3 Day Humpback Whale Research Expedition

Experience of a Lifetime.

From $485.00 Duration: 3 Days (approx.) Location: Runaway Bay, QLD

The team around Dr. Olaf Meynecke from Humpbacks & Highrises welcomes you to the experience of a lifetime. You are about to join world-class research and help to protect whales through our Healthy Whales research and monitoring program. Learn about humpback whales and other marine life including dolphins and turtles on the east coast of Australia and visit the fastest growing region in Australia.


  • 3 days of research activity
  • 2 days of on-water survey and unique sampling activities using drones, tagging and skin sampling
  • Limited to only 6 guests
  • Laboratory work and presentations
  • Optional dorm accommodation for 2 or 3 nights (see booking page for options)
  • Private rooms available at additional cost (see booking page)
  • Optional team BBQ attendance on Saturday night ($25 extra)



In the past years more and more whales have stranded as a result of starvation or with injuries.
The underlying reasons and trends of this recently noticed issue is unknown. Through Dr. Olaf’s research over the past few years he was able to link certain environmental conditions such as increased water temperature to changes in humpback whale migration. Such shifts likely result in longer migration times and consequently in deterred health.



You will be able to assist Dr. Olaf to determine the causes such as shifts in response to ocean warming and find ways to determine whale health using new and exciting techniques and developing new whale friendly methods. You will be helping with the collection of important behaviour data, monitoring data, health assessments and assist with mucous collection, remote aerial surveys, skin sampling and tagging. If you want to learn more about the complex life of a humpback whale, Dr. Olaf encourages you to read some of HHR publications and other material that describes humpback whale behaviour.

Dr. Olaf Meynecke will be your researcher on this expedition. After living and researching in south-east Queensland for the past 12 years he has gained a detailed understanding of the surrounding marine environment and he is happy to share his extensive knowledge with you. Dr. Olaf, his research assistant and your captain will ensure that you have an amazing and safe experience with some of the largest animals on earth whilst ensuring their future wellbeing. You will get closer to whales than anyone else and develop a true understanding of whales.



The research vessel is a semi inflatable, 6m commercial vessel with shade canopy and powerful engine. It is ideal for research activities due to it’s compact size. We provide courtesy, waterproof spray jackets.


  • 2 days of on-water whale research activity onboard our vessel
  • Talks and workshops with Dr. Olaf
  • Snacks (light lunch) and hot drinks on the boat


  • Travel to and from the Gold Coast i.e. flights, train fares, bus fares etc.
  • Accommodation (available at additional cost. See extras page)
  • Meals other than snacks on the boat.
  • Dinner on Friday and Sunday night
  • Personal spending money


  • Seaworthy clothes and shoes (prepare to get wet)
  • Sun-protective clothes including a hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Sea sickness medication
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Dry bag to keep personal belongings on the boat
  • Water proof cases for mobile phones and cameras



Humpbacks & High-Rises is an independent not for profit research organisation dedicated to the research and protection of whales and dolphins in south-east Queensland, Australia. We focus our research and adaptation strategies on coastal impacts caused by urbanisation for the benefits of marine mammals and our coastal community.


  • A detailed itinerary will be emailed to you once you completed your booking. The below dot points will provide you an overview of what to expect.
  • You will arrive on Friday lunch time and attend the meet and greet session and presentations at Griffith University and also check into your accommodation.
  • Saturday and Sunday you will spend on the water, conducting sampling and survey activities, followed by some laboratory work preparation.
  • The research concludes on Sunday afternoon and you have the option to spend an extra night and participate in activities on Monday morning.
  • A typical day of full sampling will start at breakfast at 7:30am then preparing equipment for the day’s activities.
  • The team will stay as one group during activities
 but different tasks will be rotated over the course of the expedition to members of the team. You will return to your hotel around 5:00pm each evening, giving you time to shower and relax before making your way for dinner.
  • Some nights after dinner you maybe be asked to do additional laboratory work with the samples collected throughout the day and/or to analyse the data. You will also have free time during some of the evenings when you can relax and unwind after a hard day’s.


  • The full trip fee is required the time of booking
  • Please read the terms and conditions on the check-out page in particular our cancellation policy

Why are you waiting? Book now below and enjoy an amazing experience.

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