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Ultimate Dolphin Watching Guide in Brisbane

Ultimate Dolphin Watching Guide in Brisbane

The Queensland waters are abundant with marine life, and one of the creatures you can spot frolicking near the surface are dolphins! 

If you’ve been wanting to dive deep into the captivating world of dolphin watching, then you’re in for an unforgettable adventure! 

There are plenty of opportunities near Brisbane to see dolphins up close or catch them from natural lookout points. To make the most of your experience, check out our ultimate dolphin watching guide in Brisbane!

Where can you spot dolphins in Brisbane?

You can spot dolphins from Brisbane’s nearby islands such as Moreton Island and North Stradbroke Island. There are also dolphin and whale watching opportunities outside of Brisbane if you’re willing to drive further to the Sunshine Coast or Gold Coast. 

In Queensland’s coastal waters, you can spot three species of dolphins. This includes the Indo-Pacific bottlenose, snubfin, and humpback dolphins. 

The bottlenose dolphin is the most commonly seen among the three. You might be able to spot them on surf breaks, riding the bow waves of moving boats, or feeding in the waters near rocky coastal cliffs. 

When can you spot dolphins in Brisbane?

Dolphins can be spotted all-year round in Brisbane and they are most active in the morning and evening. During humpback whale migration season from June to October, you will most likely see dolphins swimming with whales as well. 

Dolphin Watching Tours in Brisbane

If you wish to see your flippered friends up close, you can join dolphin watching tours where you can learn more about them from expert guides. Here are some of the tours we recommend! 


Location: Newport Marina, 158 Griffith Rd, Newport QLD 4020

Contact: [email protected] / 0477576311

Dolphin Wild Island Cruises offers several tours from Brisbane to Moreton Island where you can also get to swim, snorkel, and discover shipwrecks and amazing marine life. 

The Brisbane Day Cruise and Eco Marine Safari tour will take you on a day of adventure and is priced at $159. 

The tour includes an eco safari cruise with commentary, snorkel equipment, and a guided snorkel tour through the Tangalooma wrecks. What’s more, you won’t have to worry about food as morning tea, lunch, and afternoon tea are also included. 

You’ll also get to have free beach time on Moreton Island before heading back to Redcliffe. 

It’s a great idea for a day trip near Brisbane, especially if you’d like to see marine life such as dolphins, sea turtles, dugongs, and even whales during migration season.  

Another cruise that they offer is the Moreton Bay Sunset Cruise. This is a 2-hour sunset cruise with cocktails, grazing platters, and live music that you’ll enjoy while soaking in the sunset on Moreton Bay. 


Location: 17 Rivergate Pl, Murarrie QLD 4172 

Contact: [email protected] / (07) 3153 1069

See Moreton allows you to have the freedom and flexibility to enjoy your Moreton Island adventure at your own pace. You can choose to snorkel and explore the wrecks, spot marine life as you sit back and relax on the boat, or sip some cocktails from their bar. 

The tour package price is at $199 for adults and $159 for kids. They also offer a family package for $557 for 2 adults and 2 kids. 

Their package includes optional transfers from Brisbane or Gold Coast, the cruise to Moreton Island, tropical lunch buffet, snorkeling tour, marine discovery, and fish feeding. You’ll also get to enjoy free island time and paddle boarding. 


Location: Tangalooma, Moreton Island QLD 4025

Contact: 1300 652 250

Tangalooma Island Resort on Moreton Island has several tour packages available, including adventures on land, water, and even air! 

Their day trip packages include Beach Day Trip, Desert Safari, Marine Discovery, Snorkel the Wrecks, and Whale Watching Day Cruises. 

If you want to see dolphins and other marine life, you should choose Marine Discovery and Snorkel the Wrecks. And when it’s humpback whale migration season, we highly recommend joining the whale watching tour! 

The Marine Discovery Day Cruise includes a scenic catamaran cruise from Brisbane to Moreton Island, full local commentary on board, your island lunch voucher, and drinks. 

The package is priced at $145 which also gives you resort access for the day. Resort access allows guests to enjoy its amenities such as the pools, bar, and lounge area. 

What’s unique about Tangalooma Island Resort is that it has one of the world’s longest-running dolphin feeding programs. They’re dedicated to researching and gathering data on dolphin health, behavior, and ecology. 

Resort and day trip tour guests are the only ones allowed to join the evening feeding programs that are guided by eco rangers. Just note that dolphin attendance is not always guaranteed as they only come at their own accord. 

Additionally, the resort provides ATV Quad Bike day cruises. For an extra fee, you also have the option to add a Sunset Cocktail Cruise in your Marine Discovery package along with a Sea to Sky helicopter tour. 


