If you are looking for a truly once in a lifetime experience, head to Hervey Bay where you can get the incredible opportunity to swim with humpback whales, as well as visit the most beautiful secluded beaches on the west coast of Fraser Island on the Tasman Venture Remote Fraser Island Experience tour!
Swim With Humpback Whales In Hervey Bay With Tasman Venture
Hervey Bay is known for it’s epic whale encounters. It is the world’s first Whale Heritage Site and is known as the whale watching capital of the world. It is also one of the few places in the world where you can swim with humpback whales!
There are several whale watching companies in Hervey Bay, ranging from half-day to full-day tours, however only a small handful of them offer the swim with whales experience where you can really get up close and personal with these gentle giants underwater!
Getting to swim with humpback whales is such an incredible experience. It was honestly one of the best moments in my life – that is no exaggeration. Very few people get the opportunity to experience swimming with humpback whales, and we were so lucky on the day we visited that we were able to swim with the whales for about 20 minutes! For sure it is a day I will never forget.
When we were in the water the whales came so close to us – within a couple of metres, and at one point we were looking right into their eyes. It was a really special moment being so close to them and a dream come true for me! The whales came so close that you could see every little detail on their faces and body! Despite their gigantic size, the whales had such a calmness about them.
Everyone on the boat – including all the staff were on such a high afterwards, it was a really great atmosphere and we felt so fortunate to be able to swim with these majestic mammals in their natural environment.
Why You Should Do The Remote Fraser Island Tour & Swim With Whales Experience With Tasman Venture
In addition to the whale swim, on the same day trip Tasman Venture also does a couple of stops on the remote west coast of Fraser Island (K’gari) to explore creeks, beaches and sand dunes. This side of Fraser Island is extremely beautiful yet there are no crowds here as it is quite remote and difficult to access compared to the more popular eastern side of the island.
Therefore going on the Tasman Venture Remote Fraser trip from Hervey Bay is by far the most convenient, time-effective and economical way to get to Fraser Island’s west coast. Plus, you combine two day trips into one – whale watching and Fraser Island! I had the best time on this trip and honestly can’t rate it high enough!
Booking a Remote Fraser Island Experience with Tasman Venture is definitely the way to go if you don’t want to do a whole day of whale watching, but want to have an action packed day trip and explore some unique places. The boat is also very fast so you spend less time travelling on the water, and more time with the whales and on Fraser Island. Win win right?!
Tasman Venture also provides you with a wetsuit and snorkel to use for the day. Some of the other swim with whales companies in Hervey Bay don’t provide this, so it’s great Tasman Venture does as let’s be honest, not everyone carries a wetsuit and snorkel around with them on holiday! You’ll definitely want the wetsuit if you’re getting in for the whale swim (the water is around 20 degrees Celsius). It is cold when you get in, but the minute you see the whales underwater you’ll forget all about the cold and just be mesmerised by the whales!
In my opinion Tasman Venture is definitely the most value for money whale swim in Hervey Bay. Some other whale swim companies charge you an extra $100 on top of the tour price to swim with the whales, whereas it is included in the Tasman Venture price.
Tasman Venture is also the only full-day trip (9 hour trip) that offers whale swims. The other whale swim companies only offer half-day trips (around 6 hours) for a similar price. Plus of course you get to stop off and visit the beautiful west coast of Fraser Island whilst the skipper is on the lookout for more whales, so you really get your money’s worth with Tasman Venture!
The Tasman Venture tour departs from Urangan Marina at 07.30am and arrives back around 4.30pm (or sometimes a little later if the whales want to hang around more!). That’s 9 whole hours of fun. The trip costs $205 for adults and $130 for children and is worth every single cent. It was a very fun, stress-free day and genuinely one of the best tours I have ever done in my whole life – and I’ve travelled to over 75 countries!
When Are You Able To Swim With The Whales In Hervey Bay?
The Swim with Whales is a really special experience. However do bear in mind that whilst you will see whales on the tour, it may not always be possible to swim with them and a whale swim is never guaranteed. There are regulations and certain conditions in place that all the tour operators in Hervey Bay must abide to in regards to swimming with whales:
- Whales are wild animals and so the whale swim only happens on the whale’s terms and once the staff have deemed it is safe to do so (ie: adult whales exhibiting calm and curious behaviour, water isn’t too rough).
