Whale Watching with Spirit of Gold Coast
“Did you see it Mummy, did you see it?” squeals my son. “Over there, did you see it?“. He has just spotted his first whale and the look on his face is priceless. The amazement, the wonder, the sheer delight. It wasn’t just the kids who were excited, the atmosphere on the boat was electric.
Our fabulous crew aboard the Spirit of Gold Coast had their eyes peeled, scanning the deep blue for the tell-tale whale spout. These magnificent creatures, the Southern Humpback Whales, cruise up the Eastern seaboard on their annual migration to our warmer waters from June to November. While it’s possible to see them from land, there is something magical about getting an up-close view from ocean.
What to expect on a Spirit of Gold Coast Whale Watching Cruise
There was quite a buzz in our household in the lead up to our whale watching expedition. Master Five had been telling anyone who would listen (and anyone who wouldn’t) that he was going out to sea to find whales. We booked the morning cruise, so bright and early we hit the M1 southbound and arrived at our destination easily. Spirit had sent us a confirmation email with directions and details of how to get there, when to arrive and what to expect on the day. It’s like they’d done this before!
Arrival and safety
Spirit of Gold Coast staff greeted us near the car park at Mariners Cove Marina, and directed us towards our boat. Once everyone was checked in it was time to hit the Gold Coast Broadwater. During this time, Bec and the crew ran through a safety demonstration; similar to being on a plane. Life jackets, escape routes, what to do in the event of seasickness and general boating safety was covered.
The takeaway – you should always have three points of contact with the boat at all times, and the crew are well prepared should anyone feel queasy. After leaving the Broadwater we turned north and followed South Stradbroke Island, keeping our eyes fixed on the ocean in preparation for our first glimpse of a whale. Then we struck gold! There were a few pods of whales passing through, and the knowledgeable resident marine biologist, Marcella, explained the whale behaviours we were witnessing. Our captain Ghigo manoeuvred the boat so we could get a good view without the whales feeling intimidated.
During the 2.5 hour Spirit of Gold Coast Whale Watching Cruise we moved back and forth between the cabin and decks. For Master Five the best vantage point was on the rear deck, which we’d definitely recommended to all kids. The railings on the rear deck were better spaced and there were fewer people in this space, so it meant a clearer view for youngsters. We chatted with the lovely Fernanda who was manning the sick bay, and she was very keen to ensure Master Five saw as much as possible. Back inside the boat, a very helpful Bob was chatting to the passengers to ensure they were comfortable and enjoying themselves.
The large windows on the cabin meant that, when inside, passengers could get a great view of the whales outside. We could certainly see all the action from inside while having our snacks. Meanwhile, on the front deck, Daniel was watching everyone and reminding them to move about carefully. Making sure they were holding on, he was helping the kids and older passengers negotiate the front stairs and ensuring everyone got a great view of the action.
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What To Know Before You Go
Spirit of Gold Coast Whale Watching Cruises depart from Mariners Cove Marina, 60-70 Seaworld Drive, Main Beach. When booking with Spirit of Gold Coast, they send you a confirmation email containing plenty of information. You’ll receive information about boarding times, where to park, directions to get there, and more specific information about what to bring cruise itself. Spirit of Gold Coast offer a whale spotting guarantee – ‘Guaranteed Whale Sightings or Get a Free Return Trip’.
What to take with you when Whale Watching
We recommend you consider these items to wear or take in your whale watching cruise day pack –
- Sunscreen (a must, even in winter!)
- A weatherproof jacket
- Solid footwear
- Hat – you’ll have to hold onto them though, as it does get windy!
- Cameras are a must
- Snacks and drinks
- Anti-nausea tablets
The Gold Coast Whales
There is a small canteen for pre-packaged snacks, and you are welcome to bring your own food and drinks.
The cabin of the boat is clean, tidy and large to accommodate prams and well spaced for accessibility.
Anti-nausea tablets are available for purchase onboard but are best consumed before departure.
I can honestly say it was a day we won’t forget and felt incredibly well looked after by the crew. They were a fantastic bunch that made every effort to ensure a wonderful experience was had by all. We had an absolute blast! It’s not something you do every day, but it’s something you should definitely do more than once in your life.
Find out more about Spirit of Gold Coast whale watching tours at https://www.spiritwhalewatching.com.au/ and book your adventure today!