Weather conditions & Whale Watching on the Sunshine Coast

We are very lucky to have the Humpback Whale Highway go straight past us here on the Sunshine Coast and the ability to see the whales throughout July to the end of October as they head up north and back south as part of their migration.

Whale Watching has become one of the Sunshine Coasts most popular ocean activity through our winter months.

Because knowing what weather conditions are best for whale watching can help you better prepare for your tour experience, we’ve answered some frequently asked questions about how the weather impacts whale watching.

What is the best weather to be going Whale Watching on the Sunshine Coast?

Humpback Whales have a natural flow of resting and activity that is not affected by the time of day or by changes in the weather.

The weather impacts us more than it does them.  Our comfort, visibility and ability to move around the boat easily are all considerations when heading out Whale Watching.

We do tend to see a little more surface activity when the weather is not perfect, those glassy conditions.

Whales seem to travel solo a lot as they head north and on their way back south we find they are with their young and sometimes a male escort and competition pods which are groups of bulls competing for the attention of the female for mating purposes.

Whale Watching with clouds and rain

Don’t let a cloudy or rainy day keep you from going out whale watching. Sometimes a cloudy day is the best whale watching weather. The whales don’t care if it is raining.

It sometimes helps to remember that our Humpback whales spend much of their time in Alaska so they are used to cooler waters, a little wind and rain.  As much as our water temperatures are colder for us, the Humpback Whales love the warmer conditions as they have come from freezing conditions.  We simply suggest bringing a poncho or jacket to keep dry and warm.

All our cruises are dependent upon suitable ocean conditions. We do not cancel based on forecasted rain. Unless it is very heavy rain which of course affects visibility and our ability to find and follow whales. The factors that influence when a cruise is cancelled are based upon the wind strength and direction and the swell height and direction.

Whale watching during thunderstorms

If the weather and rain are forecast to be severe, or there are thunderstorms, we cancel and reschedule our guests. Thunderstorms have a risk of lighting and being on the water with that risk is not safe.  Our forecasts are based on Marine weather which can be different to land based predictions.  Safety and comfort are paramount and when it comes to whale watching, our top priority is about having a fun, positive whale watching experience.

Always book your whale watching tours at the beginning of your vacation in case the tour has to be rescheduled due to weather.  That way, you have the ability to move your trip and don’t miss out on your whale watching excursion.

If you’d like the chance to experience the magic of humpback newborns playing alongside their parents this whale watching season, and also the older humpbacks breaching and tail slapping, feel free to give us a call on 0412 155 814 or email us on – [email protected]  You can also book online if you wish.

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Jerry van Driel-Vis