Swim with Whales - Sunreef Majestic Encounter

Swim with whales

Swim with Whales

This is your opportunity to Swim With Whales. Humpback Whales are one of the largest mammals in our ocean and Sunreef is Australia’s first swim with humpback whales operator. Now you can get closer than ever before by getting in the water with the whales as they migrate along the Sunshine Coast, Queensland.

Experience the Thrill of Swimming with Humpback Whales

Dive into the adventure of a lifetime with Sunreef, the premier provider for swimming with humpback whales on the Sunshine Coast. With a 92% success rate, the highest in the world, Sunreef guarantees an unforgettable encounter with these majestic creatures.

Why Choose Sunreef?

  • Unmatched Success Rate: Enjoy a 92% chance of swimming alongside humpback whales.
  • Expert Guides: Our knowledgeable guides ensure a safe and enriching experience.
  • Eco-Friendly Practices: Committed to sustainability and whale conservation.

“We are excited to support another fantastic experience on the glorious Sunshine Coast”

Simon Latchford – Visit Sunshine Coast CEO

What You can expect

Every trip we take out to sea is unique since we leave most of this trip up to the whales and mother nature.

Check in at Sunreef starts at the time outlined on your confirmation email or text. When you arrive, we will see you at our check in desk so we can check your Whale Swim Waiver and ensure all the names on the booking are correct.

We will then direct you to the departure area where you will also pick up your mask, snorkel, fins and wetsuit. The Sunreef Crew will help you find a wetsuit and fins that fit you the best. We will have you wait on the boardwalk before your Skipper gives you a briefing of how we will run the trip.

On departure, we will give all our guests a thorough boat briefing as we exit the Mooloolah River. The trip out of Mooloolaba takes around 15 minutes. After exiting the Mooloolah River mouth we will begin to search for whales using our sight. We will be looking out for mainly blows or major surface activity from the humpback whales, however it’s not uncommon for us to also end up spotting dolphins, turtles and other amazing animals on our trips.

To help us sight the whales, the Swim with Whales crew will ensure that you know what you should be looking for in particular.

After spotting whales, what we experience is all completely left up to the whale. We will wait for the final calls from our skipper and trained crew.

If the whales are displaying behaviours that are deemed unsuitable by our crew for a swim, we will observe these animals from the boat and give them their space.

If determined as safe by our trained crew, the boat will be shut off and the swimmers will slowly enter the water. After this, what we experience is all completely left up to the whale.

This is a completely organic experience, in no way do we control these animals or their behaviours. Sometimes they will swim away, sometimes they swim right under or beside us. Please note this is also a case of looking but not touching these animals.

Either way, it will be an experience we’re sure you’ll remember. We will always do everything in our power to respect the whales boundaries and environment.

From start to finish, please allow at least 4 hours. Please see below for what to bring, parking recommendations, and more.

Our vessels will have light snacks, water, and a marine toilet available.

Read more about humpback whales on the Sunshine Coast.

“Its truly incredible to that one of the largest of mammals in our oceans is so graceful and gentle – they are just so trusting of human beings. They seem as intrigued by us as we are of them and glide effortlessly around us, with such a gentleness that it’s like they recognise our fragility in comparison and know we are there out of wonder and respect.”

Swim with Whales Customers, Please read the following

Trip confirmations: Your confirmation of the trip will depend on the sea conditions and weather. We will monitor this closely and if the weather or sea conditions are unsuitable, we will let you know as soon as we can. We will send out an email and text message the day before your trip around 3:30 pm to inform you of the status of the trip and its departure time.

*Please note that while the weather may look great on the beach, it doesn’t mean the conditions offshore are safe for watching. If we have to cancel a trip due to poor sea conditions it is for our customer’s safety, and we will either rebook or refund you for this.*

Swim with Whales Waiver: Each swimmer is required to complete a Sunreef Swim with Whales Waiver before your Swim with Whales trip. Please see the link, or alternatively you can fill the form out when we send your booking confirmation.

Eligibility requirements for Swim with Whales:

  • If you cannot swim, this tour will not be suitable for you, please see our whale watching tours for another amazing alternative to experience humpback whales.
  • If you are pregnant, we unfortunately cannot take you on this tour.
  • If you have any pre-existing medical conditions, are taking prescription medication, are suffering from any injury or illness you may be unable to swim with Sunreef. If this could apply to you please contact us.
  • Unfortunately there is no wheelchair access available on any of our vessels.
  • Children under 16 years old must be accompanied by an adult at all times (on board or in the water, also please be aware that they must be strong swimmers for this activity.)
  • Children under 8 are not permitted on board.

What to bring: Towel, swimsuit, change of clothes for afterward. Please ensure you have your personal medications with you e.g. asthmatics, heart disease, anaphylaxis, etc).

No drones are permitted on board. 

NO alcohol is to be taken on the vessel.

Seasickness: This is in open water and we suggest you consider seasickness tablets to minimize the risk of seasickness affecting your trip. We will not issue any rebookings or refunds for being seasick.

Parking: The Wharf complex has 4 hour parking available, however you will need to find suitable parking for the tour you are on as some of our trips will be over 4 hours. There are some unlimited parking spaces available outside of The Wharf Mooloolaba / SEA Life car park, however please keep in mind especially if you are on an 11:30 am or later trip that parking can get very busy. Please give yourself at least 15-20 minutes for parking. You can find a parking map of The Wharf Mooloolaba here.

At Sunreef, we do everything we can to provide an amazing experience from start to finish with all our trips. As we outlined above, these are wild animals that we do not have control over. Some whales may not want to socialise with us, and we appreciate your respect and understanding when this happens.

  • This tour is 100% on the whale’s terms and there is no guarantee that you will have an in-water experience with the whales.
  • We do not give refunds for not swimming with whales.
  • We do not give refunds for not sighting whales.
  • If the Sunreef skipper or crew do not sight ANY whales either on the surface and in the water throughout the trip, you will be eligible for 50% off another Swim with Whales trip.
    • A whale sighting from the boat will not count toward 50% off another trip.
    • Not entering the water will not count toward 50% off another trip.
    • Not having an in-water experience with whales will not count toward 50% off another trip.
  • At Sunreef, we do everything we can to provide an amazing experience from start to finish with all our trips. Humpback whales are wild animals that we do not have control over.
  • Some whales may not want to socialise with us. Sometimes whales may not be deemed safe or suitable to swim with (i.e. displaying mating behaviours).
  • Sunreef reserves the right to decide to not swim with the whales we find. We appreciate your respect and understanding when this happens. Sunreef staff will make the final decision as to whether it is appropriate to enter the water with the whales, in the interests of both guests’ and whales’ safety. Additionally, staff will have the final say as to a guest’s in-water ability.
  • We would like all our guests to acknowledge the potential risk of injury as this tour runs with wild animals. Not that we have had any issues in the past, we just would like our guests to understand and respect these environmental factors.


Swim with Whales

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Our Responsibility

All our staff at Sunreef take your safety, and respect for nature very seriously – it’s our top priority so we expect all participants to follow the directions of our staff at all times.

The Sunreef crew is very experienced in guiding these in-water activities and follows all relevant safety guidelines.

All encounters are conducted in accordance with the Australian National Guidelines for Whale and Dolphin Watching (2017) as well as our own strict Code of Practice which has been developed with whale researchers and experts to ensure the protection of the whales.

We are also working with the University of the Sunshine Coast on a coordinated research project to increase the knowledge around these amazing creatures. Our commitment includes recording information about every whale sighting and offering spots on every boat for the researchers to get out into the field to collect their own data. Our guests can also participate, if they wish, using our whale spotting sheets.