By Steph Allen.
The Sunshine Coast is the newest whale watching hotspot, attracting large crowds of sightseers to tours off Mooloolaba.
Whale One offers whale watching and marine life tours from $79 year-round on board a 65-foot catamaran where you can get up close with the mighty humpback whale.
Sightings are guaranteed or your money back and visitors may be lucky enough to spot minke whales or false killer whales as well as dolphins, turtles and sea birds.
The humpbacks have been found to be able to sense the boats and are curious about their excited visitors.
The educational tours run throughout the whales’ migration season from June to August and the cruise runs for 3.5 hours, including morning or afternoon tea. Be sure to pack a hat, closed in shoes and some warm clothes, and remember that camera.
For those wishing to jump in the deep end, Sunreef Mooloolaba offers Australia’s first swimming with humpbacks experience, which began in 2014.
Sunreef owner Dan Hart says the sensation was unmatched.
“It is a real privilege to be in the ocean and have a whale swim over to us to check us out. They are very curious, as we are of them,” Hart says.
“It is an almost indescribable feeling – you just have to try it.”
The experience is available to anyone eight years and older who is a competent swimmer and children must also be accompanied by an adult.
The 2017 season runs from July 7 to October 22, opening 8am to 5pm Monday to Saturday and 8am to 4pm Sunday.
The total cost is $149 per person and includes a four-hour guided tour with provided snacks, a wetsuit, a mask, a snorkel and fin hire.