Day 6 – Gold Coast (Whale Watching)

Every year between June and October, Antarctica whales travel up north to Australia to breed. Gold Coast is one of the last safe havens where females give birth to their calves before they return to the colder southern waters in October. We are in Gold Coast at the perfect season to witness the courtship of whales out in the wild.

The whale-watching operator is very experienced and they guarantee 100% whale-sightings. We have done a few dolphin watching trips in Hong Kong but the sightings were usually very rare and far. Whale-watching in Gold Coast is a very rewarding experience. In our tour, we came very close to the whales – not 1 or 2 but at least 4-5 whales (each 12-15m long!). We also had close encounters with the dolphins. Spotting the whales was easy and it didn’t take long before we spotted one – the Humpback Whale is an acrobatic animal, often breaching (leaping out of water) and slapping the water. To protect these gentle giants, Australia has strict laws on whale-watching. Operators must keep a distance of at least 100m.

We learnt so much about these magnificent animals. Between the 50s-60s, Humpbacks were hunted to the brink of extinction. Thanks to the whale recovery program, Humpbacks are now sought by whale-watchers today and not butchers. Their numbers have recovered significantly from 5,000 to 80,000 today. Humpback’s average lifespan is between 50-85 years old but new studies reveal that some can live beyond 100 years.

7 Responses to Day 6 – Gold Coast (Whale Watching)

  1. ezmum says:

    Hi hi,

    Thanks for the informative post. May I know which whale watching operator did you use? There are a few that I found online.

    Thank you very much in advance.

    • Wahbiang says:

      Hi Ezmum,

      Thanks for writing in… I can’t remember the exact operator but it was one of the major ones recommended by the local tourist information center office. It is not easy to spot the whale. I was lucky to capture the shot. Have fun!

  2. angie choong says:

    Thanks for your interesting blog and photos. Am going to GC in mid-Dec and I have picked up many interesting points for my trip planning.

    Some questions:
    1) Since I am going in Dec .. there is no chance for whale watching, right?
    2) Did you rent a car? Is it difficult to move about if I don’t rent a car. My party has 3 adults and 3 mature teens
    3) Q1 is expensive .. worth it. Can you recommend some lower priced alternatives at Surfers Paradise

    Thanks so much.

    • Wahbiang says:

      Hi Angie:

      Thanks for your good notes. Hope you have an enjoyable time in Gold Coast. Let me answer your 3 questions below:

      1) Nope. The whale-watching season is over. It is between May – Nov. I am doubtful you will get to see any whale in Dec.

      2) We didn’t rent a car as we booked our jeep-tour through a local agency. Read my other post: You may contact Darran directly at: Southern Cross 4WD Tours. Tel: +617 5574 5041. Email:

      However, if you are comfortable and confident in driving, you should rent a car as it is easier to explore Gold Coast. Be mindful when driving at night in forested areas as there is no lighting. Road conditions are different from the ones back home, thus always drive carefully. Overall, Gold Coast isn’t a busy place … it is pretty spacious and road-friendly.

      3) Q1 is a great location as it is within meters to the beach and the shopping district. We paid about SGD350/night as it is a 2-bedroom service apartment. It has a big living room and a spacious open kitchen. However, you may also consider these:

      a) QT Gold Coast
      b) Wyndham Surfers Paradise
      c) President Holidays Apartments

      I booked most of my hotels via (go download the app) – it helps you to see the locations of the hotels and also good reliable reviews by travellers.

      If you want to check out our room at Q1 – see:

      • angie choong says:

        Hi .. thanks for your fast response.

        Thanks for your recommendations on and alternative hotels.

        Your Window to Wilderness blog was very interesting and spurred me to contact Darran immediately and I am definitely adding that full day tour to my itinerary. You did a good “marketing” job for Darran.

        I don’t plan on driving to the nature reserves and will take the 4WD from Darran.

        But I am wondering for day to day commute to various attractions in Gold Coast and nearby, should I buy the Freedom Bus pass or rent a car ?

        Thanks much.

      • Wahbiang says:

        Hi Angie:

        That depends where you want to go in Gold Coast. If it is simply exploring nature / sea / parks during day time, renting a car is certainly much comfortable and cheaper than flagging a cab.

        However, if you are going uphill for star-gazing or glow worms in the forest at night, I strongly suggest you book a tour as you are unfamiliar with the terrains and roads in the forest. I had a nasty car accident in Perth 10 years ago as we were disoriented in the foggy forest at night. Nevertheless, Australia is a friendly place to drive as most drivers are friendly and gentle. Do not drive long road or late at night if you aren’t an experienced driver.

        As long as your destinations are within a 1-2 hour away, it is okay to rent a car – as you have quite a crowd of travelers with you. Most of these attractions aren’t far away.

        Travel safe and have fun!

  3. jenny says:

    Wow your blog looks very impressive. ya Watching whales is really one of the most unforgettable experience in life. I have also experienced touching whales in the sea. From most whale watching places i found Coolangatta whale watch as one of the adventurous and exciting whale watching Queensland place. They also offer customized tour to suits our needs.

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