Initially, when I was going to travel up the East Coast of Australia, it wasn’t going to line up with Whale Season, so I had accepted that I wouldn’t get to see then make their way up the coast. However, my plans changed. I arrived in Hervey Bay not long after the whales, so of course the first thing I did was book a Whale Watching tour.
The cool thing about Hervey Bay is that it cuts in from the whales usual route up the east coast, meaning the ones that make it into the bay have made a conscious decision to do so. They come to Hervey Bay to basically chill out, that’s what makes whale watching so amazing here, is that the whales just having fun anyway, and you just get to be there to witness it. While it can’t be guaranteed that you will see whales as obviously, they are wild animals and will do whatever they want, as there are literally tens of thousands in those waters, it’s pretty damn likely.
Whales are notoriously playful animals and love to show off. So while boats have a rule that they cannot approach them, if the whales spot you, they will more than likely come over for a look and maybe even give you a little wave.
The tour I took was the Cat II, which I solely picked for the unlimited free tea and coffee as well as a breakfast AND lunch spread. Don’t mind if I do. The tour guides were super friendly and very knowledgeable about the whales and their behaviours (though as I said before, can never really be predicted) The boat had two decks with seating both and the back and front as well as an inside area with plenty of couches. I wonder if I will ever not be surprised when Australia is cold. I was sitting up the front wearing my lovely summer dress. Not that you could see it for the hoody blanket and scarf I had constantly wrapped around me.
We were out in the water for about an hour before we saw any whales, and they were pretty far in the distance, but as the tour was from 8am-4:30, we had plenty of time to look. Turns out, we didn’t really need to look. Not before long, we had whales popping up right in front of us, swimming under the boat, even doing little twirls in the water. I don’t know what I was expecting from this tour, but I genuinely did not think they would get to close!
Okay so I am a bit of a marine life nerd. I love everything about the sea and the animals that live there. When I was younger I wanted to be a Marine Biologist (before I absolutely bombed my science exams ha!) and growing up in Scotland there isn’t much to see. I mean further up north there is, but Glasgow? Not so much. So seeing a humpback whale, literally an arms length away from me, was mind blowing. I still can’t really wrap my head around it. They are such beautiful creatures and I am so glad I got to see them up close in the wild, having fun before carrying on their journey up the coast.
A few cool facts I learned about Humpback Whales:
- Humpback Whales pass their song along to their family and pack members
- Each whale has a different design on its tail, similar to the human fingerprint
- They can reach speeds of up to 10 knots, which is about 18km per hour
- Humpback whales can hold their breath for 45 minutes.
- They are very acrobatic and love to breach and slap the water with their fins.
- Humpback whales are baleen whales, so have baleen plates instead of teeth.