Tangalooma Whale Watching Cruise with Tangalooma Island Resort

Tangalooma Island Resort

You don’t need to travel for hours to the Sunshine Coast, or the Gold Coast for that matter, to see whales in the wild, as Tangalooma Island Resort offers Brisbane’s closest whale watching cruise on board Australia’s largest vessel dedicated to whale watching, just off Moreton Island.

Situated only a 75 minute ferry ride away, Moreton Island is the perfect backdrop for watching these magnificent creatures up close as they migrate each year from the Antarctic to the sub-tropical waters of Australia and beyond to mate, give birth and then return with their calves.

The best bit is that when you chose to go on a Tangalooma whale watching cruise, not only do you get to see the whales and their calves frolicking and playing in the water, but you get to enjoy island life for a day, or longer if you decide to stay a night or two!

What to Expect on a Tangalooma Whale Watching Cruise

tangalooma whale watching cruise

Image courtesy of Tangalooma Island Resort

Tangalooma Island Whale Watch Cruise is a relaxing experience on a luxurious high speed catamaran where you can sit back and enjoy watching whales playing in the water, swimming with their calves, hopefully breaching and coming up close to say hello to everyone on board the boat.

Throughout the cruise there is an Eco Ranger from Tangalooma Island Resort on board and providing full commentary whilst keeping a look out for whales to ensure everyone on board sees the best of the whales up-close. The boat legally must stay at least 100 metres away from the whales at all times, however, this distance still provides you with a fantastic view of these great magnificent creatures. Interesting facts about whales, fstatistics and highlights from the current whale watching seasons, as well as what you are currently experiencing is also communicated via the Eco Ranger who is on the microphone during the trip.

The Tangalooma Whale Watch Cruise is 3 hours in duration from the time you depart Tangalooma to the time you get back to the Island. During this time you are free to wander throughout the boat, which has 3 levels to explore. Viewing options include the chance to see the whales from inside the boat, or, if you prefer a closer look, there are many places the whole family can go outside, including the best seat in the house – standing at the bow for the ultimate whale watching experience as the whales frolic and perform in front of the boat!

When to go Whale Whale Watching in Moreton Bay

tangalooma whale watching cruise-1

Image courtesy of Tangalooma Island Resort

Between June and October every year, migrating whales populate the waters of Moreton Bay. Tangalooma Island Resort Whale Watch Cruise operates only during these months when the southern Humpback Whales begin their annual migration trips to mate and give birth and then return back to the Antarctic with their calves.

During this time it should be noted that, to ensure the comfort of the guest, the tours will not operate in windy conditions.

Tangalooma Whale Watching for a Good Cause

tangalooma whale watching kids cancer project

Image courtesy of Tangalooma Island Resort

Each year, Tangalooma Island Resort partners with the Kids’ Cancer Project and, throughout the whale watching season, Tangalooma donates $5 for each whale spotted on board the Whale Watch Cruise.

2016 was a bumper whale watching season that saw Tangalooma Island Resort donate $6,000 to kids cancer research – an amount that seems to increase every year as the number of whales spotted annually increases (much to the delight of Tangalooma staff, its whale watching passengers and The Kids’ Cancer Project!).

How much is Whale Watching with Tangalooma Island Resort?

Humpback whale in Moreton Bay

Image courtesy of Tangalooma Island Resort

The cost of a Whale Watching Cruise with Tangalooma Island Resort from Brisbane (departing at 7am or 10am) is:

  • $129 adult
  • $89 child (3-14 years)
  • $395 family (2 adults and 2 children)

This includes transfers from Holt Street Wharf in Pinkenba, Brisbane, the 3 hour whale watching experience with an Eco Ranger on board and a light lunch.

If you are already staying at Tangalooma Island Resort, you can take part in the Whale Watching Cruise, which departs at 12pm midday, for:

  • $75 adult
  • $55 child (3-14 years)

Please note: these prices are based on the 2019 whale watching season and are subject to change at anytime. To get up to date prices and tour details click here.

Getting To Tangalooma Island Resort

tangalooma resort whale watching

Image courtesy of Tangalooma Island Resort

The easiest option to get to Tangalooma is a ferry passenger service that operates daily from Holt Street Wharf in Pinkenba, Brisbane, and arrives at the Tangalooma Jetty on Moreton Island. Travelling time is just 75 minutes each way, with 3 services operating daily in each direction and additional services daily from Saturday through Monday. The cost of this ferry service is included in all Tangalooma Whale Watching Cruise packages departing Brisbane.

For the whale watching experience, you would need to leave on the 7am or 10am departure, as the Whale Watch Cruise leaves Tangalooma Island Resort at 12 noon. If you are only staying for the day, the Tangalooma Ferry has 2 departure times to chose from to return to Brisbane – 4.00pm after the conclusion of the whale watching tour, or, if you would prefer to stay longer and explore the Island, a 7.00pm departure is also available.

Please Note: The 7pm departure time is an approximate departure time only. The 7pm launch from Tangalooma departs immediately after the conclusion of the nightly dolphin feeding program, which is approximately 7pm in winter, 7.30pm in spring and autumn and 8pm in summer.

Tangalooma Whale Watching Review

Tangalooma Whale Watching

Image courtesy of Tangalooma Island Resort

As someone who loves the ocean and whales, I was so excited to take my two Brisbane Kids aged 7 and 9 along with me on my first ever whale watching cruise. While I had seen whales from land, I had always wanted to see the amazing creatures up close and the Tangalooma Island Whale Watch Cruise was a great option for the family as it was so close to Brisbane.

After packing our hats, sunscreen and of course the camera, we boarded the 10am ferry to Tangalooma at the Holt Street Wharf. The cruise over to the Island was an experience in itself,as we went past the port, saw cranes, large cargo ships and jelly fish, before leaving the river and reaching the picturesque Tangalooma Island Resort (it always amazes me how stunning Moreton Island is considering how close it is to Brisbane!).

After a quick play in the water, we went back on board ready to see the whales. We opted for a seat on the second floor of the boat which has comfortable lounge style seats and tables with great views of the water. Soon after departure our light lunch was served which was anything but light as we ate a ham and salad wrap, cheese and crackers, apple and unlimited tea and coffee.

We hadn’t even finished our lunch when the first whale was spotted and I am excited to say that this was the first of many on the 3 hour journey! I was a little concerned before the trip as we were going on the final weekend of whale watching season and thought whales maybe scarce. But we were treated to a fabulous day on the water with numerous sightings, breaching, whales coming up close to the boat, glimpses of tails as they dived in deep to the water – we couldn’t have asked for more.

Corey, our Eco Ranger, was a fantastic source of information and tour guide drawing our attention to all the whales playing in the water, as well as dolphins and a few hammerhead sharks that we passed. He made sure we saw the best of the whales getting in close so we didn’t miss a thing.

Master 9 and Miss 7 had an ‘awesome’ time in their words and asked if we could go back tomorrow. And I have to admit, while at first I thought I would be ticking an item off my bucket list, I now realise there will be no crossing whale watching from my list – it is staying on there and next June I will be booking the family back on the boat so we can go whale watching again!

If you would like to go whale watching with Tangalooma Island Resort, you can find out more at www.tangalooma.com/info/day_cruises/whale_watching/.

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