- You will need to gently slide into the water on the platform at the back of the boat with a snorkel on (don’t jump or splash as it will scare the whales!) and hold onto the rope at all times in the water. All whale swims in Hervey Bay require you to hold onto the rope at the back of the boat for your safety! Then all you have to do is float in the water and admire these beautiful creatures as they come to check you out!
- You aren’t allowed to swim with the baby whales.
Even if you don’t get to do the whale swim, the whale watching alone on the trip is incredible and absolutely worth it. The whale swim is just the cherry on top of the cake.
What Is The Best Time Of Year To Go To Hervey Bay To Swim With Whales On The Tasman Venture Remote Fraser Island Tour?
The Tasman Venture Remote Fraser Island tour happens throughout the year, however the humpback whales are only around during the winter months of July to October.
Mid July is when the whales start to come into the bay, with sightings increasing day by day. August is the perfect time to do the whale swim as this is when there are plenty of inquisitive juvenile whales in the bay and they are calm and curious about the boats.
September sees the mum and baby whales in the bay – you aren’t allowed to swim with the baby whales. And in October – this is generally when the testosterone-filled males are in the bay!
Whale swims are therefore also less likely to occur in October as even though there are plenty whales around, they are often exhibiting behaviour that is unsafe to swim around (eg: breaching, competing between each other to get the attention of the female whale for mating). You definitely don’t want to be in the water at this time!
Therefore August is often seen as the best month to swim with the whales. There’s a higher probability then that you’ll get to swim with the whales. That’s not to say it doesn’t happen during the other months, it’s just the frequency is higher in August.
That being said, whale swims still don’t happen every single day in August and swims are never guaranteed. Remember they are still wild animals and you need to wait for them to be interested in the boat and hang round for a while before you are allowed in the water.
If you aren’t as fussed about swimming with the whales and would rather witness the mother and baby calves, September is a fantastic time to go on these whale watching tours. The young calves are so inquisitive and so cute!
When To Book A Swim With Whales Trip In Hervey Bay
Book your tour with Tasman Venture at least a couple of weeks or even a month in advance as tours can often be sold out every day during the whale watching season!
Naturally, weekends and school holiday dates book out quicker, so go mid-week if you are flexible with dates. Remember there are only 30 seats onboard Tasman Venture, so as soon as you know the dates you’ll be in Hervey Bay, book your tickets online!
Don’t wait until you arrive in Hervey Bay as there may not be availability! And you absolutely can’t come to Hervey Bay in winter and miss out on seeing the whales!
Make sure you book on the Remote Fraser Island Tour if you are keen to swim with the whales. Tasman Venture also run half-day whale watching tours (both I the morning and afternoon), but these half-day tours don’t offer the opportunity to swim with whales!
Don’t worry if you are visiting Hervey Bay in the months of November to July outside of the whale watching season, as Tasman Venture still runs the Remote Fraser tours year-round! When the whales aren’t in Hervey Bay, Tasman Venture will visit three stops on Fraser Island as opposed to the two it does during whale watching season, and you’ll get more time to stay at each spot and enjoy (plus it’s a lot warmer then!).
Whale Watching In Hervey Bay – What Makes It Special?
Every year from mid July to the end of October the calm waters of Hervey Bay become a sanctuary for the graceful humpback whales. The whales come back year after year – and will often come right up to the boat to check you out – it is unlike anything else you will encounter in your life!
Around 40,000 whales make the annual migration up from the Antarctic waters to the warmer waters on Australia’s East Coast – many of them to give birth, before heading back down to the Antarctic. This is the longest mammal migration in the world and this 5,000 km journey takes the whales several months!
In other popular whale watching spots in Australia, the humpback whales can be seen just passing by on their migration. But what makes Hervey Bay so special is that the waters here are calm and protected, so many of the whales stay for a good amount of time in the bay.
The whales use Hervey Bay as a resting place to recuperate from the first half of the tiring migration up from the Antarctic, a place to teach and nurture their young until they grow big enough, and they also use it as a place to stay to gain enough energy for the long journey back.
