Chill and thrill is the way to go at Noosa, and Noosa Oceanrider is the best way to do both. I won’t be jumping waves today, instead I’m going on a dolphin watching adventure off Noosa’s pristine coast. If it was whale season, I would probably be getting a side order of whales as well. Noosa Oceanrider offers a mix of rides, from adrenaline wave jumping to more sedate dolphin spotting adventures. I arrive at the Noosa Marina to meet our skipper Nick who has been operating the boat and tours since Noosa Oceanrider started in 2001.
The boat itself is impressive with two powerful engines and room for 12 people sitting on a saddle type seat two abreast, giving everyone a window seat. Ladies will be more comfortable in pants rather than a skirt or dress as passengers need to straddle the seat like they’re riding a horse. Another must have, especially in winter, is a jumper, sunscreen and some lip balm as the cold, speed, wind and sun is more effective than a skin peel at the local beauty parlour. With lifejackets donned and everyone comfortably seated, we cast off for hopefully a date with a dolphin or two.
Nick makes his way down the Noosa River to the Noosa Bar, which isn’t the place to have a G&T but the breakwater to Laguna Bay, and the Coral Sea beyond. It’s the bar that gets the heart rate up a little with a few waves giving us a nice bounce or two but being a very calm day things quickly settle down for our first scenic stop just off Noosa Beach. With calm seas and stunning blue skies, we gaze at Noosa Beach and its collection of hotels and restaurants before beginning our quest for dolphins.
Nick tells us what to look out for with the local dolphins and gives us some information about the coastline we will be travelling past. Luckily, we have a beautiful day and the green trees of the Noosa National Park and rocky coastline are stunning. We quickly pass Dolphin Point, with no dolphins sadly, and arrive at the Hells Gate rock formation. Nick stops below the cliff face and we wave at passing walkers following the trail through the National Park. He tells us about the area’s geology and the bird and sea life that call Noosa home.
We power our way into Alexandria Bay, a prime dolphin fishing ground, with its stunning white sandy beach and lush bush backdrop. This is also a nudist beach but as it’s winter there is no sign of anyone nuding up (or should that be down?). We soon spot our first dolphins and Nick has us close enough to see them clearly before they get hungry and dash off to find some more tasty fish.
Nick explains that although the dolphins are accustomed to the boat they are a little fickle and will play with the boat one day and be very elusive the next. “We never feed the dolphins as they’re wild and it’s not a good idea to interfere with nature,” he says, as we power away again for our next stop off Sunshine Beach.
As the sun glints off the hillside above Sunshine Beach, Nick explains that in the 70s this area was mostly bush with blocks of land selling for a few thousand dollars. These days a house will set you back around $10 million. For that money you get a view of the ocean and whales stopping by in winter to say hello.
We don’t have any luck with whales as it is too early for whale season but a friendly manta ray pops up to say hello. He very kindly circles the boat so everyone can get a photo before slipping deeper into the water and swimming off. Nick soon has us heading back to Alexandria Bay for some more dolphin watching and a very fun wave ride, albeit a gentle one.
As we come through the Noosa Bar once more, we wave at paddle boarders and fellow boaties heading out to enjoy the fabulous morning. Back at the marina we remove our life jackets and enjoy a stretch of the legs after we get out of the boat. Overall, this is a great and affordable tour which offers a unique and visually stunning look at Noosa. Even if the dolphins and whales remain elusive, you will still have plenty of fun on this trip.
Disclosure: The writer travelled to Noosa as a guest of Noosa Tourism.
Heading to the Sunshine Coast? We’ve got lots of helpful information to help make this your best trip yet including accommodation reviews for Eumarella Shores Noosa Lake Retreat Review, Oceans Mooloolaba, Rumba Beach Resort, Seahaven Noosa, King Parrot Retreat, On the Beach Noosa, Sofitel Noosa Pacific Resort and Peppers Resort & Villas Review. We’ve also reviewed Australia Zoo Review, Kanu Kapers Everglades Tours, SEA LIFE Mooloolaba, Sails Restaurant Noosa, Noosa helicopter tours, Noosa Oceanrider, Noosa Dreamboats, and Betty’s Burgers Noosa. Don’t miss our tips for Things to do on the Sunshine Coast, Noosa Things to Do for Active Travellers, The Best Restaurants at Mooloolaba, The Ultimate Guide to Noosa, Things to do at Mooloolaba, Healthy Noosa Holidays, Where to Find the Best Views on Hastings Street, and How to Plan Your Noosa Honeymoon.