Indigenous whale watching tours to cruise the humpback highway
Australia’s first Indigenous-owned and operated whale-watching tours, Yalingbila Tours, will cruise Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island) waters from next month in an exceptional cultural and wildlife experience.
The Quandamooka people, an Australian Aboriginal group that primarily live on North Stradbroke Island, Moreton Island and the greater Moreton Bay region are the custodians of land and sea and take great pride in caring for country and its unique flora and fauna.
Quandamooka Elders, Songmen and storytellers, together with a Land and Sea ranger will guide the Yalingbila Tour experience, sharing their people’s ancient connection to humpback whales, marine life and the land.
To be operated by the not-for-profit Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation (QYAC), the new tours are the first whale ecotours to launch from the heart of Brisbane city, making it easier for families and tourists to cruise the Bay.
QYAC CEO Cameron Costello said it was a globally sought-after experience to witness whales at play and learn Indigenous culture.
“This will be a truly memorable trip with storytellers of the world’s oldest living culture telling their story of the whales, while guiding guests out to see them,” he said.
“It is a unique Australian cultural and wildlife experience.”
Quandamooka Songman Buangan (Joshua Walker), the grandson of renowned poet and activist Oodgeroo (Kath Walker), is among the guides.
He said whales, known as Yalingbila, were one of the Quandamooka people’s two ancestral kinship groups.
“There is a strong bond between our people and the whales,” he said.
“We have been watching the whales go past Minjerribah for more than 20,000 years. Come and join us.” An estimated 28,000 humpbacks pass within 10km of the coast off Minjerribah during their migration from June to November. Its waters have been dubbed the humpback highway.
Information collected on the tours will also contribute to global whale conservation, research and education in a partnership with the University of Queensland.
From mid-July to October, QYAC will operate a 24-metre, 120-person capacity SeaLink Rocket catamaran twice weekly from Brisbane’s South Bank for the full-day tours.
While travelling along the Brisbane River and into Moreton Bay’s waters, guests will have the chance to participate in cultural activities such as weaving and hear the indigenous history of the Brisbane and Moreton Bay regions.
There is also the opportunity to see dolphins at play, turtles, manta ray, stingrays and, if lucky, a dugong.
Tours also depart from Redland City’s Raby Bay each Thursday and Friday with stop at Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island)on route, and from Brisbane City’s South Bank each Saturday and Sunday.
The vessel, is perfectly designed for viewing and is suitable for families with young children and are all-access. There are dining options onboard.
From Brisbane, family pricing is $550 for two adults and two children. An adult ticket is $165 and children five to 16 are $105. Children four and younger are free.
From Redlands and Stradbroke Island’s Dunwich, families are $430, adults are $135 and children five to 16 years are $105.
For bookings and information, please visit www.yalingbilatours.com.au or call 07 3415 2816 Option 2