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Whale watching in Hervey Bay & Fraser Island – how to see these gentle giants

The whales are on their way to the Fraser Coast and you should be too!

Holiday like a Humpback Whale this winter with your own family migration to the warm waters of Hervey Bay & Fraser Island.

What makes Hervey Bay & Fraser island so great for Whale Watching

There really is no better place in the world to get an up-close experience with Humpback Whales, than the Fraser Coast. 
Hervey Bay & Fraser Island is the only stopover these gentle giants take on their journey from the fertile but freezing feeding grounds of Antarctica to the warm northern Queensland waters – we don’t blame them. 
The calm, protected waters of the bay provide a safe haven for young whales and pregnant females to rest and socialise as they prepare for this long journey – creating a Cirque du Soleil display of whale behaviour, that is sure to fill your memory card. 

When to Go

These mammoth mammals time their visit to Hervey Bay and Fraser Island each winter from mid-July to early November. Worried you’ll miss out? Tour guides are so confident that you’ll see Humpback Whales on your tour during these migration months, that most even offer a money-back guarantee over the winter period. 
Whale fact: Whale songs are an example of nurture, not nature – all whales learn and perfect their tunes throughout their life.

Full Day & Half Day Whale Watching Tours

Hervey Bay and Fraser Island have the biggest (and most diverse) choice of whale watching tour options compared to any other destination in the country. Whether you’re happy watching from a distance or want to get up close, there are a variety of tour types on offer. From large cruises to small catamarans, each offer different departure times, tour lengths, amenities and viewing decks. 
Tours are either half days (which only include Hervey Bay) or full days (which include as Fraser Island as well). 
If you’re looking for a more intimate tour with a smaller tour size. Blue Dolphin offers smaller whale watching tours through Hervey Bay on a beautiful catamaran with an in-water platform for an immersive whale-watching experience.
Spirit of Hervey Bay offers morning and afternoon tours on their state-of-the-art, large boat which even has a special waterline viewing platform that gets lowered to just above water level when you’re stopped. The boat also offers six viewing decks and underwater viewing windows. 
For a full day tour that includes a trip to Fraser Island, Tasman Adventure’s “Remote Fraser Island & Whale Experience” is unmissable. After your morning of whale watching, you’ll get to spend the afternoon bushwalking, snorkelling, kayaking and swimming on Fraser Island.
Whale fact: The Humpback Whale takes its name from the habit of breaking the water surface with a large area of its back when diving.
Moment of Surprise & Delight from Pullman Cairns International

Swim with the whales

Want to get even closer? What could be better than swimming alongside one of the biggest mammals in the world, in their natural habitat? Don your snorkelling gear and hop in the water for one of the most extraordinary wildlife encounters in the world.
You can swim with whales through the whole season in Hervey Bay. However, swimmers are not allowed in the water when mothers and calves are present, and this tends to be more common in early September, so we recommend booking in before then.
Companies to book with: Whale Free Tours, plus so many more).

What to bring with you?

Most tour companies will provide meals, snacks and drinks so there is no real need to bring food.
While the inside cabin of most vessels will be kept nice and toasty, it’s important to remember that you will be around water, in winter, so be sure to pack warm clothes, a waterproof jacket or windcheater, long pants as well as a spare change of clothes. 
Don’t forget some comfortable non-slip shoes, sunscreen and sunglasses – to help with the water reflection. If you’re prone to seasickness be sure to also pack some motion sickness tablets. Finally, don’t forget the most important thing of all –  a camera (preferably waterproof), to help capture this once-in-a-lifetime experience. 
Whale fact: The lungs of a Humpback Whale are the same size as a small car.

Try your luck from the shore

Hervey Bay’s flat landscapes mean that shore-based viewing opportunities are limited. You might be lucky enough to catch a glimpse from the eastern beaches of Fraser Island or on the barge trip across to Fraser Island. 
If you prefer to keep your feet on dry land, there are plenty of great onshore activities to keep you busy in Hervey Bay through winter and spring.
To celebrate the whales’ arrival, Hervey Bay even hosts a celebration worthy of a whale’s welcome, the Hervey Bay Ocean Festival. This festival includes a blessing of the fleet which signals the beginning of the whale watching season on July 21st. The highlight of the festival is the Butchulla welcome, aloha chant and multi-faith blessing.  
Paddle Out for Whales (August 19) is another great festival event. Grab your surfboard, boogie board, kayak or any inflatable device you can find and paddle out into the bay to raise awareness for whale welfare and the conservation of the marine environment.
Whale fact: A Humpback Whale’s underbelly is like the whale version of a human fingerprint – each one is different.

Where to stay

To complete your amazing whale-watching weekend, you need the perfect hotel. Grand Mercure Allegra Hervey Bay is right on the water, overlooking beautiful Shell Beach. Spend your afternoons lounging in the tropical gardens lagoon pool or sauna or take a short walk into town and visit the local boutiques, cafes and restaurants.
If you’re wanting to get away from it all and enjoy a quiet getaway with loved ones, the Mercure Kingfisher Bay Resort is situated on the World Heritage-listed Fraser Island. Nestled among beautiful untamed natural landscapes, rainforests and endless beaches, this resort features three outdoor pools, three restaurants, five bars and we haven’t even mentioned the rooms and villas! 
Book your Hervey Bay and Fraser Island accommodation now!

Our Winter Gift To You

Wherever your whale-watching weekend takes you, Accor is here to make you feel at home. As our gift to you this winter, we’d like to offer $25 off each night and $1 breakfast* if you stay with select Accor this winter.
Visit our promotion page for more information on this offer. 

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