Humpback whales are the gentle giants of the sea, and between June and November each year they travel on their migratory paths up and down the East coast of Australia. Tweed Heads is right in the middle of this path, giving us a fantastic close up opportunity to observe these majestic creatures in their natural environment.
Downunder Charters gives you the chance to get out on the ocean and see the whales up close and personal.
"Downunder" is a wide body Shark Cat, 9.85m long and 4.8m wide, meaning she is extremely stable in the water, giving you a safe and secure ride with far less "roll" than a standard mono-hull vessel. As part of our role in caring for the ocean the whales live in, and therefor the whales themselves, Downunder doesn't discharge any waste, even from the toilet or sink into the ocean.
With a solid roof over the entire rear deck and seats all round there is plenty of room to sit in comfort and plenty of water-level rail space for everyone to get an unobstructed view. A maximum of 12 passengers for any tour ensures a personalised experience with no crowding and kids over 5 are more than welcome when accompanied by a parent/guardian. Tea, coffee and bikkies (cookies) are included in the price to make your tour complete.
Our whale watching tour runs for 2 1/2 hours and begins (and ends) with a gentle 15 minute cruise up the Tweed River from our berth at the Tweed Marina to the bar and out into the Coral Sea. Over 15 000 Humpback whales make the journey to warm tropical waters to breed and then back to Antarctica each year and as they pass the Tweed coast they are close enough that you can easily see them from Point Danger and Fingal Heads. This puts them only a very short boat trip off the coast. Once we cross the bar it's all eyes peeled for the "blow", flipper slap or tale splash that tells us the whales are about.
While we must be very careful not to move too close to the whales, they are inquisitive and playful by nature and we have had them come toward, and sometimes right under the boat. It must be remembered that the whales are wild creatures and we have no control over where they go. Seeing one of these massive creatures leap out of the ocean is worth the wait and is a sight you will definitely never forget. If we are really lucky we might even spot Migaloo the white whale or one of his younger white friends.
As well as whales, we often see pods of dolphins, ocean birds, sea turtles and even stingrays going about their lives. Our friendly and experienced crew will be more than happy to share their knowledge of these animals with you.
Don't forget your camera to get a snap or video of the whales in action!
Pricing for Whale watching tour:
Child (5-13) $60
Family (2a 2c) $250
Whole boat (12 seats) $880 (that's one person free!)