Whale Watching Cairns - Port Douglas Call 07 4059 5959
Port Douglas is the only place in Australia where you can swim with the Minke Whale - an unforgettable experience!
There are a couple of Great Barrier Reef tours departing from Port Douglas that have swim with the Dwarf Minke Whale permits. When the captain spots the minke whales they shut down the engines to see if the whales wish to approach the boat and have some human interaction. If the dwarf minke whales do approach the captain lays a rope line out from the aft of the boat and up to 10 guests are invited to swim with the whales.
Port Douglas do not offer daily dedicated Whale Watching tours, however visitors just may have the chance to see the Humpback Whales whilst they are on their way to and from the Great Barrier Reef on their dive and snorkel tours. If the boat captain spots a pod of whales they may stop the boat so that the whales may approach and the guests onboard can have a closer interaction with the whales.
This is not a guaranteed experience of course and naturally the whales are wild mammals and the human interaction is at their choice.
Some guests may also choose to book a private charter boat to spend a day or even a few days out on the Great Barrier Reef from Cairns or Port Douglas on a combination whale watching, scuba diving and snorkel tour during the annual whale migration months of July to August.
For those who love to scuba dive and have a desire to have the chance to swim with whales they can book dedicated Swim With Dwarf Minke Whales liveaboard dive trips on the Great Barrier Reef in the months of June & July.
These dive boats head to the northern reaches of the Great Barrier Reef where you are just about 100% certain you will have your chance to swim with the highly inquisitive Dwarf Minke Whales. The swim with whales dive trips are so popular you may just need to book your dive spot at least 12 months in advance.
Swim With the Dwarf Minke Whales - Cairns - Port Douglas - Great Barrier Reef Australia
- Call 07 4059 5959
There are many boats throughout the world that allow for whale watching from a distance but few that actually have the rare permits that allow visitors to swim with the inquisitive Dwarf Minke Whales.
Here in Cairns and Port Douglas we are lucky enough to have Great Barrier Reef boat operators that allow for swimming with the Dwarf Minke Whales if the whales approach the boat.
Swimming with whales is conducted under strict adherence to a Code of Practice, and only a handful of Great Barrier Reef tour boat operators hold these highly prized swim with whales permits.
Guests need to note the reef boats' main purpose is for taking visitors out on a Great Barrier Reef trip for a snorkeling or diving experience primarily and if the Dwarf Minke Whales decide they would like to interact with the boat and the guests then it is strictly on their terms. There are no guaranteed swim with whales trips due to the fact these are wild migrating animals in their own environment.
The reef trip boats with the swim with whales permits however will focus highly on trying to get their passengers into the water to swim with these magnificent creatures when the opportunity arises.
Great Barrier Reef Day Trips
- View Port Douglas Day Trips with permit to swim with the Dwarf Minke Whales
On the reef tour day trips the skipper will be watching closely for the Dwarf Minke Whales and upon spotting them, will stop the boat, make the announcement and the crew will assist 10 passengers at a time into the water as quickly and safely as possible.
A rope is attached to the boat so that the guests have something to hold onto while they experience this once in a lifetime magical experience of Dwarf Minke Whales swimming around them.
Liveaboard Extended Dive Trips - Dwarf Minke Whale Expeditions
Choose from a range of 3-7 night liveaboard dive trips which enable you to swim with the Minke Whales during the whale season.
A private Whale Watching charter can also be organised. Travel to the reef with a select group of friends, family or colleagues.
Some often wonder "Is this safe?" The answer is yes - for more information about the Dwarf Minke Whales, please read on.
Cairns Dwarf Minke Whales, June to September.
Dwarf Minke whales are the second smallest of the baleen whales (pygmy being the smallest). With a size of up to 6 to 8 meters & weight of 4 to 14 tonnes at maturity, they can swim in bursts at speeds of up to 12 knots. They are black/grey in colour and can live up to 60 years.
The Dwarf Minke Whales have no teeth but instead a series (between 240 and 360) of baleen plates that hang from both side of their mouth that are used like a filter to trap their food. These whales are rare in the world, and to date the yearly recordings of Dwarf Minke Whales visiting the Great Barrier Reef annually is only around 200 per year and they travel in small groups.
Researchers from the world over are fascinated with these particular whales as they have only been recognised and recorded in the last 12 years or so and they have no idea where they come from or where they retun to after their annual migration.
Swim with whale permits have been given to some Port Douglas boats that go out to Agincourt Ribbon Reefs to assist the researchers to observe the interactions that these whales really encourage and enjoy with human beings. These whales regualarly follow the boats and interact underwater with divers and are very inquisitive with the snorkellers swimming up close and looking you in the eye.