The calm waters at Hervey Bay are due to the bay being protected by K’gari (Fraser Island), making it a favourite place for the whales to look after their new-born calves until they adult. Platypus Bay – where the boats go out to, is only about 22 metres deep, meaning the waters are safe as there are very few predators (such as orcas and sharks) for the calves and young whales – another reason why the whales favour this area as a place to relax until the calves grow bigger.
Here in Hervey Bay as the whales are relaxed, they will very often come up to the boats to have a good look and to interact with the people onboard! They often exhibit different behaviours in Hervey Bay to when they are migrating.
When they are migrating, they are on a mission – they have a journey to complete. Think of Hervey Bay as their holiday destination.
How Close Can You Be To The Humpback Whales When You Swim With Them In Hervey Bay?
The Marine Park Law states that all boats must stop and turn off the engine at a distance of at least 100 metres from the whales. Then it’s up to the whales if they want to swim towards you.
As whales are naturally curious creatures, when they are in Hervey Bay they often will come towards the boat and exhibit inquisitive and unique behaviour such as spy-hopping (popping their head out of the water) or ‘mugging’ the boat (where they just slowly circle the boat) so they can get a closer look at you. Believe it or not, the whales are just as curious about us as we are about them!
Sometimes the whales won’t swim right next to the boat, but they’ll exhibit behaviours such as pectoral fin slaps against the water, tail slaps or even breaching out of the water! All of these behaviours are just incredible to witness and photograph!
Being so close to these magnificent creatures honestly feels so special – even if you’re not an avid whale lover. Many of the whales are around 12 metres long, and it is really mesmerising to see how big yet how graceful and majestic they are.
Remote Fraser Island Tour With Tasman Venture
Along with the whales providing the entertainment, Tasman Venture will also bring kayaks, snorkelling gear and an inflatable tube so there are plenty of activities to keep you busy when on Fraser Island!
The inflatable tube is like a giant inflatable chair that they attach to the back of the speedboat tender by a long rope. It is a LOT of fun whether you are young or old!
The staff really make this tour outstanding. They are so happy, upbeat, friendly and professional and they make a delicious lunch and morning/afternoon tea!
On the west side of Fraser Island you will discover a hidden paradise, full of untouched remote beaches and just a sprinkling of people. It is estimated that for every 700 tourists on the east coast of Fraser Island is one tourist on the west side. That’s just how remote this place is!
And that’s one of the things that makes all the locations on the west coast of Fraser Island even more appealing. It has all the beauty but no crowds!
On the whale watching tours you will visit two out of the three locations on Fraser Island:
With an ancient sand dune to climb up, a freshwater tannin creek to swim in, crystal clear calm ocean waters, white sand and maybe just one or two campers around – Bowarrady Creek is simply stunning.
The staff will do a guided walk up the Bowarrady Blow sand dunes. Hike up these – it’s a steep climb but it’s not too high (and there’s a rope to help you climb up). It’s definitely worth the climb – the views are incredible from here!
You’ll them head over to the freshwater creek just behind the beach. It’s cold but it’s so fresh – go for a swim if you like! Even though the water appears brown – this is just from the tannin on the trees and you can drink this water. We also managed to see a dingo here whilst we were relaxing on the beach afterwards!
Another beautiful spot Tasman Venture visits on the Remote Fraser Island Tour is Awinya Creek. Just behind the beach is the creek known as Awinya Creek. Awinya Creek is another freshwater creek with tannins in the water, giving it the stained brown colour.
The staff will do a guided kayak over to the mangroves in the creek. This makes for a spectacular experience as you feel like you are in a different world when you are amongst the mangroves and tannin waters!
You’ll also have some time to relax on the beach afterwards – the pristine white sandy beach stretches for kilometres, it is so beautiful!
Wathumba Creek is not only one of the most breathtakingly beautiful places on Fraser Island, but it’s one of the most spectacular clear water beaches out there. This place is magical, and definitely one for any Australia bucketlist.
