Hervey Bay set for a whale of a season
The whales are back on the Fraser Coast. And this year could be the biggest season yet.
The 2022 whale watching season has opened in Hervey Bay, where 40,000 humpback whales are expected to migrate along the Queensland coast over the coming months.
Fraser Coast Tourism and Events Chief Executive Officer Martin Simons said the first commercial whale watching tours from boats in Australia began in Hervey Bay in 1987 and the region was instrumental in setting up a sustainable code for whale-human interactions, since copied around the world.
“The whale watching experience in Hervey Bay is different from all other areas of Australia because the whales come into the warm, shallow waters of the Bay to rest and recuperate on their journey from the Antarctic to the northern tropics – the largest mammal migration in the world.
“Here the whales are relaxed, and the mothers take time to train their calves, sometimes pushing them right up to boats. The whales are as interested in the boats as people are in them,” Mr Simons said.
From 2016 to 2019, Research Australia figures show that on average about 88,000 domestic overnight visitors went whale watching annually in Queensland.
Nearly one-third of those went whale-watching on the Fraser Coast in the prime season between July and October – making the Fraser Coast the biggest whale watching region in the state.
Humpback whales travel over 10,000km on their yearly return migration from their feeding grounds of the cold Antarctic waters to their breeding and calving grounds on the Great Barrier Reef.
On their journey, scientific studies over 30 years have proven that a large percentage of the migrating whales linger for up to two weeks in the calm waters and secure shelter of Hervey Bay.