Frequently Asked Questions

Why choose Sea World Whale Watch?

When you journey into the world of the whales with Sea World Whale Watch you can be assured of a premium whale watching experience and a full refund if your tour does not see a whale*. Sea World is renowned for their expertise with whales and dolphins and this knowledge and experience is shared with you on every tour by our expert vessel Captains and marine mammal guides.

Sea World Whale Watch’s state of the art whale watching vessel is the newest on the Gold Coast and the only vessel currently operating that is custom designed for environmentally friendly whale watching. Three levels of open viewing platforms offer great photo opportunities while ample deck space and restricted passenger numbers means there is plenty of room to move and the tour remains a personal one – you will never have to look over someone’s shoulder to see a whale!

Spacious, air-conditioned interiors are fitted with a superior level of seating comfort while large LCD screens display our amazing marine wildlife 3D animation presentations. This onboard interactive education technology is a first for Australia which means your experience will be unique and the world of the whales will be revealed to you as never before.

*A full refund will be provided if your whale watch tour fails to sight a whale except during the months of MAY and NOVEMBER. Other refund conditions apply. Separate refund conditions apply to Combo Ticket holders.

Will I see a whale?

If your tour fails to sight a whale a full refund will be provided except during the months of MAY and NOVEMBER. Other refund conditions apply. Separate refund conditions apply to Combo Ticket holders.

Am I guaranteed to see a whale?

Whales are wild animals so there is no absolute guarantee. However, Sea World Whale Watch has an extremely high success rate in finding whales. If your tour fails to sight a whale a full refund will be provided except during the months of MAY and NOVEMBER. Other refund conditions apply. Separate refund conditions apply to Combo Ticket holders.

Where do we go to see whales?

We leave from the Sea World Cruise Terminal, travel a short distance north along the Nerang River estuary (The Broadwater), turn east to pass through the Gold Coast Seaway then search for whales from 3 to 8 nautical miles offshore. We never lose sight of land. Sea World is only 20 minutes from the whales which means less time getting there and more time with the whales.

How big is the whale watching vessel?

Our 24 metre long, 9m wide custom designed whale watch vessel was built new in 2008 at a cost of $3.5M for open ocean whale watching. It is an environmentally friendly, air-conditioned, luxury cruiser with three levels of walk around viewing decks and three toilets. We limit passenger numbers to a maximum of 125 to ensure your whale watching experience remains a personal one.

Are there toilets onboard the vessel?

Yes, there are three toilets.

What will I see?

Every Sea World Whale Watch tour is a unique experience and the sightings vary. Migrating Humpback Whales are the stars of the show although tours often encounter Bottlenose Dolphins, Common Dolphins, turtles, sharks and albatross. You will also get a fantastic view of the Gold Coast skyline and hinterland from the sea.

What should I wear?

Flat shoes (no high heels permitted for safety reasons). Something warm in case it gets cold. Something in case of a rain shower. Hats and plastic ponchos are available for purchase in the Cruise Terminal or on board the vessel.

What should I bring?

Seasickness remedy if required. Camera, sunscreen, sunglasses, hat for sun protection, binoculars, warm clothes, flat shoes (no high heel shoes permitted for safety reasons).

Can I buy these items on the boat?

Yes. Hats and sunscreen are sold on board the vessel. Hats, sunscreen, sunglasses, warm jackets and plastic ponchos are available for purchase in the Sea World Cruise Terminal prior to departure.

Is food provided?

Soft drinks, orange juice, beer, wine and snacks are available for purchase on board the vessel. Coffee, tea, toasted sandwiches, wraps, Devonshire teas, muffins, biscuits and cakes are available for purchase at the Sandbar Cafe inside the Sea World Cruise Terminal.

Can I take my own food and drink on the boat?

Yes, but not commercially prepared foods. Glassware, sharp knives and implements may not be brought onto the boat.

Can I purchase alcohol on board the vessel?

Yes, the vessel is fully licensed and provides a range of beer, wine and mixers for sale.

What if I get seasick?

Whale watch tours are conducted in the open ocean and sea conditions vary from day to day and even hour to hour. If you are susceptible to motion sickness we strongly recommend you consult a pharmacist before your whale watching tour. We offer wrist straps and natural ginger motion-sickness remedies for purchase at the Sea World Cruise Terminal but we are not permitted to sell pharmaceutical seasickness preventatives so please consult your chemist before the tour. All our whale watch tours are graded with a seasickness warning shown on the Cruise Terminal Tour Board and announced over our PA system prior to tour departure. We recommend that you call us at the Sea World Cruise Terminal on 1800 056 156 on the morning of your tour before you leave home to check on sea conditions.

