Get in now for the last Whale Watching tours of this season!
Humpback whale

Choose your experience for some of the best Whale Watching of the year.

With the Sunshine coast whale watching season closing at the end of the month it surprises some people to know that there is in fact often no better time  for some truly amazing whale encounters. The number of whales in September and October, heading back to the antarctic waters, is simply astounding. And so many of them have of course their new family additions swimming alongside them. (and the calves are usually so playful too!).

In fact this time of year you will often get the chance to spend time with a number of different pods. Some in groups of 5 or more together.

Why Choose Sunshine Coast Afloat for your whale watching?

When choosing who to whale watch with there are a number of operators  and vessels on the sunshine coast. From the biggest and most well known operators of Whale One and Croc one down to the smallest with Set Sail Cruises or Hella-va-jet. This now give visitors (and locals) to Mooloolaba a much better range of operators to choose from for their experience with the whales.  Every operator is different. These differences will range from the type and size of vessel, to the actual way you get to interact with the whales. Some of the larger vessels will take up to 120 passengers on a trip, and then with the smaller vessels as little as 5. Smaller groups can often mean you might have the boat to yourselves. The larger vessels usually have the ability to pay on board for additional amenities (food and drinks), or come as “all inclusive” tours.

At Sunshine Coast Afloat we operate a small fleet of vessels from 5m-17m. We specialise in small group charters from 2 people up to 23 people on our vessels Crusader 1, Hela-va-jet and SupaYot.  We work closely with all other regional operators including Sunshine Seaplanes who often help locate the whales before we even leave the dock. All of this to allow us to get you quickly, and comfortably, close up to our large marine friends.

Because, as mentioned, we specialise in smaller groups, our tours are aimed squarely at those people that want a guaranteed railside, uninterrupted viewing position.  We don’t need PA systems to be heard of the noise larger groups always generate. Your experience is purely directly with our friendly experienced skippers and crew, who are there to assist you and answer any “whaley questions” you may have. No matter where you go on board, you will never be standing behind someone having your view blocked. You will never struggle to find a comfortable seat when you want to have a sit down. In fact, we do everything we can to make you feel as if you are on a large private trip with just a few friends. The sort of trip we all really want to have!  Add in the fact that the Whales certainly seem to love our boats, constantly having a number of very close personal encounter this season and last.

Sunshine Coast Afloat is a small Family business with a complete focus on providing high quality experiences and service.  Every member of our crew have young families of their own, ensuing a great understanding of your family’s needs. Each of our skippers have been working on the ocean for over 10 years, in all areas of marine tourism. From Scuba Diving to long range expedition cruising, up and down the east coast of Australia. Each brings their own knowledge and experience with them them and all are willing to share this knowledge with any of our passengers interested. Their experience and understanding of what our customers need and deserve means that your time is valuable and is treated as such by each and every crew member.


A humpback whale shows her tail near Crusader 1 on the Sunshine Coast

When choosing your boat with Sunshine Coast Afloat it’s worth knowing the facts:

Crusader 1

Crusader 1 coming back to her home port
  • Spacious and very stable 17m Conquest West Coaster
  • Cruising speed of up to 23 knots
  • Max 23 passengers.
  • All inclusive with food and non alcoholic drinks.
  • 2 toilets
  • 2 decks
  • LOTS of seating to accommodate more people than actually aboard.

Crusader 1 is one of the largest charter vessels on the Sunshine Coast. So large that most other operators would easily run up to 100 or more passengers on a vessel this size. With just a maximum of 23 people the most common comment we get is “Gee, the boat almost seems empty!”. And that is the feeling we want for our guests because that means you have both room and privacy aboard! Room to move about. Room to position yourself for the best view or angle possible. And privacy to not feel crowded or “sardined” in. Privacy to feel that you are having a very special and privileged experience!

Our main deck is only 1m above sea level. So when the whales decide to check us out you are SUPER close! Anyone that has had this experience will agree, its an emotional and moving experience!

Our forward deck is only 2m above sea level and its quite common to stand there and watch the whale swim right under our bow! Dolphins are also often seen playing in the wake as we head out or on our way back in.


2 shots of Hela-Va Jet during whale Watching trips
  • 9.5m enclosed Oceantech Jet Boat
  • Cruising speed of 35knots (70km/hr)
  • Seats up to 12 but only takes 4-8 passengers (10 with 2 kids) for whale watching.
  • All inclusive whale watching

Hela-va-jet’s size and speed make her an ideal whale watching platform for small groups in sea conditions up to 1.5m of swell. She has the ability to get you out to the whales up to 10 miles off shore within 15 min of leaving the river mouth. In calmer seas enjoy the smooth, fast, air conditioned ride. And when the seas pick up strap in for a high speed adrenaline filled ride out to the whales as the highly experienced skippers twist and turn through the waves.

Once with the whales your skipper will open up Hela-va-Jet’s full length gullwing doors allowing you to move around the cabin getting the best views from at sea level with the whales.

Hela-va-Jet’s size allows her to sit on a single wave preventing the twisting motions you can get on larger vessels (which usually contributes to sea sickness) making for a very comfortable, fun and easy time with the whales.

If any above the information above sounds like something you are interested in just give us a call on 0402 625 825 or 0412 155 814 or jump online. We would love to have you aboard!

About Author

Jerry van Driel-Vis