Last Updated on May 26, 2019

This post may contain compensated links. Please read our disclosure for additional information. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

An unforgettable day out with Brisbane Whale Watching

Australia offers so many options when it comes to seeing amazing wildlife in their natural habitat. And for 6 months of the year the opportunity to see humpback whales as they migrate from their hunting grounds in the Antarctic to their breeding grounds in the warm waters off Queensland is one that surely cannot be missed. Whale watching in Queensland is a guaranteed way to get up close and personal to these intelligent and curious mammals.

A day out on a whale watching cruise was something I was really looking forward to in Australia. Having previously seen killer whales on a cruise off Vancouver Island in Canada I love the ability (and appreciate the privilege) of being so close to such beautiful animals.

Humpback whale tail fin


I chose to spend the day with Brisbane Whale Watching an Eco Accredited cruise company which operates daily out of Redcliffe Jetty. “MV Eye Spy” – the vessel used is a purpose built whale watching catamaran which has been designed to ensure minimal impact on the marine environment. With propellors designed to minimise underwater noise and electronically controlled engines which reduce exhaust emissions I was happy that this was a company dedicated to protecting the animals and environment I was so excited to experience.

The Captain of the MV Eye Spy is Kerry Lopez the only female captain in the South Pacific rim to owns and skipper a whale watching enterprise.

The cruise with Brisbane Whale Watching departs Redcliffe jetty at 10 am daily and returns at approximately 2:00 – 2:30 pm. As they state in their brochure they are ‘just a splash’ from Brisbane City and offer transfers from the CBD as well as Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast hotels and accommodation houses.

The vessel used by Brisbane Whale Watching is, as I mentioned earlier, a purpose built catamaran. It’s Main Deck with options of Premium Window seating and Standard Seating has a beautiful spacious interior with floor-to-ceiling glass to ensure a great view of the whales. There is also the option of the luxury VIP Captain’s Lounge which is located on the elevated Mid Deck level. You can select options when booking your cruise. A buffet lunch is also included. There is also a licenced bar, souvenirs and snacks available to buy on board.

MV Eye Spy whale watching boat
MV Eye Spy – Brisbane Whale Watching’s catamaran


I live only a few minutes walk from the jetty and we were checked in and ready to board just after 9 am. Although a little breezy the sun was shining and the sky cloudless. A perfect day for whale watching in Brisbane!

We decided to head for one of the 6 viewing decks to start with and once we had been warmly welcomed on board the vessel by the MV Eye Spy crew (and a safety demonstration and talk) we set off to find the whales!

Have your camera at the ready and enjoy the wonderful views of Moreton Bay, Moreton Island, Redcliffe and the skyline of Brisbane as you head towards open waters.

The crew are extremely knowledgable about the marine life and it was really interesting and informative listening to the commentary during the day.

TIP – If you are prone to sea sickness there are tablets available for a $1 on the boat and a member of the crew will come around with them.

dolphin in moreton bay

23 Best Things to Do in Queensland Australia


Before reaching the open waters of the Pacific Ocean the MV Eye Spy sails through the waters of Moreton Bay Marine Park.

The park covers an area of 3,400 square kms stretching from Caloundra to the southern tip of South Stradbroke Island. Moreton Bay Marine Park was declared a reserve in 1992 and is home to dolphins, dugongs. wobbegongs, and turtles amongst others.

Moreton Island is the 3rd largest sand island in the world (12 kms wide and 38 kms long). It is home to 195 species of bird. Moreton Island, known for excellent snorkelling around the Tangalooma wrecks,  is a great place to visit for a day or longer and can be reached by ferry from Redcliffe and Brisbane. I have heard that you can see whales from North Stradbroke Island which is further south than Moreton Island and another great island to visit from Brisbane.

moreton island

15 photographs that will inspire you to visit Queensland


A few facts!

  1. The humpback is a species of baleen whale or great whale (along with the blue whale and minke whale)
  2. Adults can grow to 12-16 metres in length.
  3. They feed on krill (they have no teeth)
  4. They are acrobatic and will breech their entire body (up to 40 tons) completely out of the water.
  5. The gestation period is around 11 to 11 and a half months.
  6. A female gives birth every 2-3 three years and the pregnancy is 11-12 months. The calves stay with their mothers for a year after birth.
  7. They can travel up to 8km an hour!

humpback whale brisbane whale watching

How to see amazing Australian animals in Queensland


We continued sailing to the aptly named North Point on Moreton Island. Our destination lay between this point and Cape Moreton – the picture perfect Honeymoon Bay.

A pod of dolphins came leaping across the water to join us. We were informed by the crew that they would use a clock face to point us in the direction of whale sightings with 12 o’clock being the front of the boat, 6 o’clock the back and port and starboard 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock respectively.