How do I make an enquiry?

Call 1800 056 156 and your call will be answered by one of our friendly Sea World Cruise Terminal staff.

How do I make a booking?

Call 1800 056 156 and your call will be answered by one of our friendly Sea World Cruise Terminal staff. Unfortunately we cannot secure your booking without payment.

Do I have to buy a ticket to Sea World to go on a Sea World Whale Watch tour?

No, an entry ticket to Sea World is not required. Sea World Whale Watch tours depart from the Sea World Cruise Terminal in the carpark outside Sea World. Tickets can be purchased at the Sea World Cruise Terminal or call 1800 056 156 for bookings and enquiries.

Does my Sea World Whale Watch ticket include entry to Sea World?

No, not unless you purchase a Combo Ticket.

If I purchase a Combo Ticket do I have to go to Sea World on the same day as my whale watching tour?

You can use the single entry ticket to Sea World the day before, same day or up to two days after your whale watching tour

When is whale season?

Late May to early November.

What is the best time to go whale watching?

The whales are here from May to November every year and there is no better or worse time to see them. The best time to go whale watching is always when the sea conditions are calmest. Call us at the Sea World Cruise Terminal on 1800 056 156 for an update on sea conditions.

Where do the tours leave from?

The Sea World Cruise Terminal in the carpark outside Sea World.

Is there parking?

There is plenty of free parking.

What time do the tours leave?

Morning Tour – Departs 10:00am – 7 days June to November
Afternoon Tour – Departs 2:00pm – Call us for 2:00pm departure dates

How long are the tours?

The average length of a Sea World Whale Watch tour is 2.5 hours but allow at least 3 hours.

How much does a tour cost?

Sea World Whale Watch:

Adult $99  
Child $79 (3 - 13)
Senior $89 (Australian or NZ Seniors Card required ID)
Family $300 (2a 2c)

Sea World Whale Watch – VIP Captain’s Lounge:
Includes VIP seating, snacks, muffins, soft drinks, alcohol, tea and coffee

Adult $180 pp
Child $180 pp (3 - 13)
Senior $180 pp
Family N/A

Sea World Whale Watch + Sea World Entry (Combo Upgrade 1):

Adult $110
Child $90 (3 - 13)
Senior $100
Family $350

Sea World Whale Watch + Helicopter Tour (Combo Upgrade 2):

Adult $149
Child $129 (3 - 13)
Senior N/A
Family N/A

Sea World Whale Watch + Sea World Entry + Helicopter Tour (Combo Upgrade 3):

Adult $159
Child $139 (3 - 13)
Senior N/A
Family N/A

Do I need to book in advance?

Yes. There is a high demand for our tours so booking early is recommended.

Can I take my children?

Yes, provided they are 3 years of age or over. We do not carry children less than 3 years of age for reasons of safety and comfort. Children must be supervised at all times by their parents/guardians. Unless sea conditions are relatively calm, younger children can often suffer from seasickness.

What if I cancel?

You will receive a full refund unless you cancel within 24 hours of your tour time. Separate refund conditions apply to Combo Ticket passengers.

What if the tour is cancelled?

You will receive a full refund. Separate refund conditions apply to Combo Ticket passengers.

What if the sea or weather conditions are not suitable?

Sea World Whale Watch tours are always dependent on sea conditions which can change from day to day and even hour to hour. Sea World Whale Watch staff constantly monitor the weather and respond professionally to any changes. This may mean a tour is cancelled, a high seasickness warning is announced or safety restrictions placed on children or passengers with medical problems. Passenger comfort and safety is always our priority. If we cancel a tour due to adverse sea or weather conditions you will receive a full refund. Separate refund conditions apply to Combo Ticket passengers.

What if I wish to change my booking?

You can change your booking to another tour date if:
  1. You do not make the change within 24 hours of the tour departure time.
  2. Sea World Whale Watch cancels a tour.
  3. You may not wish to do the tour because of the level of seasickness warning.

Is there disabled access?

Yes, we provide full wheelchair access to the vessel and forward viewing decks and there is a disabled toilet on board. Passengers who require the use of a wheelchair during a whale watch tour must notify Sea World Whale Watch at least 24 hours before the day of departure to ensure our crew are prepared and the wheelchair passenger is not inconvenienced. Wheelchair stations on the vessel are limited to two per whale watch tour.

Do you have an exclusive use rate?

Yes, please for enquiries about exclusive use charter of our vessel for functions, conferences or whale watching tours.

Do you have a smoking policy?

Yes, smoking is not permitted on the vessel or in the vicinity of the Sea World Cruise Terminal.