Bundaberg offers high quality whale encounters

Australia Whale Experience
MAKING A SPLASH: Bundaberg-based tourism operators have enjoyed a bumper whale watching season. Photo: Nev Swann

Whale watching has made a splash on the Bundaberg tourism scene this season with the majestic creatures putting on playful displays for residents and tourists.

As the season nears its close, Lady Musgrave Experience owner Brett Lakey said hundreds of people enjoyed the company’s latest day tour offering, Australia Whale Experience.

“This year we’ve had 100 per cent strike rate on every tour,” Brett said.

“We had people come up who’ve done tours in other areas around the world and said their experience with us far exceeds any experience they’ve ever had.

“The numbers of the encounters … they seek the boat out, they love the attention.

“We’re just so lucky.”

He said Australia Whale Experience had enjoyed a bumper whale season operating three to four times a week with, on average, 50 to 60 guests each time.

“It’s just growing that awareness that we’ve got an exceptional whale watching experience here,” he said.

“We’ve sold over 80 season passes.

“We’ve even got people from the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane who have also bought season passes to come to Bundaberg to go whale watching.

“It proves the calibre of the product we have coming out of Bundaberg.”

Australia Whale Experience
Australia Whale Experience tour guests have enjoyed a 100 per cent whale sighting strike rate in 2019. Photo: Nev Swann

Lady Musgrave Experience has offered whale watching tours since opening in 2015 however in December launched a dedicated whale watching vessel which has grown awareness for the tours locally.

“It’s a large vessel, designed with viewing decks which allow 360-degree views with whales coming in almost touching distance,” Brett said.

“Due to our permit and being able to access the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park we can go as far north as we want from Bundaberg so we access all the whales that are coming around Australia both north and south.”

He said the Bundaberg whale season ran from about late June until mid to early October.

By adding another feature to the region’s already enticing tourism offerings he said the growing whale-watching industry had the capacity to bring more visitors in and keep them here longer.

“People are coming to experience the Great Barrier Reef,” he said.

“Now they have that product available out of Bundaberg it’s great for the region.”

Bundaberg Tourism General Manager Katherine Reid said Australia Whale Experience was a wonderful addition to the attractions visitors could experience in the Bundaberg region.

“People coming into the Visitor Information Centres love to discover that they don’t need to drive to Hervey Bay to see the whales, they can have a world-class whale experience right here,” Katherine said.

“The more quality products and experiences that we can offer in the Bundaberg Region entices visitors to stay in the region longer, spending more money in our shops and supporting the regional economy.

“Couple this with exceptional customer service at every touch point and we are creating ambassadors of the Bundaberg Region that are going to go out and spread the word on what a fabulous time they had here.”

Australia Whale Experience
Australia Whale Experience sold 80 season passes to visitors and locals including some photography enthusiasts. Photo: Nev Swann