Tag Archives: Humpback Whales

Where to See the Annual Humpback Migration on East Coast Australia

australian humpback whale migration map

It’s that exciting time of year when humpback whales migrate up and down the Queensland coastline from the Antarctic to mate and give birth in warmer waters. The arrival of the whales is celebrated throughout East Coast Australia and we reckon it’s the greatest show on earth! Why not head down to the coast and join in the celebration? Read on to find out when and where to see the annual humpback migration on East Coast Australia and to learn a whole lot more about it…

Get your Humpback Whale Migration Calendar below

Book a Humpback Whale themed incursion or Check out our Humpback Whale Teaching Resource Pack


The Best Time to see the Humpback Whale Migration on the East Coast

whale watchingThe exact timing varies depending on the temperature of the water, among other factors, but generally the best time to see humpback whales on the East Coast is between May and November each year.

The whales firstly migrate north up the East Coast, then can be seen migrating back south from September to November. This is the best time to see the humpback whale migration as they often have calves and swim close to the shore in order to protect the calves from predators.



Calm morning waters make humpback whales easier to spot but sunsets make for spectacular photos!


The Best Places to See Humpback Whales in Queensland

great barreir reefThe best places to see humpback whales in Queensland are considered to be the Sunshine Coast, The Great Barrer Reef, and Hervey Bay.

The humpback whale’s spectacular acrobatic displays can be easily seen from the shore or from a viewpoint, but if you want to get closer, take a whale watching tour.

Don’t forget to ensure you book with a company that operates in a respectful manner as whales need to be protected from human impact.

The Best Places to See Humpback Whales on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast

You can easily see whales on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast from the shore. Sometimes you’ll see several pods at once as the view points tend to offer 180 degree viewing. Not many people can say they can watch whales from close to their own doorstep!

The best places on the Sunshine Coast include:

Coolum: Point Perry or Point Arkwright, Coolum

Kawana: Point Cartwright

Moffat Beach Headland

Noosa: Hells Gate, Noosa National Park

Alexandra Headland

The Best Places to See Humpback Whales near Brisbane

If you live in or are visiting Queensland’s biggest city, Brisbane, then North Stradbroke is the best place to see humpback whales from the shoreline. It’s an easy and very beautiful 50 minute boat ride from the outskirts of Brisbane. North Stradbroke is home to a large Aboriginal population which celebrates the arrival of the whales each year.

Whale Watching Tours in Queensland

whale watching toursIf you wish to do a whale watching tour in Queensland, you could find the whales swimming under your boat. It’s really not uncommon as whales can be very inquisitive!

Boats are not permitted to go within three hundred meters of whales but if they come to you, that’s another matter. Our recommended spots for whale watching boat tours are Mooloolaba, Hervey Bay (about a quarter of humpbacks pass through here), Whitsundays and the Great Barrier Reef.


Humpback Whale Migration Events & Celebratons

Humpback whale events and celebrations take place annually along Queensland’s coast. The Quandamooka Aboriginal people of North Stradbroke Island host a “Welcome the whales” traditional celebration and no wonder, the island has some great vantage points for watching the show!

Further north, Hervey Bay is famous for the Hervey Bay Whale Festival. Hervey Bay is unlike anywhere else along the ‘humpback highway’, as many whales stop here to spend around ten days resting, socialising and playing before continuing their trip back south to the Antarctic for the summer months.


Want to know more humpback whale facts?

Check out our online humpback whale course to learn a whole lot more humpback whale facts. The course includes awesome videos, infographics, a whale-watching guide, migration calendar, maps, quizzes and more! 

humpback whale teaching resources

Click here for teaching resources



How Can I Protect Whales? 

You can make a difference and protect whales while watching them by following the following guidelines:

Educate yourself and tell friends

Whale watch with a thoughtful and responsible company

Report sick or injured animals

Reduce plastic usage

Support a whale charity such as:

Whale & Dolphin Conservation
Marine Conservation
Sea Shepherd
Humpbacks & Highrises

Get your FREE Humpback Whale Migration Calendar

Humpback Whale Kids Course

Woohoo!!! The humpbacks are coming up the coast, so we’re celebrating their arrival with an awesome new Humpback Whale Kids Course


humpback migration


More than 20,000 Humpback Whales migrate up the East Coast of Australia from May each year. It’s one of the longest migratory journeys of any mammal (up to 10,000km) and it’s free and easy to watch from the coast. So why not get the low down on the migration and get down to the ocean to experience what’s probably the greatest acrobatic show on earth!



Humpback Whale Kids Course Content

We’ve created awesome videos, images, fast facts, infographics, a whale watching guide, humpback ID chart, a migration calendar, maps, quizzes and more that will arm you with all you need to know about humpbacks.



