Freedom Ecotours is a premier whale watching experience nestled in the heart of Hervey Bay, Australia, renowned for its proximity to the spectacular Great Barrier Reef and the Sandy Straits Marine Park. As the new custodians of this well-established venture, Mark and Andrea Cooper are thrilled to carry forward a 15-year legacy of unparalleled whale watching adventures.

Our journey began with a passion for the ocean and its magnificent inhabitants. The opportunity to take over stewardship of Freedom III from Keith and Sue Reid in January 2024 presented a dream turned reality, allowing us to merge our love for marine life with a commitment to sustainable tourism. While we are new to the helm, our vision aligns seamlessly with the ethos that has long defined this venture: providing an exceptional, eco-friendly whale watching experience.

Our team, a blend of seasoned experts and enthusiastic new faces, brings a wealth of knowledge about the local marine ecosystem. They are not only skilled navigators and guides but also ardent conservationists, dedicated to preserving the natural beauty and biodiversity of Hervey Bay and the Great Barrier Reef. This continuity in expertise ensures that every expedition aboard Freedom III remains an informative, engaging, and safe experience, just as it has always been.

We operate within the picturesque waters of the Great Barrier Reef and the Sandy Straits Marine Park, a haven for a diverse range of marine life, including the majestic humpback whales. Our tours offer intimate encounters with these gentle giants, allowing our guests to witness their awe-inspiring presence in a respectful and responsible manner.

We are committed to sustaining the high standards of service and environmental stewardship established by our predecessors. We believe in creating memorable experiences that not only delight but also educate our guests about the importance of marine conservation.

Join us as we embark on this exciting new chapter, continuing the legacy of offering unforgettable whale watching experiences, where every expedition is a step towards conserving the ocean’s wonders for generations to come.

  • Freedom is 58ft (17.7m) in length

  • Built in 1990 in Innisfail, Queensland, Australia

  • Powered by 2 x 280hp Fiat Iveco motors

  • 3 toilets (2 marine & 1 household) & shower facilities

  • Large Airconditioned saloon area with comfortable couches & dining table

  • Numerous fridges and freezers

  • Licensed for up to 49 people in the Bay area

  • Hydraulic lift platform

  • Cruising speed of 14-18 knots

  • 3 x 360 degree viewing levels

  • Sleeping quarters for up to 8 people

  • Full galley cooking facilities

  • Flat screen TV

  • Fully licensed bar

  • Free WIFI

  • 2B and 2C Survey(8 people 200 miles offshore, or 20 people 30 miles offshore)

Meet Our Team

mark cooper smiling

Co-owner and Captain

Mark is a co-owner of Freedom Ecotours, and one of the new captains of Freedom. As well as working for many years in the maritime industry, Mark has also been a keen sailor, with over 33,000 miles of ocean passages in the log book, including three Sydney-Hobart races and several other international ocean races. Safety…

Andrea Young smiling

Operations Manager

Andrea is the co-owner of Freedom Ecotours. She is thrilled to be working in ecotourism and to share her love of the natural world with all our guests. She has a degree in Environmental Science, and was as a high school science teacher for several years in Australia. She is also a parenting coach, IT…

Team Keith

Keith owned and operated Freedom III for the last 15 years with his wife Sue. They are now retired but continue to support the new owners (Mark and Andrea). He may still be occasional captain and crew trainer on the Freedom tours. Keith has a varied history including owning and operating restaurants in Hervey Bay…

Photos of Freedom

Scroll right to see more photos.