Location: 12 Fraser Road, Northgate QLD 4013

Contact: [email protected] / +61 7 3517 4952

River to Bay gives you an opportunity to explore not only Queensland’s pristine waters and rich marine life, but Brisbane’s city gems as well. They even have wildlife spotting tours that include fresh oysters and champagne!

If you’re up for an adventure cruise, you can choose the Tangalooma Wreck Snorkel Tour. The tour costs $175 and includes pickup and drop-off at Howard Smith Wharves, snorkel equipment, lunch, and wi-fi on board. 

For a scenic cruise down the river, you can avail of their Sunset Rapid River Ride or their Brewery Tours where you’ll get to try the best brews Brisbane has to offer. 

If you love oysters, you have the option to choose their Champagne and Oyster Tour from Brisbane to Moreton Island. 

Along the way, you’ll get to do wildlife spotting with a tour guide who will share some commentary on the different marine life you’ll encounter. This includes dolphins, sea turtles, dugongs, and stingrays.

Upon arrival on the island, you’ll then be treated to the freshest oysters paired with champagne! Guests will also get to learn about oyster farming in Moreton Bay. 


Location: Noosa Heads, Rainbow Beach, Double Island Point 

Contact: 0408 738 192

If you’re up for a road trip heading north to the Sunshine Coast, then you should join Epic Ocean Adventures in Noosa for a unique dolphin watching experience! 

Instead of riding a boat, you’ll sit on a kayak while spotting pods of bottlenose dolphins in the water and even humpback whales during migration season. 

You’ll also get to encounter different sea turtle species, as well as sting rays, manta rays, and soldier crabs. 

Their Guided Kayaking Tour is priced at $159 which also includes a cable ferry ride to Noosa North Shore and Tewantin, Double Island Point, Rainbow Beach, and more. 

The tour also includes commentary during your marine life encounters. Of course, some light snacks and water are provided as well.  

Apart from their kayak tour, you can also book surf lessons on Double Island Point, where you can safely learn and ride Australia’s longest wave! They also offer Stand Up Paddleboarding Tours and Private Tours. 

If you’re planning on heading to Noosa, we recommend staying overnight or even a few days as there’s so much to explore in the area! This includes the Noosa Everglades, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Land-Based Dolphin Watching 

Land-Based Dolphin Watching

The Southeast Queensland waters are teeming with marine life, so you don’t even have to ride a boat to spot ocean wildlife. You can head to places near Brisbane that are ideal for land-based dolphin watching. 

First is Cape Moreton, which is the northernmost tip of Moreton Island. Cape Moreton’s iconic lighthouse can be found on this headland where you can lay down a picnic blanket, take in the views, and wait for our flippered friends to say hello. 

Next is Point Lookout on North Stradbroke Island which is Queensland’s most easterly point. You can find dolphins enjoying the surf off the rocky headland, sea turtles swimming about, or even tail-slapping humpback whales!

If you drive down south from Brisbane to Gold Coast, Point Danger in Coolangatta gives stunning views of the ocean with pods of dolphins typically spotted all-year round. It’s also a great whale watching spot from late May to early November. 

What’s more, a popular surf spot, Duranbah Beach, can be viewed from the headland, so you can also watch surfers catch some waves. 

Land-based dolphin watching is a great option if you don’t have the time to join a tour. Your itinerary will be more flexible, too, and you’ll have more time to explore the surrounding areas. 

Can you swim with dolphins in Brisbane

There are currently no tours offering swimming with dolphins in Brisbane, and this is a deliberate choice rooted in ethical and safety concerns. Interacting with dolphins in the wild can disrupt their natural behavior and pose risks to both humans and animals.

Swimming with these marine mammals can cause agitation or aggressiveness especially when subjected to forced interactions. 

Instead, tours near Brisbane focus on responsible and sustainable experiences, such as guided snorkeling tours where you can spot dolphins in the water. 

These tours allow participants to encounter diverse marine life while maintaining a safe distance from the creatures. 

Unlike forced interactions, this approach ensures a more authentic and harmonious experience with the marine environment.

While swimming with dolphins may not be offered, these guided tours provide the chance to appreciate and observe these fascinating creatures in their natural habitat. 

Tips to Enjoy Your Dolphin Watching Experience

  • If you wish to learn more about dolphins, it’s best to join dolphin watching tours that include a guided commentary. 
  • Pack for a beach outing. If you’re going swimming or snorkeling, remember to pack a swimsuit, rash guard, towel, extra clothes, sunscreen, and flip flops.
  • Bring motion sickness medication just in case you get seasick.
  • Book the tour beforehand to guarantee your slot. 
  • When going snorkeling, always make it a point to stay close to the group and your guide. 
  • Follow safety guidelines and proper behavior when it comes to marine life encounters. 
  • Be mindful of your trash and dispose of it properly. 
  • Enjoy the experience!

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