The world’s first Whale Heritage Site, Hervey Bay is proudly recognized as one of the best places to see humpback whales up close, offering eco-certified, intimate encounters from July to November each year.
Thousands of humpback whales choose to stay and play in the calm waters off Hervey Bay during their annual migration. In fact, it is thought to be the only place along the east coast of Australia where the animals truly stop and rest during their 10,000km journey – making Hervey Bay one of the best places on earth to truly experience these gentle giants up close!
Humpback whales utilise the sheltered, safe waters of Platypus Bay to rest, nurse their calves and people watch, all before returning to their feeding grounds in Antarctica for summer. Nearly three decades of scientific research reveal many of the same humpbacks return to Hervey Bay each year – staying up to 2 weeks at a time.
Extremely intelligent and naturally curious, Hervey Bay is famous for whale ‘muggings’, where a pod of whales can quite literally spend hours swimming circles around a boat – checking out those onboard! The nursery conditions here in Hervey Bay also means that it is the perfect place for humpback whale mothers to teach their calves the incredible behaviours whale watchers love to see, from tail slapping, spy hopping and the almighty breach.
The world's first official whale heritage site
Book yourself a Whale Watching tour from July – November
Whale Heritage Site
This means that Hervey Bay is recognized as one of the best destinations globally for responsible dolphin and whale watching, each of our operators obtaining advanced eco-certification to conduct such practices.
Hervey Bay, thought to be one of the only true stopover locations in the world, boasts very special, intimate interactions with these gentle giants. Humpback whales are widely celebrated within our local community and are an integral part of our culture.
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 Straits, including humpback whales. The Fraser Coast Discovery Sphere features a 30-tonne statue of one of our region’s most beloved whales, ‘Nala’.
Our region also celebrates all things humpbacks at the annual Hervey Bay Whale Festival, a month-long festival to welcome the start of the whale watching season here in Hervey Bay. The festival includes four highly-anticipated events; Blessing of the Fleet, Whale Parade and Concert, Paddle Out for Whales and Fraser Coast Kite Karnival.
Top Whale Facts
One of Hervey Bay’s most well-studied and loved whales, ‘Nala’, is what researchers call a ‘tail-up feeder’. First spotted in the bay in 1992, Nala nurses her calves by resting vertically (most rest horizontally) in the water. She even has a statue dedicated to her at the Hervey Bay Discovery Sphere!
With our bay reaching depths of only 20-25 meters, mixed with our sheltered calm waters (thanks to Fraser Island!), Hervey Bay is the perfect place for humpbacks to get some quality R & R before their long journey back down south. Research has shown that it is the only true place along the east coast of Australia where the whales deliberately choose to stopover.
In 2017, Hervey Bay commenced our whale immersion program, one of few places across Australia where guests have the unique opportunity to get just that much closer to these gentle giants. With several operators in our whale fleet holding special eco-certified permits, guests now have the chance to truly see eye-to-eye with humpback whales under the right conditions.
Hervey Bay may be famous for humpbacks, but they are not the only species of whales that frequent our waters. Southern right whales, minke and dwarf minke whales, pilot whales, melon-headed whales, sperm whales and even orcas have all been sighted in the area on occasion.
Our Nature Stories
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