Welcome to Queensland, Australia - The official tourism site for Queensland



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Imagine a whale launching its entire body into the air and creating a spectacular moment of suspension above its ocean home before crashing back into the cool ocean waters.

To witness the awesome strength of a whale is your chance to have a personal whale experience. And only in Queensland can you come face-to-face with one of the world’s largest creatures, in such an intimate way. Whether you’re watching a Humpback whale on their vacation break at Hervey Bay, or the Dwarf Minke whale swimming the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland is the perfect place to have a premium whale-watching experience.

Minke Whale Swim Programs

Minke whales are commonly seen along the Ribbon Reefs north of Cairns between May and August. In June and July there are Minke Whale Expeditions which allow you to snorkel with these very curious whales. These research-based trips have reported seeing up to 28 of these graceful mammals in one pod and the whales have been known to remain with the boats for up to 10 hours. Trips are usually 3 or 4 nights.

When: June - July
Where: Cairns/Port Douglas, Townsville

Whale Watching

Humpback whales travel along the Queensland coast from late July to early November each year on their southern migration to Antarctica. They are best seen in the shallow coastal waters of the Great Barrier Reef, in Tropical North Queensland and the Whitsundays, and in Southern Queensland in Hervey Bay and Moreton Bay. Hervey Bay is used as a resting ground by the whales on their long journey south and is recognised as the Whale Watching capital of Australia.

A number of marine tour operators conduct full and half-day whale watching tours in these areas.

When: Mid July - early November
Where: Hervey Bay, Moreton Bay, Brisbane/Gold Coast, Whitsundays, Cairns & Great Barrier Reef

Whales Size and Behaviour

Growing to up to fifteen metres in length and weighing up to 45 tonne, a single whale can be equivalent to eleven elephants or 600 people. However a whale’s massive size does not stop them from enjoying their ocean habitats.

Whales are very active creatures; regularly perform a variety of behaviours. Pectoral slapping, tail flapping, breaching, and diving will amaze any spectator especially as they are performed by the true giant of the seas, the mighty whales.

Whale Infographic

Download the whale infographic here >

Whales Facts

  • Growing to up to 16 metres in length and weighing up to 40 tonne, a single whale can be equivalent to eleven elephants or 600 people.
  • Whales are very active creatures; regularly perform a variety of behaviours like pectoral slapping, tail flapping and breaching.
  • Whales can live to at least 48 years, but it is likely to be higher and probably closer to 100 years!
  • Whale songs are only sung by the males and can last from a few moments to an hour and travel for hundreds of kilometres. These sounds of around 170 decibels!
  • A whales cruising speed when leisurely moving is 3.5 knots to 5 knots but when chased they can reach speeds of 9 or 10 knots.
  • Their annual migration from Antarctica to Queensland covers 10,000 km’s (5000km each way) between May – November.
  • Hervey Bay has now been recognised as the only genuine stop-over on the humpback whales' southern migration along Australia's east coast and is known as the whale watching capital of the world.
  • Read more about whales on the Queensland Blog.

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Queensland Australia