Then all of a sudden…. whales!

I think I lost count of the number of whales that were around the day we were on the cruise. It seemed every few minutes there was a shout of whale pod at 12 o’clock, breach at 6 o’clock, dolphins at 11 o’clock!

Some of the whales were far in the distance but a small pod of 2 young male whales was out first close encounter. As the catamaran approached they seemed curious and soon came came to investigate us! It was an unforgettable experience seeing the whales swimming around us – they came so close and you could see they were looking at us. A hammerhead shark even made an appearance followed closely by a large pod of dolphins. Seeing the tiny dolphins next to the whales really brought home just how large humpback whales are.

Another whale pod and a large male breaching in the distance had the boat moving on. This pod consisted of 3 whales with one enormous male leaving us all speechless at his sheer size. Sitting in the Main Deck the view from the windows of the whales just a few feet away was incredible.

What an absolutely fantastic day out.

After a truly unforgettable adventure for everyone on board we returned to Redcliffe Jetty. I will definitely be going again and I would like to thank all the crew of the MV Eye Spy and Brisbane Whale Watching for this incredible experience.

If you are visiting (or living) in Australia I highly recommend adding whale watching in Queensland to your plans and in particular Brisbane Whale Watching.

brisbane whale watching


  • Booking is essential
  • To book your own day out with Brisbane Whale watching contact them on +61 (7) 3880 0477.
  • Their website is
  • Remember to take your camera.
  • Take sea sickness tablets if you are not used to the sea or are prone to travel sickness. Tablets are on sale on the boat.
  • Take suncream
  • Take a jacket as the breeze can feel chilly.
  • Enjoy!!





I have lots of posts all about visiting Australia and a number of these are focussed on the beautiful state of Queensland. With an enviable climate, wonderful wildlife, stunning beaches if Queensland is your destination these posts will help you get the best of your visit! If you are seeking some inspiration these 15 photographs will have you booking the next flight!


  • My ultimate guide to Australia has links to every post I have written about Australia and is great starting point when planning your visit.






  • Click here if you are interested in learning more about the 19 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Australia.




A day whale watching



101 Things to Know When Visiting Australia
Australian animals quiz - do you know your quokka from your quoll?
A guide to the best time to see Cape Hillsborough kangaroos



This post may contain compensated links. Please read our disclosure for additional information. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

27 thoughts on “An unforgettable day with Brisbane Whale Watching

  1. Kathi says:

    This looks like a fantastic experience – I’d love to get up close to whales one day. There are whales in the sea in Scotland were I love too, but there are no tours, because sightings are just not frequent enough… I’ll live through your experience instead. Thanks for sharing!

  2. California Globetrotter says:

    This seems like a great excursion I would have no fear of doing, in terms of being eco-friendly and friendly to the animals! I just went on a dolphin excursion I had no choice of researching beforehand but felt rather guilty the way our boat and especially another entrapped the dolphins between the boats. I will make damn sure next time I have a say as to it being a registered eco-friendly excursion! Thanks for linking up with #TheWeeklyPostcard! / #FeetDoTravel

  3. Jill Chapman says:

    I, unfortunately, live too far from Brisbane to use Brisbane Whale Watching’s services but it looks like it was an incredible day. I’ve been whale watching twice – and both were fun experiences – with very few sightings, though. Looks like you had a fun day on the water with lots of sightings!

  4. Anda says:

    What a great experience, Tracy! I guess I’ll have to go to Brisbane and try my luck with the humpback whales. I’ve been in Alaska but didn’t get to see any. Great pictures! #TheWeeklyPostcard

  5. Elaine Masters says:

    Love whale watching and gray whales migrate through my local waters yearly. However, your Brisbane waters look much clearer. I wonder what they were feeding on. Great post and I wish I were in Brisbane.

  6. Angie (FeetDoTravel) says:

    We did whale watching out of Hervey Bey, and yes, it is an unforgettable day isn’t it! They are just so magnificent, and huge! Love their curiosity as well, how they come right up to the boat. Great post, thanks for the trip down memory lane. Pinned #feetdotravel

  7. Rob+Ann @TravelLatte(.net) says:

    We want to go right now! How exciting to see so many whales, and so close. Whale watching is very high on our bucket list but, for some reason, it hadn’t occurred to us to go in Australia! So this has been added to our To Do list for when we finally get there. Can’t wait! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Shona says:

    Oh wow, Tracy, what an adventure. I absolutely adore these creatures. We had an afternoon with them off Byron Bay once. A wonderful experience. Great pics too. Your opening shot is a stunner. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.