Getaway Fact sheets
You are here: ninemsn > Travel > Getaway > Fact sheets
There she is
There she is

Moreton Bay Whale Watching

Thursday, September 5, 2002
It's unanimous — there is no better spot to whale watch than in Moreton Bay!

Brisbane considers itself most fortunate to have Moreton Bay and Island on its doorstep. The 38 kilometre long sand island's landscape ranges from dunes and freshwater lakes to tall rugged sea cliffs and wide ocean beaches. It has streams, paperbark swamps, banksia heathland and mangrove and salt marshes.

Pipis and beach shellfish are abundant and attract fishermen and birdlife. It provides food for the pied oyster-catcher, masked lapwing, eastern curlew, white ibis, pied cormorant, silver gull, crested tern and the beautiful pelican.

Reptiles are strongly represented on Moreton Island with plenty of snakes and lizards, as well as frogs, bandicoots, water rats and a few species of bat and gliders.

It has played many roles: a home to Aboriginals, a refuge to shipwrecked sailors, it provided a warning light for shipping and has been a strategic defence post. It was once Queensland's only whaling station but now is an unspoilt paradise where people can relax and enjoy nature.

Sand islands have a fragile environment and are at the mercy of the elements and people.

Moreton Bay itself starts at the Gold Coast in the south and finishes at the start of the Sunshine Coast. Moreton Island is one of 365 islands in its waters and the main reason people love to go there is in hope of seeing some of the 5000 humpback whales on their migration.

Each year these big beauties travel from the Antarctic to the Whitsundays to give birth and rest and they take time for a frolic in the waters of Moreton Bay. The round trip takes six months and during that time they swim 10,000 kilometres.

Moreton Bay Whale Watching operates from Redcliffe Jetty. Being the captain of a whale watching boat requires skills of manoeuvring around the creatures and to be very aware of the required code of ethics.

Tours leave at 9.30am and after a life jacket demonstration, you begin the one hour trip to the northern tip of Moreton Island. It's a good idea to keep watch for turtles, sharks, sea snakes, dolphins and dugongs on the way!

Regulations stipulate that vessels can only go as close as 100 metres to the whales, but no-one told the whales that, and their curiosity and playfulness quite often see them come alongside.

Kerry Lopez, the captain of the boat, recognises some of the regular visitors to the waters. Some have been given names such as Stitches and Marbles, and the pure white H2, who all are return visitors. This year has seen another pure white calf arriving with his family.

Most of the whales are southern hemisphere humpback, but on rare occasions a southern right or minke might make an appearance.

Morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea are served on this very pleasant five hour outing. It's a good idea to have a hat and sunscreen, sunglasses and plenty of film.


Moreton Bay, 30 minutes north of Brisbane.


Moreton Bay Whale Watching Tours cost $99 for adults, $89 for concessions and $59 for children aged between 4 and 14 years. They operate every day, weather permitting, from June to November.
Please note prices are valid at time of transmission and to the best of our knowledge are inclusive of GST.

More information

Moreton Bay Whale Watching: Ph: (07) 3880 0477

Related links


Brochure Search

Free electronic brochures with information, resources and holiday ideas for unique getaways.

Select a destination:
Sign up nowTo Receive the free Getaway newsletter