Activities & Itineraries

Where To Find The Best Whale Watching Spots Around The Sunshine Coast

By Isabel Croker
8th Jun 2022

The Sunshine Coast offers some of the best whale watching in Australia, with a long season stretching from June to November. We’re spoilt with a free nature show as whales make their way to the warmer waters up north and back south again come springtime. This year, the season will run through till the end of October and estimates this year suggest that 40,000 humpback whales will swim through Sunshine Coast waters during the annual migration, which will breach all previous records.

Every year we go nuts for a glimpse of these gentle giants, but planning a whale watching trip can be a bit of a nightmare—what with the countless spots and tour options out there. We’ve taken the hard work out of it this year, rounding up of the best natural vantage points, so you can have the ultimate whale watching experience. Grab the binoculars and scroll on for the best places to go whale watching around the Sunshine Coast in 2022. 

Point Perry

Coolum Beach

Point Perry at Coolum is only just over an hour’s drive from Brisbane and offers stunning views over the humpback whale’s usual migration path in Australia. Grab your binoculars or zoom lens and pack a picnic of your favourite nibbles for the perfect weekend outing. Even if you don’t manage to spot our favourite yearly voyagers, you can always kick back and drink in the views over the coast. Just imagine sipping hot chocolate while you scour the ocean for whales. Weekend plans are definitely sorted.

Point Arkwright Lookout

Point Arkwright

Only a hop, skip and jump from Coolum, the Point Arkwright Lookout is a little bit closer to the coast, which means even more opportunities for whale watching. Overlooking the point where lush hinterland meets rolling blue waves, Point Arkwright Lookout is a spectacular place to keep an eye out for whales. This spot is also a local wedding favourite for a very good reason—it’s just that beautiful. Point Arkwright Lookout is also located smack bang in the middle of the humpback whale’s usual migration through Moreton Bay, so your chances of a sighting are pretty good. 

Dolphin Point Lookout

Noosa 

Despite what the name suggest, Dolphin Point in Noosa National Park is one of the best whale watching spots on the Sunshine Coast. Adventure about one kilometrre into the Noosa National Park, along the paved coastal walk, and you'll arrive at the Dolphin Point Lookout. The magnficent blue waters contrast strongly against the black rock and make for some truly incredible shots. Don't be too distracted by the view that you forget to look for whales.

Point Cartwright

Buddina

Situated at the very northern end of Kawana Beach, Point Cartwright is well known for its surfing break point and is a little less well known for its great whale watching. The impressive towering cliffs on the headland provide stunning views of Mooloolaba, Mount Coolum and Kawana Beach, so you're in no short supply of Instagram content. Bring your binoculars and there's a good chance you might see the migatory humpback whales entering the Port of Brisbane to the east.

Point Lookout

North Stradbroke Island

Point Lookout on North Stradbroke Island is Queensland’s most easterly point for land-based whale observation. Think stunning views over the Sunshine Coast, water so blue you’ll question your sense of reality and whale watching opportunities a-plenty. We’ll see you there.

Hervey Bay
Hervey Bay

No whale watching guide to Queensland would be complete without an honourable mention of Hervey Bay. While it’s a bit further away than other spots on this list, Hervey Bay hasn’t earned itself the title of whale watching capital of the world for no reason. Hervey Bay marks the only official stop spot on the annual migration route, where around 7000 humpback whales choose to rest and play with their new calves in the bay’s waters. This means that sightings are almost guaranteed, and you can enjoy a whale watching trip without worrying about that pesky little thing called sea sickness. Plus, who wouldn’t want the opportunity to see a baby whale having the time of its life? 

Tangalooma Island Resort

Moreton Island

Crystal blue waters, golden sand and a resident pod of wild bottlenose dolphins are only the beginning when it comes to Tangalooma’s many perks. The other is the opportunity to get up close and personal with humpback whales once you’ve had your fill of glorious island life. Operating since 1987, the Tangalooma Whale Watching Day Cruise features a leisurely catamaran cruise from Brisbane to Tangalooma across stunning Moreton Bay Marine Park, refreshments, commentary from the island’s resident eco warriors and, of course, a three hour whale watching cruise.

Stradbroke Island 

Stradbroke Island

Australia’s first Indigenous-owned and operated whale-watching tours, Yalingbila Tours cruises the waters around North Stradbroke Island, guided by elders, songmen and storytellers of the Quandamooka people, an Australian Aboriginal group that primarily live on North Stradbroke Island. Together with a land and sea ranger, they share their people's ancient connection to humpback whales, marine life and the land, as you keep an eye out for those telltale splashes and spouts. Best of all, the tours depart right from the heart of Brisbane at the South Bank ferry terminals, with Cleveland or Dunwich departure points available as well. 

Need some more excuses to get outdoors? Pull on your walking shoes and check out the best bush walks on the Sunshine Coast

Image Credit: Sunreef

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