Why do whales visit Hervey Bay?

A renowned spot for whale-watching, Hervey Bay truly is where the magic happens. Humpback (and even sometimes rare white) whales make a huge splash when they grace the Fraser Coast. But why is Hervey Bay a favourite hangout spot amongst these magnificent mammals? Get ready for whale season by understanding the intriguing lives of Humpbacks!

From Antarctica to Queensland

Humpback whales migrate annually, from the icy waters of Antarctica to the tropical far-north Queensland waters. Humpback whales have particularly mysterious navigation skills, using temperatures, currents, tides and memory rather than echolocation like other whales. Indeed, this 10000km journey is no small feat.

whale breaching, fraser island, australia

A blanket of blubber

Whales rely on blubber; a fatty, protective layer that keeps them warm during their long migration journey. Humpback whales require heated waters to breed because their young are born without this blubber, and would not survive the freezing Antarctic waters if born there. This is why we witness an abundance of playful Humpbacks journeying to and from the hospitable waters of the Great Barrier Reef… they’re the gypsy travellers of the East Coast!

whales, fraser island

Bulking up for the journey

These incredible travellers feed in Antarctica, enjoying a smorgasbord of small fish and krill, of which they can consume over 1000kg per day! This massive feast fuels the development of their blubber. Humpbacks generally don’t feed during their journey up North, making their blubber a very important source of sustenance and warmth over the migration months. In fact, whales can metabolise up to 8 tons of this fatty layer during migration… that’s over sixteen grand pianos of weight burnt! Talk about a swimmer’s workout! 

Family road trip!

Once the mother Humpbacks have birthed their newborn calves in the ideal climate of the Great Barrier Reef, the new Humpback families begin their long travels back down South. This isn’t, however, without some stopovers in some of the most stunning destinations along Australia’s East Coast! This leg of the journey is the best for whale watching tours as the interactive, cheeky behaviours of the Humpbacks are prevalent. Mother Humpbacks teach their young skills such as feeding, communicating and breaching, while the rest of the pod relaxes and enjoys a break from their huge migration.

The protected Hervey Bay is a well-loved spot amongst these travelling animals for rest and socialising due to the relatively low number of natural predators. Similarly, Fraser Island provides protection for the waters of Hervey Bay, so that Humpbacks can enjoy the calm waters and get some rest before their long swim home!

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