Whale Watching at Point Lookout on Stradbroke Island

Last week I presented you with a very long list of things to do with your kids during the school holidays. But for as long as that list was, it didn’t cover everything, as we proved on Friday.

Because on Friday, we went whale watching at Point Lookout on Stradbroke Island.

Turns out that Point Lookout on Stradbroke Island is one of Australia’s best land based locations for whale watching. Not only that, but the best time of the year to go whale watching is during the last two weeks of June to the first two weeks in July.


This was fantastic news, we were really excited. I packed my video recorder and my tripod so that I could capture for you this once in a lifetime experience in real time. We’d got the 10:30 AM ferry to Straddie and we weren’t returning until 6 PM. That would give us a solid five hours to whale watch and my chance to make a five hour epic film that would probably become a classic amongst whale watching fanatics all around the world.

Unfortunately, my five hour film would have looked like this throughout….

Whale watching on Stradbroke Island Australia

My movie would have been completely uninterrupted by the sight of whales blowing water, doing backflips and showing off their tails. I think it was 1978 when Australia stopped whaling. Since then the population has risen quite dramatically. You’d think the least they could do in return would be to put on a show! I mean, not doing so is just selfish.

After five hours of seeing nothing, I began to think it was just like most things in life. It’s okay actually being there, but if you want to see it at how it really is, go to YouTube.

So I did.

Turns out there’s not much footage on there either. I was looking specifically for video film of whales taken from land anywhere in Australia. There is almost nothing around.

In fact, this was one of just a few available……

That was taken from the beach at Port Macquarie, NSW, that’s on the east coast of Australia. A nice bit of footage, but I thought the whale could have put a little more effort into his jump.

This is a better jump, but as you can see, the video was taken from a boat. This one from somewhere near the Whitsundays, which is still east coast Australia, but further north…..

After investing $129 on the ferry and around nine hours of our time, you’d have thought one whale somewhere could have found the time for one little jump like the whales we have seen here in these films.

But no.

Having said that, we spoke to a couple of people who worked on the island and had done so for some time. One of them had never seen a whale and the other had seen just one.

Whale watching. I think it’s overrated.

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{ 11 comments… add one }
  • Angela June 6, 2018, 12:07 am |

    I realise this is an old post but I live on North Stradbroke Island and see an abundance of whales every migration from land. Every year I see them in so close to the rocks you could almost reach out and touch them. Often see them playing with large pods of dolphins too. As nature is unpredictable of course you can have a day where you don’t see much or anything but then the next day you may see it all. As whale numbers are increasing there is less chance of seeing nothing.

    • BobinOz June 6, 2018, 7:12 pm |

      Yes, our suspicion was that we were just very unlucky on that day. We will try again, hopefully this winter and maybe we’ll be lucky this time. As you say, numbers are increasing, and it was, gosh, 8 years ago when we went, so we will certainly have a better chance now.

  • BobinOz September 24, 2010, 12:41 am |

    That’s all well and good but you can’t beat seeing the real thing on YouTube can you? So I’m not jealous in any way at all.

    In fact it’s sounding more and more like as if going whale watching and staring at the sea for hours and hours and seeing nothing is quite a unique experience. I feel priviledged.

  • Steve Povey September 22, 2010, 11:40 pm |

    I’m with Annie on this one Bob, went down to Point Danger and D’bah at the NSW/QLD border and they were everywhere! No need for telescopes, just look out to see and within 10-20 secs you’d see a whale jumping out of the water or a tail sticking up. Unbelieveable sight to see, but well worth the drive down to see. In fact if you go a little further down the m1 to fingal, you’ll see them even closer in as the land protudes into the sea more there.
    Must have seen at least 50 over the course of a couple of hours last weekend!!!

  • BobinOz September 12, 2010, 10:00 pm |

    Well, we’ve been twice and seen one sea turtle and two dolphins. So it seems you’re a little ahead with just the one visit. So I guess we were unlucky. But we definitely will go again.

    Must have been awesome seeing a whale do a full jump, nice one! Mind you, even without the whales and dolphins Stradbroke is a fantastic place.

  • Ian September 11, 2010, 7:36 pm |

    You were so unlucky with Point Lookout, I took my son 2 weeks ago and must have seen at least 30 whales inlcuding one that did a full jump, + at least 20 dolphins, sea turtles and an eagle. awesome place. I would give it another chance. We watched from the Boardwalk – last stop on the bus.

  • Annie from Gold Coast Australia July 22, 2010, 5:13 pm |

    I understand your pain – I am the one who turned up at Fraser Island 30 minutes after they just had a humpback whale mother and baby swimming around the jetty! And for the next 3 days…. NOTHING!!!! Our friends we were staying with had been in their kayaks and the whales popped up next to them, but we saw not even a whale spout!

    We walked along the beach and when we walked back 20 minutes later there were dingo tracks where we had been walking… but did we see a dingo… not one!

    Usually, I miss all the good stuff, but with the whales, there are now so many of them that go up and down the coast if you persevere and you will see them.

    • BobinOz July 22, 2010, 9:08 pm |

      Ah, I can help you out there. I saw a dingo when I went to the centre of Australia. I got a picture of him too. You can see the picture of the dingo here. Just scroll down, past all the pictures of the incredible scenery around Alice Springs until you get to the creatures section. Then past the scary grub, then the spiniflex, past the camels and you’re there. Dingo!

      He quite liked the look of my sandwich, but it was chicken salad with pickle. No chance!

  • Annie From Gold Coast Australia July 22, 2010, 10:54 am |

    What a shame! But that is a top spot on North Straddie. We went there in December one year and were having lunch in a cafe and we saw dolphins riding the surf in! That was awesome.

    I have seen whales from land quite a bit in Gold Coast – often from the headland at Point Danger, once from the 17th floor of the Sofitel (which really annoyed the Accor salesman trying to sell us timeshare because I distracted everyone and had them all at the windows LOL) and once from the top floor of Reflections by the Sea, in Coolangatta. The people who were staying there were quietly having lunch when I shouted “Whales!” I nearly saw salmon quiche in artistic patterns over the walls – I get a bit excited about whales!

    The whale watch operators have said that there are some days when the whales are very busy and active and others when they are quiet, I am thinking you may have had one of those days and the people who live there may just have tuned out.

    If you want to be guaranteed of seeing a whale, other by watching on Youtube, try a trip with one of the operators who offer a guarantee and have a good track record. You won’t be disappointed if when you see them up close ;-).

    Better luck next time
    Annie from Gold Coast Australia

    • BobinOz July 22, 2010, 5:05 pm |

      Hi Annie

      Thanks for popping by telling us about your whale experiences. Perhaps we were a bit unlucky then, I got the impression that spotting a whale was as rare as hen’s teeth. We have seen dolphins off of Straddie, well I say “we”, everyone else did, I had my video camera stuck to my head and completely miss them!

      I was about to give up on whale watching, but your story has encouraged me to stare at the sea a little more often. I guess it’s just potluck, that’s the way it is with nature. But then you’re talking to the guy who went to see Uluru and never saw the sun on its back once. At least Straddie was only an hour away, not in the middle of Australia.

      We will see a whale one day, even if we, as you say, do have to do take a trip with an operator.



    • Thulani June 16, 2017, 8:07 am |

      Annie I’m Thulani Msweli from Swaziland please help to get to Australia im looking for job I’m a truck driver plis help me .my no is 0027838670161 u can call me any time .thanks

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