With swirling sands to resemble the iconic Whitsundays Hill Inlet (one of Australia’s most photographed beaches), yet without the hoards of people and tour groups, Wathumba Creek is so dreamy. The scenery is just incredible, with perfectly clear turquoise waters and silica white sands that span for miles! Wathumba Creek transforms into a large ocean lake at high tide, and it’s a wonder more people don’t know about it!
The waters here are so crystal clear and incredibly calm in the creek, and the sand is so white! Whilst you’re here, check out the white shells on the beaches. Especially on the larger beach overlooking the bay there are hundreds of shells, all perfectly shaped and so white! Admire them, but remember don’t take any shells from the beach.
If you’re keen on snorkelling, do the guided snorkel here – where you can often spot turtles, stingrays and plenty of fish. Stick to snorkelling along the banks of the creek as much as possible this is where the marine life is!
The staff will do a guided kayak over to the mangroves and the tannin waters on the eastern side of the creek by the campsite. You’ll also have some time to relax on the beach afterwards.
Wathumba Creek is such a wonderful relaxing place full of beautiful scenery that you won’t want to leave by the end! I genuinely feel that the photos don’t do it justice to how stunning it is.
Usually on the whale watching tours, Tasman Venture doesn’t stop off at Wathumba Creek as it can be hard to time the tide and wind conditions to be optimal. It isn’t possible for Tasman Venture to visit Wathumba Creek during low tide as the sand bars will be exposed and the water is too shallow.
Tasman Venture will only take you to Wathumba Creek during high tide and if the conditions are right so, if it isn’t safe for Tasman Venture to stop at Wathumba Creek due to the tide and wind conditions they will make an alternate stop on Fraser Island!
What Is Included On The Tasman Venture Remote Fraser Island Tour?
Lunch, morning and afternoon tea, use of wetsuits, snorkelling equipment, kayaks and tubing! Drinks are available to purchase onboard for a very reasonable price.
What To Bring On The Tasman Venture Remote Fraser Island Tour
Make sure you bring everything you need for a day at the beach. Suncream, sunglasses, swimming costume, a hat, towel, spare change of clothes, plus your camera and some money/card if you want to purchase drinks.
Food and drinks are available onboard so no need to bring any.
Is The Swim With Whales Tasman Venture Trip Really Worth Going To Hervey Bay For?
You’re bound to have a great time if you head out on the Remote Fraser Island & Whale Watching Tour with Tasman Venture! This really is a whale watching tour with a difference. Everyone on our trip left the boat really happy and had a fantastic day, and we were all impressed at the amount of things we got to do throughout the day, whilst still feeling like the day went at a relaxed pace and wasn’t rushed.
The Tasman Venture trip isn’t just one of the best whale watching tours in Queensland. It’s one of the best whale watching tours on the planet. It really is the experience of a lifetime and I know for sure any other whale watching destination I visit just won’t compare to how my experience in Hervey Bay was.
I had been on whale watching tours elsewhere round the world and they didn’t even compare to this. In Hervey Bay we saw so many whales throughout the course of the day and they were a million times closer than at whale watching tours in other parts of the world. It was really a once in a lifetime opportunity to get t swim with these incredible gracious mammals.
Where Is Tasman Venture Located In Hervey Bay?
Tasman Venture Tours depart from Great Sandy Straits Marina in Urangan, Hervey Bay. Click here for the Google maps location.
Parking is free at the marina all day and there are a few restaurants here if you fancy stopping for dinner or a glass of wine after your trip!
How To Get To Hervey Bay
Hervey Bay is located 3.5 hours drive north of Brisbane.
The easiest way to get to Hervey Bay is by flying into Hervey Bay airport (50 minute flight from Brisbane), or by car (3.5 hours drive from Brisbane).
This is much quicker than going to Hervey Bay by public transport as the Greyhound bus takes a long time (6.5 hours from Brisbane).
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Catrina is a Travel Writer, SEO Specialist and ex-Flight Attendant based in Sydney, Australia. She has visited 85 countries and lived in several – including Italy, Australia, United Arab Emirates and England. Her work has been featured in a variety of popular travel publications including Fodors, Escape, Australian Traveller and Bear Grylls, as well as several international aviation and travel companies. The majority of her work however features on her own website – 24hourslayover.com where she has written over 500 travel articles!