Whale watching cruise + 4WD tour of Fraser Island
Stay Where the Whales Play! WHALES + 4WD TOUR ON FRASER ISLAND Stay where the…Read More
Stay Where the Whales Play! WHALES + 4WD TOUR ON FRASER ISLAND Stay where the…Read More
Specialising in whale and dolphin watching, Whalesong Cruises provide so much more with ‘A Taste…Read More
Be one of the few, not the many, to experience their award winning Exclusive Full…Read More
Boat Club whale watch and adventure cruises provide premier marine tours and cruises, departing year…Read More
Quick Cat II was operated by Brian and Jill Perry for 30 years who founded…Read More
Experience the unique and untouched remote west coast of Fraser Island (K’gari) and enjoy up…Read More
Blue Dolphin Marine Tours is Hervey Bay’s longest running and only award winning sailing tour…Read More
Blue Dolphin Marine Tours is Hervey Bay’s leading eco-tour operator. Whales, Dolphins and Sunset Sails…Read More
Spirit of Hervey Bay is your best choice for a first rate whale watching experience….Read More
Experience the trip of a lifetime aboard the luxurious and fast 20 metre catamaran, Tasman…Read More
An international NGO and world ecotourism leader, Pacific Whale Foundation has been working to save…Read More
Hervey Bay’s premium mid-sized whale watching and cruise boat, with a strong focus on ecological…Read More
Freedom III is a 17 metre Power Cat perfectly suited to luxury whale watching in…Read More
Whalesong is a modern, environmentally friendly and multi-functional boat, providing tours out of Hervey Bay…Read More
The Hervey Bay Dive Centre is Hervey Bay’s premier marine and dive tour operator. -Tourism…Read More
Experience an unforgettable up-close wildlife encounter with the majestic humpback whales, on a Fraser Island…Read More
Three decades of scientific study has proven that Hervey Bay is unique along Australia’s east coast as a whale stop-over. Fluke identification has confirmed many of the same humpbacks return each year – staying for up to two weeks to rest and nurse their young calves. It is thought this recuperation time is essential for calves and younger humpback whales in preparing for the Southern Ocean and the serious predators they will encounter.
For a large part of the season Hervey Bay becomes a “whale nursery”, making whale watching in our waters most special. Many describe coming face to face for the first time with these graceful 40-tonne giants of the deep ocean as a spiritual experience. Because they are relaxed and not migrating, the whales are just as interested in the whale watchers as the watchers are in them – sometimes spending up to an hour fin-slapping, spy-hopping and breaching close to boats.
Hervey Bay is justly proud of the fact it was the first location chosen as a Whale Heritage Site by the World Cetacean Alliance. Hervey Bay pipped Durban in South Africa, which was the second site chosen, in a field of candidate sites including Vancouver Island in Canada, Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand, Mosaic Jurubatiba, Brazil and Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica.
The World Heritage Site accreditation scheme for whale-watching destinations was initiated by the London-based World Cetacean Alliance in 2016, to recognise the best global destinations for responsible whale and dolphin watching.
To qualify, a Whale Heritage Site has to show active engagement by their communities and tourists with marine life through art, music, science, education and celebratory events, while at the same time recognise the culture and heritage surrounding cetaceans in the local habitat.
As well as ensuring respectful human-whale interactions, a Whale Heritage Site has to show active engagement by their communities and tourists with marine life through art, music, science, education and celebratory events.
What WHS recognition means to Hervey Bay is best summed up in the words of World Cetacean Alliance honorary president, Jean-Michel Cousteau, who said Whale Heritage Sites would become the gold standard for responsible whale watching destination worldwide “as they have so much more to offer, by interweaving natural and cultural elements and placing communities at their very heart” .
“These sites will become places where people respect, celebrate and protect cetaceans and their habitats long into the future.”
As well as amazing personal experiences on the water and through observing the various art pieces and sculptures paying tribute to the humpbacks, visitors can learn more about the these beautiful creatures at the Fraser Coast Discovery Sphere in Pialba, a centre dedicated to native flora and fauna in The Great Sandy Strait, including humpback whales. The Discovery Sphere features a 30-tonne statue of one of our region’s most beloved whales, Nala.
Whales are also celebrated annually during the month-long Hervey Bay Whale Festival, which features events like the Blessing of the Fleet, the Whale Parade and Concert, and the Paddle Out for Whales.
