Join us on Hervey Bay's Ultimate Whale Watch and Become an Ocean Advocate!




Hervey Bay’s Ultimate Whale Watch is a Tourism Australia Signature Experience and a Best of Queensland experience, and is led by qualified Marine Biologists, providing guests with interpretation of humpback whale behaviours and the great migration.

Ocean Defender, our 12m RIB vessel, is purpose-built for whale watching, offering water-level views and small group tours with a maximum of 38 passengers for an intimate experience. Whale season is July to October – with guaranteed whale sightings from July 15 to October 9.

Check-In is 30 minutes prior to departure at our Ocean Store at the Great Sandy Straits Marina in Urangan. At the Marina you will find free parking, a number of cafes and restaurants and a local gallery. Our Ocean Store stocks jumpers, rain jackets, beanies and caps, natural sea sickness remedies, reef-safe sunscreen, sunglasses and towels, and a range of eco-friendly, sustainable gifts and souvenirs. We are also a tour agent for other Hervey Bay eco tours and K’gari tours.

The only operator in Hervey Bay to have been researching Humpbacks Whales for over three decades, Pacific Whale Foundation Australia’s scientists are responsible for the South Pacific’s longest running photo-identification project and the largest curated database of Humpback Whales in Eastern Australia, having detailed the life histories of over 8,000 individual Humpback Whales.

An Australian, wholly-owned social enterprise company, Pacific Whale Foundation Eco Adventures Australia runs eco tours and the Ocean Store merchandise shop to raise funds for education, conservation and research projects, with regular involvement in school visits, virtual classrooms, community forums and educational conferences, as well as coordinating and managing a series of Clean Up Events.

Tourism Australia Signature Experience Best of Queensland Tripadvisor Top 10 Worldwide Advanced Ecotourism Certified


Hervey Bay is the FIRST WHALE HERITAGE SITE IN THE WORLD and the whale watching capital of Australia, offering some of the most up close and personal humpback whale encounters found anywhere in the world. What makes watching whales in Hervey Bay so unique?

  • Hervey Bay provides a calm, protected area for thousands of migrating whales to rest, play and interact with other whales – and with whale watchers like you.
  • A large number of whales in a relatively small area means whale sightings are almost certain. In fact, we guarantee you will see whales or you’ll get a free return ticket good for up to one year.
  • The whales in Hervey Bay tend to be very inquisitive and active, displaying a wide range of amazing behaviours at the surface and below – including breaches, whale songs, and “muggings” (when a curious whale approaches and lingers at the boat).

Hervey Bay is more than a whale watching paradise, it’s also a dream destination for nature lovers.


Pacific Whale Foundation Australia and our ecotour operations, PWF Eco-Adventures Australia, are registered Australian charities set up to promote the mission and vision of our parent company Pacific Whale Foundation (PWF). PWF is an international Non-Government Organisation with a mission to protect the ocean through science and advocacy and inspire environmental stewardship. All profits from our ecotours and retail sales go towards supporting this mission here in Australia.

Early pioneers (1980’s) in non-invasive whale research, our scientists began offering educational whale watches on the weekends, after studying whales and their ocean environment during the week. The trips were a means to share our findings, educate the public about whales and our ocean environments, and raise the needed funds for our Research, Education and Conservation work. This model continues to this day, with expanded whale watch eco tours, nature tours and retail sales in our Ocean Store.


Hervey Bay is the Whale Watching Capital of Australia and the first Whale Heritage Site in the world. If you want to watch whales in the wild, no other destination can rival the sheer number and quality of whale encounters you’ll experience here. But, what makes Hervey Bay whale watching so unique?

During whale season, thousands of humpback whales make this calm, protected and relatively small area a popular stopover on their journey to Antarctica. So many “big fish (mammals, actually) in a small pond” makes the likelihood of sightings almost certain.

Hervey Bay’s whales also tend to stay awhile, 10 days on average. All age groups of whales can be found in our waters, including mothers and their calves, as well as juvenile and adult males that can often be heard “singing” underwater.

Experience with us the awe of watching organic behaviours of ocean wildlife in their natural environment as we share the waters of the Great Sandy Marine Park with whales, dolphins, turtles and an ever-increasing diversity of marine life.



When you tour with us – you know that you are choosing a reputable whale watching organisation which values our beautiful whales and works to protect the whales and their marine environment. We are Advanced Eco Tourism certified and work towards determined sustainability goals. We value our local environment and work towards helping everyone to understand the importance of healthy oceans and protecting our wildlife.

When you are travelling elsewhere in the world and want to tour with a whale watch company which also values cetaceans – here are some great tips to help you to choose where to spend your money to support best-practice sustainable tourism.

Selecting a whale watching tour from the plethora of options you are likely to discover online, or the brochures you find in your local hotel or tourist office, is not easy.  Hopefully after visiting the International Whaling Commission’s online Whale Watching Handbook, you will also want to ensure that you choose a responsible whale watching experience. Here is a quick checklist that you can use to help you identify a responsible whale watch tour operator, and a handy acronym (SCORE) that will help you to remember the key attributes of a good tour. Look for an operator that prioritises:


    Choose an operator that provides life jackets, conforms with local permitting and licensing regulations, has good communications with shore, and conducts a safety briefing for passengers before departure.


    Choose an operator that contributes to the conservation of whales and dolphins in some demonstrable manner.


    Choose a tour that includes opportunities to learn about whales or dolphins from a guide or interpreter.


    Ensure that the operator follows local regulations in place to protect whales and dolphins.


    Choose an operator that demonstrates a commitment to the environment and the local community.

You can evaluate a tour operator’s SCORE by asking questions when you visit their office or phone to book a tour. But you can also use the SCORE acronym to evaluate and compare the information that operators present on their websites if you are booking a tour online. Look for signs of their commitment to these principles.

For more information consult the IWC/CMS online whale watching handbook.


If you want to watch whales in the wild, no other destination can rival the sheer number and quality of whale encounters you’ll experience in Hervey Bay.

What makes Hervey Bay whale watching so unique?

The humpbacks of Hervey Bay are the most active, playful and inquisitive whales found anywhere in the world. Whale “muggings”, when one or more of these curious creatures approaches and stays close to the boat for an extended period of time, are common.

Other fascinating behaviours often on display include breaches, tail slaps, fluke up dives, and “spy hopping” – when a whale raises its head just above the water at eye level. It makes you wonder who is watching whom?

For an up-close and personal encounter with a humpback whale, there’s no better place than Hervey Bay – and there’s no better eco tour than when you go with the experts at Pacific Whale Foundation.

Join the Experts

Pacific Whale Foundation Eco Adventures Australia!

Ultimate Whalewatch


  • EXCLUSIVE! Interaction with onboard whale researcher
  • Expert commentary from certified marine naturalists
  • Underwater hydrophones to listen to live whale songs
  • FREE snack, soft drinks & Whale Watch Guide
  • Whale sightings guaranteed (July 15–Oct 9) or get a FREE return ticket


Tourism Australia Signature Experience
Tripadvisor Top 10 Worldwide
Advanced Ecotourism Certified
Best of Queensland