Cairns Whale Watching Tours Now Operating

Reef Magic Cruises will start operating their half day whale watching tours from Cairns tomorrow, Tuesday 19 July 2011. The 3.5 hour tours depart Marlin Marina at 9am and include a comprehensive Humpback Whale commentary, photo opportunities and morning tea.

These specialist whale watching tours first started in 2009 and are the only of their kind in Cairns, delivering guests an excellent whale sighting rate of 99%.

The Cairns Post has reported that 13,500 whales are making the migratory trip from the Antarctic, up to Cairns and its Great Barrier Reef, a 10% increase on last year.

The most famous whale heading north is Migaloo, the world’s only all white Humpback Whale, who was last seen at Hinchinbrook Island over the weekend and is expected to make an appearance off Cairns any day now.

Cairns Whale Watching Tours are conducted on a 22m catamaran, providing a stable ride for passengers. Check in is at 9am for a 9.30am departure, with whales generally spotted around 30-45 minutes later. The boat returns to Cairns at 1pm.


Every year pods of Dwarf Minke Whales inhabit the waters of the Northern Great Barrier Reef from Cairns. Typically visiting during the months of June and July each year. The Whales are here to mate and give birth to their young. Dwarf Minke Whales and extremely inquisitive and often interact with snorkelers and divers.

Extended overnight liveaboard trips typically depart Cairns on Fridays and return to Cairns on Tuesdays. Find out more about these extended Dwarf Minke Whale Tours from Cairns.




  1. Homi Ho on August 26, 2016 at 11:33 am


    I am wondering, is there still have any whale watching tour in coming September please? Thank you.

    Best Regards,

  2. clint on August 29, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    Hello Homi,

    Thank you for getting in touch, unfortunately, there are no whale watching tours this season (2016).

    Not exactly sure why but the normal tour operators decided that they would not operate due to the whales locating themselves far offshore in the Coral Sea.

    We hope they travel in closer for next year 2017.

    Best Regards,

  3. Oksana on June 3, 2017 at 7:25 pm


    I wonder if there are whale watching tours this season (2017) in Cairns?

    I plan to come in August, will it be possible to find such tours then?

    Thank you.


  4. clint on June 5, 2017 at 2:55 pm

    Hello Oksana,

    Thank you for asking about the 2017 Whale watching season. Please note the regular day boats that provide the half day whale watching tours from Cairns are not running again this year 2017.

    The main company that ran these tours has changed hands and they are concentrating on taking people to the reefs snorkeling and diving.


    If you have more time there are 4-day liveaboard whale watching tours that are operating on specific dates. Typically departing Cairns on a Friday and returning to Cairns on Tuesday. These trips are suitable for both snorkelers and divers.

    I have added some information about this in blue up above. Please have a read and let me know if you have any further questions.

    Kind Regards

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