The Whales are back and today heralds the official launch of the 2019 Whale Watching Season on the Sunshine Coast and the official christening of the new-look Whale One, which has just undergone a complete makeover.
This year will see an expected 33,000 humpback whales migrate through Sunshine Coast waters, which will attract about 25,000 locals and tourists alike to take a closer look and participate in a whale watching or swim with whales experience.
Sunreef Mooloolaba owner Dan Hart said in preparation for the season this year, the iconic Sunshine Coast whale watching vessel Whale One has undergone a complete makeover. Over the past few months, the 20-metre catamaran was striped back to bare metal, and completely refurbished.
“Whale One has been an icon on the Sunshine Coast, so she totally deserved a complete makeover to bring her right up to date and we are super excited for everyone to come and see how she looks,” Dan said.
“She now features a sleek black hull and inside she has been completely re-fitted with new seating, tables and two new bars, one in the main saloon and one on the upper deck.”
To celebrate the beginning of the season, Councillor Jason O’Pray will unveil a new Wharf Mooloolaba ceremonial bell which he will ring to officially start the 2019 Sunshine Coast Whale Watching Season.
“Whale Watching season is an economic driver for the tourism sector, during what is traditionally a quieter period.
“It brings in visitors, who spend not just on whale watching but also on accommodation, hospitality and other attractions, which in turn creates employment and I just love it!” Cr O’Pray said.
Whale One will also be christened, with Sunreef’s Dan Hart and Member for Maroochydore Fiona Simpson to be appointed her god parents, before everyone went aboard for the maiden sunset cruise aboard the new-look Whale One.
Fiona Simpson said she was very proud to be a God Parent for Whale One, on behalf of the Sunshine Coast community.
“Whale One has taken hundreds of thousands of people whale watching since she was first launched in 2007, and now with this great investment by Sunreef Mooloolaba and the Hart family, she will help even more people get closer to the whales during their annual migration.
“Sunreef Mooloolaba introduced Australia’s first Swim with Humpback Whales experience in 2014 and with this new investment it is clear that they are committed to the development of tourism on the Sunshine Coast.”
Dan Hart said the whale watching season would run through until 2nd November, with the Swim with Whales season to run from 6th July to 22nd October.
He said as part of Sunreef’s commitment to marine conservation, they will again be working closely with researchers from the University of the Sunshine Coast to find out more about the humpback whale species, with two spots on each Whale Watching and Swim with Whales boats reserved for their use.
To find out more or book your Whale Watching or Swim with Whales experience, visit www.sunreef.com.au or call 07 5444 5656.