your comment. #TeamLovinLife

  • Deborah
    July 7, 2018

    As you know whale watching is a big thing here in Hervey Bay but I went last time for the first time in over two decades. We did see some whales pretty close but not as closely as some. I might think about doing it again this year but try a smaller vessel.

    • Kathy
      July 8, 2018

      Yes whale watching is very big in Hervey Bay and I imagine you get to see them frolicking more than we do. They are such majestic creatures and I could watch them all day every day.

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