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Swim with Minke Whales in the Great Barrier Reef

Yacht Experiences

Swim with Minke Whales in Australia

Every June and July in Australia, minke whales follow a migratory channel that takes them to Ribbon Reefs off of Lizard Island. Traveling on the BELUGA explorer yacht, you’ll encounter these inquisitive and majestic mammals while accompanied by dive masters who specialize in whale encounters, and assist a researcher in data gathering, tagging, and whale identification.

When to go:
01 June – 15 July


Reach the marine of Port Douglas—just under an hour’s scenic drive from Cairn’s International Airport and board the explorer yacht, BELUGA.  You’ll receive a warm welcome from her captain and crew who are vastly experienced in conservation in the waters of the Great Barrier Reef.

After settling in, enjoy a delicious lunch with your expert minke whale dive guides. They will prepare you for the journey and what to expect from your forthcoming close encounter with the whales.

Your first encounter could happen after lunch, as you arrive at the Great Barrier Reef. Fully briefed, you’ll dive or snorkel at Steve’s Bommie where, besides minke whales, you can also expect to see myriad marine life including rays, schools of trevally, and nudibranchs.


Your next stop is Ribbon Reefs—deep into minke whale territory. It’s a superb spot to hope for an eye-to-eye encounter with one of these gentle giants.

There’s also the opportunity to travel by BELUGA’s 40ft chase boat, MINKE, for some sustainable reef fishing. Alternatively, get to grip with the water toys on offer, chosen for their usefulness in reef exploration.

Onto another day of world-renowned dive and snorkel spots, in this case, Cod Hole and Shark Alley. With one eye always on the lookout for minke whales, you’ll also see giant cod fish, whitetip, and blacktip reef sharks.

As the stars begin to poke through the dusk, you’ll relax on a secluded beach for a surfside barbecue prepared by the BELUGA team. Return to your yacht by tender, marveling at the kingfish and lemon sharks curious about BELUGA’s underwater lights.


The following morning, discover Lizard Island’s 24 beaches or hike to Cook’s Lookout—the island’s highest point—for a view once enjoyed by the famous captain himself.

Afterward, take MINKE to the outer reefs in the north and try to catch sailfish and mackerel, or enjoy an exploratory dive for a last encounter with majestic minke.

This yacht expedition is a rare opportunity for a once-in-a-lifetime encounter working with the limited migratory window offered by the minke whales’ habits.

This yacht experience starts from 99,000 AUD for a 5-night / 6-day charter for up to eight guests.

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Discover more about motor yacht BELUGA.

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