Seeing Whales in Port Douglas (July-Sept)

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You are very likely to see humpback whales on your way to and from the Great Barrier Reef from Port Douglas Australia. The whales can be spotted in July, August and September. During this period the whales are migrating north to calf before returning to cooler waters for the hotter months. While there are no whale-watching trips from Port Douglas, sightings are very common from any of the boats taking visitors to the Outer Reef for a day of snorkelling or scuba diving.

Minke whales are also in the waters off Port Douglas around this time, from May to June. You will only see minkes in the water, they don’t breach like the humpbacks. Poseidon (Port Douglas) have a license for swimming with minke whales. Liveaboard dive trips from Cairns allow you to swim with these smaller whales.

Whale sharks can be sighted on the reef off Port Douglas, but it is very rare.

Best Time To See Whales From Port Douglas

July is one of the best times to visit Port Douglas and it’s a busy time. The kids from the northern hemisphere are on their long summer holidays. Australian schools also have a shorter break in July. Port Douglas will be busy.

July is winter in Australia, but Port Douglas remains warm (even hot). Sea temperatures will be lower than in summer, around 24 degrees C. Most snorkel and scuba boats will provide shorty wetsuits.

Winter is the best time to visit Far North Queensland, the summer months are too hot and wet for most. Cyclones happen in summer in our tropical climate.

Best Boat For Seeing Whales

For your best chance of seeing humpback whales, we recommend booking with Wavelength, this smaller, family-run company will often be able to stop for you to get a better view of the whales. These boats have a max capacity of 50 people and depart Port Douglas Marina daily, weather allowing, so do book here.

A day on the outer reef with Wavelength will cost you about $270 Au per adult $179 US), $206 Au per child under 14 ($136 US). The price includes lunch, snacks, water, gear and underwater photos to keep.This is one of the cheaper day cruises to the reef from Port Douglas and it’s a great day out. Take a look at availability below. They can be fully booked.

The prices are going up in July and the reef tax is increasing.

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Seeing Whales From Low Isles

The humpback whales are quite likely to be near Low Isles. It is possible that you’ll see them from a half-day or full-day trip to Low Isles, just off the Port Douglas coast. You’re more likely to see them on the way to the Outer Reef. The whales like the deeper water of the shipping channels.

If you have any questions, leave them in the comments or email our team directly from our contact page. We’re here to help you in planning your trip to Port Douglas, Far North Queensland.

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Alyson Long

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