Once past NSW you enter the tropical state of Queensland. Whales love the warm waters of this state, which means there are ample opportunities up and down the coastline to spot them. Even when you are based in cities such as Gold Coast and Brisbane if you head out to the headland you can often be lucky enough to catch them gliding by.
Otherwise a great option is to jump on a Brisbane Whale Watching tour – based in Redcliffe. This Eco Certified Ecotourism company is one of only two vessels allowed into the pristine waters of the marine national park for whale watching.
From mid July humpback whales begin arriving in Hervey Bay and they often remain here until November before heading back south again. So not surprisingly, Hervey Bay is known as the whale watching capital of the world.
The reason why Hervey Bay is so popular is that the waters are sheltered by Fraser Island so it’s a great place to stop for a rest and play, especially with their young. The very best time to visit Hervey Bay is from early August to late September when the whales can be seen with their calves and are at their most playful and plentiful.
So if you are going to dip into your pocket for a tour, Hervey Bay is a great place to do just that. You can check out Whale Watch Hervey Bay to help find you the best tour to suit your needs. And because they are so relaxed and in such high numbers, the inquisitive humpbacks often come close to the vessels so you can be pretty sure to get a close up view of these gentle giants.
The other pretty special thing that you can be witness to is the “love song” of the humpbacks. It seems that all humpbacks within a pod will sing the same song at certain times, and then they all make changes to the song during their mating season. Then, cleverly, the members of the pod remember the song sung the previous September when they start singing again, for mating, the next June.
No one is sure whether it’s simply mother and calf communicating or actual love songs, but when the song is heard by one of the whale watching vessels through a hydrophone, they will amplify it though their radios for all passengers to hear.
Whilst we would all love to spend a few months each year in and around the Whitsundays, due to their shallow, sheltered, warm waters the Whitsundays make ideal calving and nursery waters for newborn whales. You can see humpbacks around the islands and on the odd occasion they have been seen on the Great Barrier Reef too, playing with their young.
There tend not to be many formal whale watching tours in this area, but you can generally sight the breaching and playing between mothers and calves, on many of the day tours that operator in these waters during the winter months.
As an alternative, you can get a completely different perspective of the gentle giants and see them from the air if you jump on a seaplane or helicopter scenic flight.
Another great place to spot both humpbacks and the dwarf minke whale is Cairns. Numerous whales head to Cairns warm waters in July and August so there are many opportunities to see them if you’re here at this time of year. There are also many tour operators who will take you aboard their vessel to see the whales from above the water. However for the more adventurous you can jump on an Advanced Eco Certified Silversonic Cruise and be dropped down a rope into the sea (maximum two ropes at a time) and let the dwarf minke whales come to check you out! Imagine it!
If you are PADI certified and keen to spend longer underwater with the dwarf minke whales when they are in residence in the Ribbon Reefs, then make sure you book a 3 day tour (living on board the boat) with the Spirit of Freedom. Advanced Eco Certified these tours will not only let you swim with the minkes in season, but see potato cod, take you by some of the most spectacular coral shelves where you’ll glide amongst an army marine life painted in every colour of the rainbow.