Each year, thousands of gentle, stunning humpback whales stop in and stay awhile here on the Fraser Coast. So we think it’s fitting that we show them off! With a new action-packed whale season starting soon, check out the photos below to see why your whale watching trip for 2020 should be right here in our backyard!
When you visit, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram and
#whalesherveybay and #visitfrasercoast
We love showing off the Hervey Bay whale fleet! Before the Covid-19 shut-down, some of the fleet were interviewed. Check out the video below showcasing why these operators love their job and why you should experience whale watching in Hervey Bay! Stay tuned for the next video release, coming soon!
The Hervey Bay whale fleet is the most professional and advanced in Australia, helped by its operating location in the Great Sandy Marine Park.Not only was Hervey Bay the first location in Australia to offer commercial whale watching from boats, in 1986, but the industry was instrumental with the Queensland Government, conservation organisations and researchers in setting up the then Hervey Bay Marine Park in 1989, to protect the migrating humpback whales.
The cetacean population had diminished because of large-scale whaling and poor conservation practices and pioneer Hervey Bay whale watch operators were at the forefront of the recovery campaign, working with stakeholders to set up a sustainable code of conduct for whale-human interactions that has stood the test of 30 years of whale watching and been copied by other whale destinations around the globe.
Today’s Hervey Bay whale fleet operates in the renamed Great Sandy Marine Park under strict regulations, aimed at ensuring the thousands of whales that come into Hervey Bay each year are protected – and that they keep coming back in greater numbers.
The Fraser Coast is identified as one of the most important destinations in Australia for migrating whales because unlike all other areas of the coast, it is a place where whales break their 10,000km return migration journey between the tropics and Antarctica to rest for up to two weeks, supporting their young calves.
In 2019 this area, covering about 20 percent of the 6000 sq km Great Sandy Marine Park, in a line from Rooney Point to Burrum Heads and south to below Big Woody Island, was declared the world’s first Whale Heritage Site.
The marine park, including the new WHS designated area, is managed by the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service under the Queensland Government Department of Environment and Science. The marine area is part of the wider Great Sandy Biosphere, awarded reserve status by UNESCO ion 2009
Each year, up to 8000 humpback whales pause their migration journey when they reach Fraser Coast waters. Like homing pigeons, these giant mammals purposefully head to our marine backyard, breaking their journey from the breeding grounds in the tropics to the feeding grounds in Antarctica, to relax, play and socialise in the sheltered waters in the lee Fraser Island’s western coast. Here the waters are warmer, shallower and predator-free..
Twenty years of scientific research has proven that Hervey Bay is the only genuine stopover in what is one of the longest mammal migration journeys on the planet – a 10,000km round trip from the southern ocean to the tropics and back again.
In all other whale watching locations in the open ocean on Australia’s east coast, the whales are travelling either north or south – a difference which enables Hervey Bay operators to offer a premium whale watching experience.
Thousands of Humpback whales pass our coast each year during their annual 10,000km return journey from the feeding grounds in the Antarctic to the breeding grounds in tropical waters to our north – the longest mammal migration on earth.
Along the way Humpback mothers, pregnant during the previous season, give birth to calves and these juveniles often ride in the slipstream of their parent to keep pace. It is a constant journey, either north or south, depending on the time of the season. But there is one special place on Australia’s east coast where the whales stop to take a break – Hervey Bay. It’s here in this nursery environment calves practise the incredible behaviours whale watchers yearn to see, from breaching, spy-hopping to tail slapping.
Like homing pigeons, the whales head to the warm, shallow waters in the lee of K’gari Fraser Island, where humpback mums take the opportunity to feed and bond with their babies. Underneath a whales’ tail or fluke is a distinct marking that, like a human fingerprint, enables each whale to be identified. It’s this discovery that has enabled scientists to prove many humpbacks return to Hervey Bay each year, staying for up to 10 days!
The gestation period for a Humpback whale is on average 11 months and once born, calves are nursed until their first birthday. The little giants are already 5 metres long at birth and can weigh up to 2 tonnes, but they don’t stay that small for long! Drinking up to 600 litres of milk a day, calves gain weight rapidly.
Eastern Australian Humpback whales were nearly wiped out by commercial whaling and while the population is recovering, this whale species is still at risk from a range of threats including entanglement, pollution, habitat degradation and vessel strikes.
In 2019 for the World Whale Conference, Artists Cave Urban and the Fraser Coast community, created a stunning bamboo art piece that you can find at the Hervey Bay Visitor Information Centre. This eco-friendly creation aims to inspire change while protecting the cetacean habitat from ocean-destroying plastics.