Whale watching is something that I absolutely love doing, so when my family was able to book a morning cruise on one of the Tallship Whale Watching Gold Coast boats we were all really excited. My husband, son, mum and myself all arrived just before 8am and joined the queue of people waiting to book in and confirm our bookings.

Prices (as at October 2012)

Whale Cruise Only    Whales & Island    Additional Cost for Lunch
Adult $99 $109 $30
Child (4-14 Years Inclusive) $59 $69 $30
Child (Under 4 Years) Free Free Free
Senior $89 $99 $30


Times of Operation:

During Whale Watching Season (June to November each year)
8.30-11.30am Half Day (Whales Only)
8.30am-4.30pm Full Day (Whales & Island)


Tall Ship Cruise Terminal
Shop 5, Mariners Cove Marina,
60 Seaworld Drive Main Beach
Queensland, 4217 Australia


View Larger Map

Mariners Cove Marina Aerial View:

View Larger Map


Free parking available at Mariners Cove and Marina Mirage – some undercover parking available

We boarded the ship around 8.15am and then settled in and waited for departure.

Morning Tea

Note: Morning tea is provided, as everyone is boarding. Due to safety regulations the tea, coffee and hot water are all packed up just before departure. So if you want to get a cuppa make sure you grab it as soon as you board or you may miss out. Muffins arrived just before we left the wharf and these were then distributed among the passengers.

Refreshments are available at a cost during the cruise; for instance, you can buy a bottle of water for around $3, soft-drink or a glass of wine. There are also some chips and other snacks available for purchase on board.

Sun Protection

Ensure that you bring a hat and wear sun protection. It is a good idea if each family member can rub on some sun lotion before arriving in for your cruise so that you are set for the cruise.

On our cruise there was a bottle of sunscreen available for use at the counter where snacks and drinks are purchased. If this is available on your cruise then you can use the boat’s sun-cream, but it may not be a good idea to rely on this in case it is not available on every sailing.

Departure From The Marina

Our cruise was scheduled to depart at 8.30am, but it was 9.05am when we pulled away from the marina. On speaking with the crew during the cruise, I was told that the departure time could vary slightly depending on how many people need to come on board. We had a full ship and so it took a little longer than planned.

We had a lovely little cruise up past SeaWorld and the Spit towards the Seaway. During our passage through the seaway all passengers had to remain seated, as the waters are a little rougher then the smooth waters of the Broadwater.

Whale Sightings

Once we were through the seaway and heading out into open waters, we began looking for whales. We had our first whale sighting at 9.43am, only 38 minutes after leaving Mariner’s Cove at Main Beach. This was quite an exciting moment, watching a pod of whales surfacing and heading south, not far from our boat. We stayed in this location for around until around 10.15am and then headed north, alongside South Stradbroke Island, as too many other boats were following us to the original spot.

Whales Gold Coast

Once we had travelled north a few minutes we stopped and were totally blown away with the show that another whale pod put on for us. There were six whales in this pod and each of them began to jump up out of the water, with majestic head lunges and full body breaches! You should have heard the Ooh’s and Aah’s from all of the passengers on board as we enjoyed this special whale performance.

This group of whales continued to perform for us, for almost 10 minutes, before a whole lot of vessels arrived on the scene. The whales then settled down and began to continue on their journey south. Over the next 40 minutes we enjoyed watching the whales as they came up to the surface, blew air up through their blow-hole and as they plunged into the waters and we saw their tail disappear as they dove deeply. There were two children at the end as we left who said outloud, “Thank you whales.” It was so cute, but also expressed my heart too.

Whale Lunging Gold CoastAt around 11.10am we left the whales and headed back towards the opening in the Seaway, past the Spit and down to the marina at Mariners Cove, Main Beach. My family stayed onboard the vessel, waiting for other passengers to disembark, so that the boat could then take us on the second part of our day up to McLarens Landing on South Stradbroke Island.

Family Photo

During our cruise back to Main Beach we were all given the opportunity to purchase the family or group photo that was taken just prior to boarding before the cruise. We grabbed our photo as it was a happy reminder of our fun, family day out and the whales that we saw.

We truly had a wonderful time on this Whale watching Gold Coast cruise and we want to do it again next year. It is certainly something that we recommend to others, both locals and visitors to the sunny Gold Coast.

In our next blog post we will continue with our day and our journey up to McLarens Landing and then back again in the Tallship sailing boat.

Until then, Remember to Enjoy Life, Smile at a Stranger and Make a Difference in the World!

Leanne Annett <><

One Response to “Whale Watching Gold Coast Cruise”

  1. Michelle McFarland

    Hi Leanne;

    Thank you from all of the crew at Tallship Island Adventures, we are pleased you enjoyed your Whale Watching & Island experience with us, please let me know when you would like to cruise with us again, and we look forward to your return next season.

    Kind Regards
    Michelle McFarland


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