You can never count on getting a wave from a friendly humpback whale — but if there’s one place where it’s more likely to happen than anywhere else, it’s Queensland, Australia.

@visit Incredible memory taken on a day out in Queensland, Australia. 😍 With its pristine marine environment, Queensland marine life sightings will truly take your breath away! 🇦🇺 “When they wave back. 👋🐋 The incredible morning we woke up and were greeted by a pod of visiting humpbacks and bottlenose dolphins.” How amazing is this moment? 🌊 📍 Queensland, Australia #visitaustralia ♬ original sound – Visit

Queensland, Australia, is well known for amazing marine wildlife viewing. Whether it’s whale watching off the coast of Hervey Bay or snorkeling with sea turtles at Lady Musgrave Island, marine wildlife encounters are abundant in this beautiful part of the world. Here’s where to go and what you may be able to see if you explore the waters around Australia’s northeastern coast.

Whales around Queensland’s coasts

humpback whale queensland aus - jumping out of water

Photo: Uwe Bergwitz/Shutterstock

Hervey Bay is one of the most popular spots for whale watching in Queensland, and it’s easy to see why. Every year from June to November, humpback whales migrate past this beautiful spot on their way up and down the coast, making it the perfect place to catch a glimpse of the majestic creatures in action.

One of the best places for marine life viewing in Queensland is around Hervey Bay, accessed by boat tours. Most tours have onboard naturalists who can provide educational commentary throughout your trip. Some companies also offer additional activities such as snorkeling or swimming with dolphins during certain months. Well-known whale watching companies in Queensland include Blue Dolphin Marine Tours and Tasman Adventures, which has multiple packages that include whale watching.

Dugongs near Moreton Island

Moreton Island is just off the coast of Brisbane and is home to some of the most unique creatures in all of Queensland: dugongs. Dugongs are marine mammals that live in shallow, coastal waters throughout the tropical and subtropical regions of the Indo-Pacific. In Australia, they’re most commonly found in the Great Barrier Reef and along the northern and western coasts of the continent, including in Queensland. They’re related to manatees and are also often referred to as “sea cows” because of their herbivorous diet and slow, docile behavior.

They can be spotted anywhere near the islands, but they’re known for living in herds around the Moreton Bay Marine Park. The best way to try to see them is to take a dolphin and dugong tour. Dolphin Wild Tours offers a “Dolphin, dugong, and sea turtle safari” and See Moreton offers all-day cruises that include wildlife spotting and kayaking.

Marine life around Queensland

green turtle - queensland marine life viewing

Photo: Marcus Dorado/Shutterstock

For those looking to get even closer to Queensland’s unique marine wildlife, snorkeling is a great way to do just that. With its crystal clear waters and abundant coral reefs, Australia offers some of the best snorkeling spots in the world. It’s an ideal destination for both beginner and experienced snorkelers.

One of the most popular places for aquatic exploration is Lady Musgrave Island, off the coast of Bundaberg. This stunning spot features coral gardens teeming with vibrant sea life, including turtles, reef sharks, and manta rays. You’ll find no shortage of snorkeling or scuba diving day trips to see marine wildlife in Queensland in this region, or you can sleep on a pontoon boat just offshore.

Remember that many of Australia’s animals are rare and endangered, and all marine life are essential to the food web of the oceans. Always prioritize their safety and comfort over your photos. Large fines can (and should) be levied against visitors who don’t follow the rules.