VIP Whalewatch

Exclusive Dates

  • VIP seats sell out quickly!
Adult
$99
Children (ages 6 to 14)
$64
Concessions
$89
  • July 21
  • August 11
  • August 18

VIP Whalewatch is an exciting opportunity to get exclusive access to decades of knowledge and expertise from one of the world’s foremost experts on humpback whales.

Paul Forestell literally “wrote the book” on whalewatching, as co-author of a pivotal guide to ecotourism with Pacific Whale Foundation Founder, Greg Kaufman.

Having studied whales off the coast of eastern Australia since 1984, Paul has unique insights into Hervey Bay’s humpback whales. He and others from Pacific Whale Foundation’s research team have amassed detailed life histories of over 7,000 whales that migrate to this region every year.

Paul is an internationally recognized and widely published expert on marine mammals. He is the author or co-author of 10 books and book chapters, 21 peer-reviewed articles, and nearly 70 symposium and conference reports on whales and other marine wildlife. His work includes the development of international training programs for marine naturalists who provide wildlife interpretation for ecotour operations. Currently a university professor and dean, Paul is also a prominent authority in science education.

On your 3-hour VIP Whalewatch, you’ll hear fascinating facts and insightful commentary from Paul, as well as live whale songs from underwater hydrophones. You’ll cruise in comfort on Ocean Defender, a state of the art vessel that delivers a fast, smooth ride with panoramic “whale’s eye” views.

This small-group tour offers excellent opportunities for personal interaction and Q&A with Paul, as well as close-up photos of the amazing whale behaviours you encounter. In addition, your VIP Whalewatch includes free snacks and soft drinks, a free Whalewatch Guide, and guaranteed whale sightings (or get a free return ticket).

Read More

VIP Whalewatch

Exclusive Dates

Go with the expert on a special VIP Whalewatch with renowned scientist and whale expert Paul Forestell.

Adult
$99
Children (ages 6 to 14)
$64
Concessions
$89
  • July 21
  • August 11
  • August 18

VIP Whalewatch is an exciting opportunity to get exclusive access to decades of knowledge and expertise from one of the world’s foremost experts on humpback whales.

Paul Forestell literally “wrote the book” on whalewatching, as co-author of a pivotal guide to ecotourism with Pacific Whale Foundation Founder, Greg Kaufman.

Having studied whales off the coast of eastern Australia since 1984, Paul has unique insights into Hervey Bay’s humpback whales. He and others from Pacific Whale Foundation’s research team have amassed detailed life histories of over 7,000 whales that migrate to this region every year.

Paul is an internationally recognized and widely published expert on marine mammals. He is the author or co-author of 10 books and book chapters, 21 peer-reviewed articles, and nearly 70 symposium and conference reports on whales and other marine wildlife. His work includes the development of international training programs for marine naturalists who provide wildlife interpretation for ecotour operations. Currently a university professor and dean, Paul is also a prominent authority in science education.

On your 3-hour VIP Whalewatch, you’ll hear fascinating facts and insightful commentary from Paul, as well as live whale songs from underwater hydrophones. You’ll cruise in comfort on Ocean Defender, a state of the art vessel that delivers a fast, smooth ride with panoramic “whale’s eye” views.

This small-group tour offers excellent opportunities for personal interaction and Q&A with Paul, as well as close-up photos of the amazing whale behaviours you encounter. In addition, your VIP Whalewatch includes free snacks and soft drinks, a free Whalewatch Guide, and guaranteed whale sightings (or get a free return ticket).

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

WHALEWATCHING

  • When is whalewatching season in Hervey Bay?
  • Humpback whales follow a seasonal migration pattern that brings them to Hervey Bay in the Australian winter (July – October), peaking in August/September. Ultimate Whalewatch runs from July 14 to October 31, with guaranteed whale sightings on every trip. If you don’t see whales, you’ll get a free return ticket good for up to one year.

  • When is the best time of day to go whalewatching?
  • Humpback whales are wild animals in their natural habitat, so there is no set schedule to their activity. You could see a whale any time of day or night. Ultimate Whalewatch tours are available at 7:00am, 11:00am and 2:30pm, with a special discounted rate for the afternoon. Choose the trip that best suits your schedule and preferences.

  • How many people will be on the whalewatch?
  • Ultimate Whalewatch is a small-group, interactive ecotour with a maximum capacity of 40 people. This means no crowds, no jostling for space, and plenty of photo opportunities. Everyone has 3600 panoramic views at water level to see the whales up close and personal.

  • How many whales will we see?
  • Every whalewatch is different. More than 21,000 humpbacks migrate to Australia’s eastern coast and over 30% of them stop in Hervey Bay between July and October. That’s a lot of whales for a relatively small area, resulting in some of the best whale watching in the world.

  • How big are the whales?
  • Adult humpback whales are about 13-15 metres long and weigh 35-40 tonnes!

