Imagine being up so close and personal to a humbback whale that you can hear and smell the amazing gentle giant of the deep. That is the experience you are guaranteed in the calm, clear waters of Hervey Bay, where the whales come to you for a game of 'I spy".
Whale watching is a popular activity along the east coast as the whales migrate, but Hervey Bay is the only place you'll enjoy viewing the whales "up close and personal" - at play and not on the move!
These 'great whales' weigh up to 45 tonnes and are between 10 and 15 metres long. The calves weigh around a tonne at birth and drink a phenomenal 600 litres of milk each day. As some of the more active whales, the humpback's exhibit a variety of behaviours from the simple 'blow' to tail slapping, waving their pectoral fins, and the spectacular 'breach', the most sought-after photograph by visitors.
Whale watching tour options to the sheltered waters of Platypus Bay, between the mainland resort town of Hervey Bay and Fraser Island include dawn trips, fast half day tours to full day tours.
The whales and the whale watching fleet of Hervey Bay have formed a unique relationship, which is the subject of years of scientific reserach. It's a winning formula for whale watch passenngers, who get an opportunity to watch and interact with these magestic giants of the sea.
"Hervey Bay is absolutely unique as a humpback whale destination. We are not aware of any other area in the world where Humpback whales behave like they do in the Bay," says veteran whale researcher Wally Franklin.
"The number of individual whales who keep returning year after year and the interaction between the whales and the watch fleet is remarkable. Essentially the whales feel safe here because of the excellent behaviour by the whale watch fleet. They know what to expect here and without a doubt they enjoy the interactions almost as much as the humans," he says.
There is no comparison to whale watching in the open ocean where the creatures travel at around 8–10 knots while migrating. "The whale calves born in the Great Barrier Reef lagoon come into Hervey Bay when they are just a few weeks old and are introduced by their mothers to the whale watch fleet and taught how to behave around boats," he said.
In Hervey Bay, an average of one in four pods of whales will come close and "mug" a boat – having a good look at those on board and staying as long as ten minutes or more.