Check out our Humpback Whale Kids Course

Whale Watching Guide

whale watchingOur whale watching guide includes everything you need to know about whale watching, including:

When & where to go whale watching

Humpback whale migration calendar

Best lookout points: QLD & NSW

Whale watching tips

Humpback identification chart



Humpback Videos

humpback & calf


Our short humpback videos include amazing footage of humpbacks doing what they do best – breaching, slapping and  singing! so, we’ve added some lively music which we think goes pretty well with the whales – it’s big and bold too!!




Check out our Humpback Whale Kids Course


 How to Protect Humpback Whales

We can all do our bit to help protect humpback whales, like…

Educate yourself & your friends

Whale watch with a responsible company & keep 100 metres away

Report sick or injured animals

Reduce plastic usage & do not litter



Support a whale conservation organisation…

Whale & Dolphin Conservation au.whales.org/

Marine Conservation marineconservation.org.au/whaling/

Sea Shepherd seashepherd.org.au/

Humpbacks & Highrises hhr.org.au/


humpback whaleHumpback Whale Kids Online Course




humpback teaching resources

Humpback Whale Teaching Resources




Humpback Whale Teaching Resources


Each year, from May, around 50,000 Humpback Whales migrate from their feeding grounds in the chilly waters of the Antarctic, to warmer waters off Australia’s East and West Coast to birth and mate. The migration can easily be seen from the coast and the acrobatic whales make awesome viewing. So, we decided to create some inspirational humpback migration teaching resources to engage students and to celebrate the arrival of the whales!


HumpbackCurriculum Humpback Whale Teaching Resources

These image-based humpback whale teaching resources are designed to assist in teaching curriculum themes such as human impact, habitats, adaptation, and classification, using an iconic and topical subject. Resources include downloadable videos, infographics, fact sheets, maps, a migration calendar, presentation, activities and more.


Humpback Whale Topics Covered Humpback eye

  • Humpback Migration Route
  • Humpback Habitats
  • Humpback Fast Facts
  • Adaptations & Anatomy
  • Humpback Classification
  • Humpback v Toothed Whale & Food Webs
  • Humpback Reproduction
  • Why We Need Whales – The Whale Pump
  • Human Impact
  • How to Help Protect Whales


A Sample of our Humpback Whale Teaching Resources

Migration Route Map – detailing how the whales travel up the West & East Coast


Whale Food Webs

Food Webs – baleen versus toothed whales



The Whale Pump – how whales help us breath



Activity – The Plastic Ocean Cycle



Humpback Whale Videos

We have used impressive humpback whale videos featuring whales being whales! We put the videos to music that should bring a smile to student’s faces!





Educating Students to Protect

We believe that educating students is the best way to inspire them to want to protect the ocean and marine life. The resources pack closes with a section on how students can protect humpback whales.



5 Ways You Can Protect Humpback Whales

  1. Educate yourself & your friends
  2. Whale watch with a responsible company & keep 100 metres away
  3. Report sick or injured animals
  4. Reduce plastic usage & do not litter
  5. Support a whale charity:


Whale & Dolphin Conservation au.whales.org/

Marine Conservation marineconservation.org.au/whaling/

Sea Shepherd seashepherd.org.au/

Humpback & High Rises hhr.org.au/

Resources & Courses

Shoreline Show Stoppers

Every winter, anyone along the East Coast of Australia gets a front row seat for one of nature’s most spectacular shows.

The stars are humpback whales – massive marine mammals that like to steal the limelight.  These traveller performers drop by on their 25,000 kilometre round trip between Antarctica and their breeding grounds in the tropics.

These acrobatic animals are definite crowd pleasers – playing to an appreciative audience….

Just the sight of a spout is enough to cause a commotion…and little wonder.  After holding their breath for twenty minutes, humpbacks can exhale several metres into the air…..

But it’s really just the warm up – the opening act can be pectoral fin slaps…. When their five metre long appendages slam onto the ocean surface – a wakeup call for anyone close by.

Tail slaps are another great way to grab attention. One is never enough.  It’s an opportunity to show off their personal fluke pattern – the best way to identify a humpback….

If they sense they’re losing their audience, the whales can opt for a spy hop – raising their head out of the water to assess the world around them….

But the absolute shop stopper is the full body breach – when up to 30 tonnes of mammal is launched into the air and slams back down.  The impact is phenomenal – seen and heard from kilometres away.

There’s lots of different theories as to why whales perform this manoeuvre – some feel it’s a way to communicate with other humpbacks close by; others believe it’s like a giant stretch after a long rest – a signal they’re about to get active again.

Either way its unforgettable – and can only be topped if there’s an understudy in tow.  Young calves accompany their mothers on the trip back south, eager to try out their performance skills as well.

At just five metres long, they’re only a fraction of their Mum’s size but still capable of making their presence felt.  Drinking 400 litres of milk a day, these youngsters grow quickly and by this time next year will be ready to go solo.

In a final bow to the crowd, the whales lift their tails and disappear from stage – diving deep and leaving the audience wanting more, with no indication where and when their next performance will be.

Even if you miss the show, you can learn more about these magnificent animals in one of Ocean Life Education’s Marine Mammal presentations.  Click here for more details.