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The Whales Have Arrived in Hervey Bay

18 Jul 2019

There is no better place in the world to spot a whale than at Queensland’s Hervey Bay.

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In 2019, the World Cetacean Alliance (WCA) made it official when in recognition of the region’s responsible whale watching practices, they confirmed Hervey Bay as one of the world’s first Whale Heritage Sites along with The Bluff in South Africa.

Where to see whales in Hervey Bay

Whale watching in hervey bay queensland

Settling in the waters of the Great Sandy Straits, which lie between Hervey Bay and Fraser Island at the southern end of Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef, these gentle giants of the ocean can travel as far as 5,000 kilometres from the icy but food-rich waters of Antarctica to the warmer waters of northern Australia. 

Arriving after what can be a three-month journey in May and then staying until late November, they mate, calve and play with their newborns in these waters, providing breathtaking viewing opportunities on any number of whale-watching tours available.

Whale watching tours are a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with these majestic mammals, and whether it’s a full or half day tour, the experience of being in the same space as these huge creatures is guaranteed to leave you in awe.

Looking for Accommodation in Hervey Bay?

Set on 8 acres of subtropical gardens, Discovery Parks - Fraser Street, Hervey Bay is a secluded oasis near the world's largest sand island, Fraser Island. 

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Cabin accommodation is a specialty here, with numerous options available to suit all group sizes. Coming with air-conditioning and ceiling fans as standard, there are also luxurious ensuite bathrooms and roomy shaded decks on offer.

For anyone looking to experience a slice of glamping luxury, the Deluxe Safari Tents here are award-winning. Enjoy camping next to Turtle Lake with the added convenience of a built-in kitchen, hotel-style bathroom and private BBQ deck.


The best time to go whale watching

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Apart from the sheer size of these animals, seeing them play with their young in open water is an incredible site. 

Nature and wildlife tours take place between July and November every year and should be considered a rite of passage for every Australian. 

Because Hervey Bay gets busy during whale season it’s important to book your accommodation early and avoid disappointment. When it comes to whale watching cruises, there are multiple tour operators and agencies offering tours depending on the type of experience you’re after. 

Some provide a larger cruiser with multiple viewing platforms, while others offer more intimate experiences with boutique options like sailing catamarans. For the bold, there’s the option of swimming with the whales - a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Where is Hervey Bay?

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Hervey Bay is a quiet, coastal town about 3.5 hours drive north of Brisbane at the gateway to the Southern Great Barrier Reef on what is also known as Queensland’s Fraser Coast.

Known worldwide for its whale sightings, the sheltered section of ocean between the village of Hervey Bay and Fraser Island, a protein-rich body of water known as the Great Sandy Strait, acts as something of a creche for humpback, southern right and sperm whales, to mention a few of the species that make the annual round-trip migration. 

This is where protective mother whales bring their young calves up the coast to warmer waters and teach them how to be a grown up in the relatively safe harbour.

Did you know?

Whale watching in hervey bay humpback

Humpback whales are the most acrobatic of all the whale species.

Between May and November - if you dare to venture out to their temporary homes - the chances are good that you’ll witness these massive creatures leap, roll, slap, and generally have a 'whale of a time' in their winter getaway. Cameras ready!

What to wear while whale watching

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It’s important to ‘look the part’ no matter what type of adventure you’re on, but just remember that temperatures can drop when you’re out at sea, even on a boat.

Being properly dressed and prepared can often determine how much you enjoy the experience, so what exactly is the proper attire for whale watching?

Common sense should tell you that the key to success here is waterproof layers. Going out on the ocean is best accomplished with something lightweight, waterproof  and comfortable up top and the same when it comes to a pair of pants (if you have them). Closed-toe shoes with adequate grip are also a must, so no flip-flops or sandals please.


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