Search for whales on YouTube and check out the tally of views. You’ll quickly realise they’re in the millions with one particular National Geographic video reaching the dizzy heights of more than 15 million.
If anyone were to question the connection between humans and whales, well… there’s your answer by strength in numbers. But for more solid proof, you must get out on the water and experience it for yourself.
Hervey Bay on Queensland’s Fraser Coast. It’s the one place on the planet where you’ll interact with these majestic creatures of the deep in a way like no other. This is where they stop off for a holiday, drift into the protected bay and socialise, show off with their young, sing a song or two and even get up close to check us out on the boats in what is known as “muggings”. It’s breathtaking.
The migrating mighty Humpback whales put on the greatest reality show on earth each year from July to November in Hervey Bay. As a travel writer who’s indulged in just about every aquatic tour known to man – whether it be dolphins, seals, whales or diving/snorkelling the coastlines of Great Barrier Reef, Papua New Guinea or Hawaii – nothing beats Hervey Bay for sheer four-dimensional thrills: the smell of the ocean, the blue skies above and mid-20s temperature warmth on your skin, the sweet sounds of whale song as a hydrophone dangles in the water to tune in, and the sight of a Humpback dramatically launching from the water in full breach only metres away, or drifting over calmly to lock in some eye contact … to simply let you know they’re watching you as much as you’re watching them.
It’s a connection all right.
Simply the best in the world for whale watching…
Protected from the weather by world heritage-listed Fraser Island right opposite, Hervey Bay is the ultimate outdoor arena. And there’s a perfectly good reason why, as Oceania Project researcher Wally Franklin explains. “What makes Hervey Bay absolutely unique worldwide is that there is no stopping place like it in the other major humpback corridors,” Wally says. “It’s a shallow, sheltered, warm protected bay – the perfect place for whales to aggregate and socialise. Now THAT is what makes Hervey Bay a ‘unique’ whale watch destination.”
The diversity of whale watching tours suits everyone…
That’s right, whether you’re three years old or 93, there are tour varieties to suit one and all. Hervey Bay’s marina is chockers with tour options. For me, I launched in nice and early one morning with the no-frills, three-hour blast on the fast-flying That’s Awesome where there’s no more than 32 passengers and skipper “Awesome” Annie whipped out there right into the heart of the action within 10 minutes.
Later on, I took the opportunity to kick back in the afternoon with a cruise aboard the big cat known as Tasman Venture where you can enjoy air-conditioned comfort, underwater views, afternoon tea and snacks, and the hydrophone experience of listening to the “Humpies” hit the harmonies with whales songs. Quite simply, it caresses the senses.
It’s a great learning experience for everyone …
Taking in the sights, sounds and spectacular breaches in Hervey Bay alone is well worth it, but thanks to the experienced crews you also learn so much more about the Humpbacks, other whales that pass through, and marine creatures including dolphins, turtles, dugongs, sharks and sea birds. You also find out a lot about nearby world-heritage listed Fraser Island (a fab holiday destination in its own right). As a bonus, the dollars you spend on such an unforgettable experience goes towards funding research programs such as Wally and Trish Franklin’s ‘The Oceania Project’ and the great work of the Pacific Whale Foundation.
Hervey Bay is easy to reach with all accommodation types …
Talk about great locations for a Queensland holiday. Hervey Bay is pretty much bang on the middle of Australia’s east coast and only a one hour flight from Sydney, two hours from Melbourne or a three hour drive north from Brisbane. Want a place to stay? Try Mantra Hervey Bay, overlooking the Urangan Boat Harbour and right amongst all the marina action as far as whale watching tour boats, dolphin watching, sunset cruises, and boat charters goes. Before any tour, catch a super brekkie, lunch or coffee at Café Balaena. Otherwise, there are plenty of hotels, a backpackers in town and even a couple of great B&Bs (try Villa Cavour) if you’re looking for something a bit romantic in your Hervey Bay holiday.
Video produced by 120 Video. Extra footage supplied by Lloyd Burgess of Tasman Venture.