Whales, the gentle giants of the oceans, have long fascinated mankind. There are numerous whale-watching tours all around the world - like in Puget Sound in Washington State and in Kaikoura in New Zealand. One of the capitals of whale watching is Australia's Hervey Bay. Hervey Bay is just across from Fraser Island - the largest sand island in the world.
In some parts of the world, it is even possible to swim with whale sharks and see the largest and most gentle of the fish on the seas up close. In the past, whales were hunted - in some cases, close to the brink of extinction. Today they are loved and admired - drawing tourists from around the world.
Hervey Bay - One Of The Best Places To See Humpbacks
Hervey Bay billets itself as the whale capital of the world and is one of the best places to see humpbacks. It is recognized as the only genuine stop-over for the humpback whale's southern migration along the east coast of Australia. The calm and safe waters at Hervey offer a sanctuary and rest for the whales on their long migration.
The bay is also free of the whale's main predators - orcas (killer whales) and pack sharks that can prey on the young.
- Whales Seen: Humpback Whales
Hervey Bay has been part of a marine park since 1989 and is famous for its migrating humpback whales. Australia and New Zealand are also working together to create a South Pacific Whale Sanctuary.
- Whaling: Illegal In Australia - Even For Australian Citizens Anywhere In The World
The practices of whale watching are strictly controlled and regulated in Australia so as not to disturb these massive beasts of the ocean. Boats are not allowed to go any more than 100 meters from the animals and are not allowed to alter the whale's director or behavior.
- Season: August To October
The whale watch boats even help in studying the whales by photographing the tail flukes to assist in identifying the whales and which ones are returning year after year.
The whales stop over in the bay as they head to the Antarctic. Here they rest, play, and nurture their calves. The females concentrate on feeding and preparing their young for the massive 5,000 km (3,000-mile) journey ahead of them.
There are plenty of whale-watching tours in Hervey Bay - some tours combine the experience with a 4WDing tour of nearby Fraser Island.
Half-Day Morning Whale Watch
One example of a dedicated whale watch tour is offered by Hervey Bay Whale Watch & Charters. They are the oldest whale watching company in the bay. Their Morning Whale Watch Tour is a half-day tour onboard their Quick Cat 2.
The tour includes stunning views of Fraser Island and even has the added option of disembarking for lunch at Kingfisher Bay Resort on Fraser Island.
- Departure Time: 7.00 am (Return 12.30 pm)
- Adult: $115.00 AUD ($80 USD)
- Child: $65.00 AUD ($45 USD) - Aged 4 to 14)
- Family: $380.00 AUD ($265 USD) - Included Two Adults and Three Children
The tour includes a light breakfast and morning tea. On board, passengers have informative commentary and a hydrophone equipped to listen to the whale's songs under the water. All guests need to have checked in at least 15 minutes before departure.
There is also the opportunity to upgrade one's ticket and swim with the humpback whales. This costs an extra $100 AUD ($70 USD) and is paid during the tour. Lunch is an extra $35 AUD ($25 USD) per person.
Whale Watch And Fraser Island Package
One can't visit Hervey Bay without exploring Fraser Island. If one is coming during the whale season (August to October), then combine the whale watching experience with a tour of the island. One example package offers whale watching, tours of Fraser Island, and accommodation on Fraser Island.
- Season: 1 August to 25 October
- Cost: From $759 AUD ($530 USD) Per Person
- 3 Nights Resort Accommodation
- Half-Day Whale Watching Tour
- 4WD Tours Of Fraser Island
The package includes three nights at a resort hotel with twin share accommodation, a daily hot buffet breakfast, a half-day whale watch cruise, a return passenger ferry, and beauty spots 4WD Tour of Fraser Island. The 4WD tour includes a buffet lunch and National Park fees.