Every year between June and November, Queensland’s coastline is the location of one of the world’s most amazing migratory spectacles.
Starting in the cold waters of the Antarctic, an expected 22,000 whales will head north to tropical Queensland this year. Here whales enjoy safe harbour in the warm waters to feed, calve and play. On their return to the Antarctic, migrating whales will have clocked up an amazing 10,000km journey – making this the longest migration on the planet!
Many whale species make up the migration. The most prolific species, and the ones you’re likely to spot first, are Humpback whales. Humpbacks are renowned for being the most surface-active and entertaining species and can be spotted all along the coast. In Far North Queensland, you can witness the only known aggregation of Dwarf Minke whales, known to be the fastest whales of all. Other species to join the migration include false killer, pilot, killer and sperm whales, so why not see how many different species you can spot?
No matter which whales species you’ve come to see, we guarantee you’ll be treated to some of the best whale watching in the world right on our doorstep. And with so many fantastic places to see them, we’ve put together some of our favourite whale-spotting regions to help you to get out and enjoy this amazing spectacle.
Where to Experience the Migration
Whales can be spotted frolicking and feeding from as far south as the New South Wales border right up along the coast to the tropical waters off Cairns. Why not head to some of these regions to spot them?
Gold Coast and Brisbane. Best time to go: June to November.
The Gold Coast and Brisbane are the first spots in Queensland to herald the annual migration. Sporting calm waters, you can spot them from beaches, along headlands or on one of many whale watching tours both on the water or in the air.
Sunshine Coast. Best time to go: July to October.
Head up to Point Cartwright, Point Arkwright, Moffat Headland or Dolphin Point to watch them play. While day tours are plentiful, you can also swim or kayak with them if you’re especially keen.
Hervey Bay. Best time to go: August to October.
The whale capital of Queensland. This is where mothers use calm waters to teach their newborn calves survival skills. Day tours, snorkeling, paddle-boarding or kite-surfing are available to view the more than 7,000 whales that stop here each year.
Southern Great Barrier Reef. Best time to go: June to September.
Some of the best vantage points in this region include coastal beaches, Keppel Bay, dedicated day tours or spot them from the air while heading Lady Musgrave, Heron and Lady Elliot Islands. Diving and snorkeling tours are also offered.
Whitsundays. Best time to go: July to September.
The calm waters of the Whitsunday Islands are a great place to view whales. Here, board a dedicated day tour, or simply take watch out for the whales on an island tour – a two in a one combination. Make sure to watch out for mothers and calves who use the waters here as a nursery too!
Topical North Queensland. Best time to go: June and July.
Not to be missed, tropical north Queensland is the most northerly Queensland destination to spot whales. Here, Dwarf Minke Whales holiday along the Ribbon Reefs in the only known aggregation in the world. Tours include day tours, diving and snorkeling with these beautiful creatures.
Dwarf Minke Whale. Photo Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland.
Why not stay a while?
If you’re on the road and heading out to watch for whales, why not take some time and stay over? Who knows how many whale species you’ll see then! Head to the Caravanning Queensland website to find the perfect accommodation for you and your family and stay an extra few nights. We know you’ll love it!