  • How close can you get to the whales?
  • Regulations and Pacific Whale Foundation’s own Be Whale Aware guidelines prohibit the vessel from approaching within 100 metres of a whale. Whales can approach us, however, and often come right up to the vessel. We call these encounters “whale muggings” and it’s a great time to take a selfie.

  • What if we don't see whales on our trip?
  • It’s very rare not to see any whales on a Hervey Bay Ultimate Whalewatch. However, no worries if that happens. Whale sightings are guaranteed on every trip and you’ll get a free return ticket good for up to one year. You can also check out our Live Sightings map for whale and dolphin sightings from the previous 7 days.

  • What are hydrophones?
  • Hydrophones are microphones that our crew lowers into the water so that you can hear whales singing (typically called “whale song”).

  • What if we don't see whales on our trip?
  • It’s very rare not to see any whales on a Hervey Bay Ultimate Whalewatch. However, no worries if that happens. Whale sightings are guaranteed on every trip and you’ll get a free return ticket good for up to one year. You can also check out our Live Sightings map for whale and dolphin sightings from the previous 7 days.

  • How long is the trip?
  • Ultimate Whalewatch is about a 3-hour tour. Ocean Defender is a speedy vessel, so we’ll get you out to the whales faster than any other tour operator.

ACCESSIBILITY & SAFETY

  • Are there bathrooms on the boat?
  • Yes, there are full size, walk in toilet facilities onboard.

  • Is the boat wheelchair / handicapped accessible?
  • No. The vessel is not handicapped accessible.

  • Are children allowed?
  • Children must be 6 years old and over for this tour.

  • Is whalewatching safe?
  • Whalewatching is as safe as any boating activity, however you do so at your own risk. Our crew are all lifeguard and First Aid/CPR certified, and there is plenty of safety equipment onboard. This tour is not recommended if you have neck or back concerns, or if you are pregnant.

  • Is there any food or drink?
  • Free snacks and soft drinks are included in your ticket price. We also recommend Café Ballenas for lunch either before or after your tour. Bring in your ticket stub and get 15% off your meal, or bring us your café receipt and get 15% off your whalewatch.

  • Is smoking allowed?
  • No, smoking is not allowed at all on the vessel.

  • Will I get seasick?
  • Our state of the art vessel, Ocean Defender, is an ultra-stable, smooth-riding catamaran with comfortable, forward facing seats. However, some people do experience motion sickness while at sea. If you know you are prone to experiencing motion or seasickness, we recommend taking the appropriate anti-nausea precautions before your trip.

CHECK IN & THINGS TO BRING

  • Where do I check in?
  • You’ll check-in at Shop 4, Great Sandy Straits Marina for your Ultimate Whalewatch. Boarding is 30 minutes prior to departure time.

  • What should I wear or bring?
  • For your safety and comfort, we recommend flat, closed-toe footwear, jacket or rain gear, and sun protection. You should also bring your camera and money for souvenirs.

  • Is there any food or drink?
  • Free snacks and soft drinks are included in your ticket price. We also recommend Café Ballenas for lunch either before or after your tour. Bring in your ticket stub and get 15% off your meal, or bring us your café receipt and get 15% off your whalewatch.

  • Can I use my underwater camera? What about a drone?
  • Yes, you can use your underwater or GoPro camera, but drone flying is not allowed on Ultimate Whalewatch ecotours.

REFUNDS & CANCELLATIONS

  • What if the weather is bad?
  • The weather in Hervey Bay can be unpredictable at times, but most conditions will not affect your whalewatch. If the Captain decides to cancel a trip due to weather or any other factors, you will receive a full refund.

  • What if I have to cancel?
  • You’ll receive a full refund if you cancel more than 48 hours prior to your scheduled departure. Otherwise, reservations are non-refundable.

  • What if we don't see whales on our trip?
  • It’s very rare not to see any whales on a Hervey Bay Ultimate Whalewatch. However, no worries if that happens. Whale sightings are guaranteed on every trip and you’ll get a free return ticket good for up to one year. You can also check out our Live Sightings map for whale and dolphin sightings from the previous 7 days.

PAYMENT & PROCEEDS 

  • Do you offer any discounts?
  • Yes, there is a 20% early bird discount if you book your ticket before July 14. We also offer a 20% discount to our members. To join Pacific Whale Foundation and help support our research, education and conservation programs, please click here prior to booking your whalewatch.

  • What about concession cardholders and local residents?
  • Please call us at 1800 454 310 for details on our concessions and mates’ rates.

  • Does my money really support whale research?
  • Every whalewatch ticket supports Pacific Whale Foundation’s non-profit research, education and conservation programs. You also help us protect marine wildlife and their ocean habitat with your purchases from our retail shop (Shop 4, Great Sandy Straits Marine) or online Ocean Store.If you’d like to make a donation, click the button below.

  • Where can I get whalewatch souvenirs?
  • On your Ultimate Whalewatch, you’ll get a free full-colour Whalewatch Guide. You can also purchase PWF logo shirts, hats, postcards, and other unique items and gifts at our retail shop (Shop 4, Great Sandy Straits Marina) or online Ocean Store.

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