Tourists come out of the water with tears in their eyes and say it was the most amazing thing they have ever done its as though the whale was looking into their minds. They spy hop and swim all around you putting on a little showy display.
Humpback Whales are considered the "show-off's" of Australia's Great Barrier Reef as they love breaching their huge bodies out of the water, sticking their tails out of the water and sounding off to each other you can hear them in the hull of the boats.
They are by far the noisiest of all marine life with their constant loud vocals, some even say that it sounds like singing. They undertake yearly migrations between sub Antarctic waters where they feed and tropical waters of the Great Barrier Reef where calves are born in the safety of the surrounding coral reef structures away from marouding sharks.
During this time the mother will feed very little, all the time showing her new calf how to keep up with her and put on weight for the journey south to the southern waters for the coming summer and melting of the ice and the abundance of krill that follows.
Female Humpback Whales are larger than the male and can reach lengths of 15 meters and weigh over 40 tones. Humpbacks have the largest flippers of all whales up to one third length of bodies.
Only the males sing and do this mostly during mating season reaching up to 20-9,000 Hertz. Humpback whales live between 45-55 years of age. The humpback whale is an endangered species with only 35,000 worldwide.
Migaloo is a male hypo-pigmented white-humback whale originally discovered in Byron Bay in 1991. The name Migaloo originates from the aboriginal term "white fella".
He is part of the east Australiam humpback whale population which includes 11-13000 whales. This herd migrates each year to Cairns to give birth in the tropical waters.
Cairns welcomes Migaloo each year with open arms as we feel lucky to have such a unique creature in our waters. Some think that Migaloo comes to Cairns looking for love... Migaloo is protected under special Queensland and Commonwealth Government legislation as he was struck by a trimaran in 2003.
The good news is that this wonderful white humpback whale loves to put on a good show and turns up on a yearly basis to entertain and show off to the tourists of the Cairns and Port Douglas Great Barrier Reef
These whales travel 8000 km per year just to get to Cairns. Don't miss out on this animal lover dream experience of seeing the Cairns whales!
More information about the Cairns Great Barrier Reef
Minke Whale Expedition | 3, 4 or 7 Nights | June-July | Great Barrier Reef | MB
- Departs From:
3, 4 or 7 nights
There are a range of tours that leave Cairns for the swim with Dwarf Minke Whales leaving Cairns on different days. From Cairns our swim with Dwarf Minke whale tours are only conducted over the prime months of June and July each year, just when the Minke whales gather in their numbers on the northern section of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, giving us close to 98% chance of seeing them.
Cairns Dive Trips | Luxury 3-4-7 Day Great Barrier Reef Tours
- Departs From: Cairns
Choice of 3, 4 or 7 Days
A liveaboard scuba diving tour on Australia's Great Barrier Reef is the best way to see more whales during whale watching season. Choose from 3, 4 and 7 day scuba diving adventure.
Port Douglas Reef Trip | Dive & Snorkel Tour | Swim With Whales | SS
- Departs From: Port Douglas Marina Mirage
8 hours (approx.)
Take a snorkel or dive trip out to the Great Barrier Reef from Port Douglas on our stabilised vessel that has a licence to swim with the Dwarf Minke whales. These inquisitive mammals are here from around June for a short few months and love to come alongside and mingle with snorkelllers. Read more here and book your seat!
Whale Watching Private Charter Boats Cairns - MOA
- Departs From: Cairns Marlin Marina
Book your very own private charter whale watching tour from Cairns Queensland Australia. Book for a day charter to watch the giant Humpback Whales for a total of 12 guests or an overnight private charter for 6 guests during the months of June to September. Read more here!
Port Douglas Dive & Snorkel Trips | Great Barrier Reef | Swim With Whales (seasonal)
- Departs From: Port Douglas Marina
8 hours (approx)
This may be the day your dream comes true! Swim with cute Dwarf Minke Whales on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Book a dive or snorkel trip on our boat from Port Douglas and you may be lucky to snorkel with these playful whales. Call now or read more!
Cairns Dive Trips | 3 Night Fly Dive Cod Hole | MB
- Departs From: Mball Dive Office, Cairns
Dedicated 'swimming with whales' expeditions, from 3 to 7 nights, this is one of a lifetime experience not to be missed.
Minke Whale Dive Trips | Great Barrier Reef | 3 Night Liveaboard | Fly/Dive | MB
- Departs From: Cairns, Cairns Beaches
Vessel departs 7:00am on Day 1 - Returns 3:30pm Day 3
Join our 3 day liveaboard Minke whales expedition. Travel the Great Barrier Reef waters for the opportunity of a lifetime to dive or swim with Minke whales. Explore the Great Barrier Reef with a high chance of a Minke encounter!