Tag Archives: humpback

Humpback Whale Migration Guide

whale watching

After a summer of feeding on up to 4 tonnes of krill in nutrient-rich chilly Antarctic waters, more than 20,000 Humpback Whales migrate north to the sub-tropical waters of East Coast Australia. They head to the warm waters of the Coral Sea and Great Barrier Reef, to mate and give birth. The east coast migration is one of the longest migratory journeys of any mammal on Earth – up to 10,000 km round trip! Our Humpback Migration Guide will help you make the most of one of the most incredible shows on earth…

To get the full low down on the east coast migration, check out our online course. humpback whale

When to Watch the Humpback Migration

The exact timing of the humpback migration can vary slightly from year to year but generally the whales can be easily seen off the East Coast at the following times:

May – Aug             Migrating north (generally 5-10km from the coast)

Sept – Nov            Migrating back South (often with new-born calves)

This map highlights some of the best whale watching lookouts on the east coast.

Tip: The whales are normally easier to see migrating south as they tend to travel closer to shore, protecting their calves from predators.

 

Check out our humpback migration calendar for more details…

Humpback Migration Calendar

Time of Day whale tail

Morning – Calm morning waters make easy viewing, before the wind picks up.

Evening – Sunsets make for spectacular whale watching as the changing light highlights the action.

 

Where to Watch 

The humpback’s spectacular acrobatic displays are often easily observed from the beach or land-based lookouts – so everyone gets the chance to watch for free!!

 

 

Best Whale Watching on the Sunshine Coast whale watching

The best whale watching on the Sunshine Coast can be observed from…

  • Coolum: Point Perry or Point Arkwright, Coolum
  • Kawana: Point Cartwright
  • Moffat Beach Headland
  • Noosa: Hells Gate, Noosa National Park
  • Alexandra Headland

Queensland Whale Watching by Boat 

whale watchingOur favorite places to go whale watching by boat…

-Mooloolaba

-Hervey Bay: about a quarter of humpbacks enter Hervey Bay

-Whitsundays

-Great Barrier Reef

Best Whale Watching near Brisbane

In our opinion, the best whale watching near Brisbane is from…

  • North Stradbroke Island – Point Lookout

 

Whale Watching Tips Humpback eye

Here are our whale watching tips – to ensure you get the most from your experience

  • Be respectful and mindful – follow 100 meter distance regulations
  • Take binoculars
  • Take a copy of our Identifying Humpbacks guide so you know what you’re looking for
  • Get up high for a better view
  • Be patient
  • Get educated so you can impress your friends with the facts!

 

Don’t forget to look out for East Coast Australia’s most famous white humpback whale. It’s Aboriginal name is ‘Migaloo’ or ‘white fella’.

 

 

 

Why We Need Whales

Whales are essential to the marine eco-system and therefore to us. They help to keep our oceans healthy. As we get up to 70% of our oxygen from the sea, we need it to be healthy enough to produce that oxygen, else we humans can’t survive!

5 Ways You Can Protect 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
Marine Conservation
Sea Shepherd
Humpbacks & Highrises

 

 

humpback whale kids courseTo get educated about the humpback migration and why we need to protect whales, why not check out our online course for kids

 

 

 

amazing sharks kids courseInterested in other courses for kids? Check out our Amazing Sharks Course

Annual Humpback Whale Migration – East Coast Australia

Each year between April and November, Australia’s eastern coastline comes alive with the spectacular acrobatic displays of humpback whales. After a summer of feeding on krill in Antarctic waters, these charismatic animals migrate north to sub-tropical waters where they mate and give birth. And we are lucky enough to be able to easily spot them on their travels from our majestic coastline!

During their annual migration of up to 10 000 kilometres, humpbacks can easily be seen off the coast of New South Wales and Queensland.

The exact timing of the migration period can vary from year to year depending on water temperature, sea ice, predation risk, prey abundance and the location of their feeding ground.

Humpback Migration Route and Timing

The majority of humpbacks in Australian waters migrate north from June to August, and back towards the Southern Ocean from September to November.

Migration Grouping

Groups of young males typically lead the migration while pregnant cows and cow-calf pairs bring up the rear. Adult breeding animals form the bulk of the migration in the middle stages.

Humpback Whale Facts

  • Humpback whale length: 12- 16 metres
  • Humpback whale weight: up to 50 tonnes or 6 elephants!
  • Average birth weight of humpback: 2 tonnes
  • Birth length: 4-5 metres
  • Humpback whale gestation period: 11 months
  • Favoured birth temperature: 22-25 degrees
  • Origin of Humpback Whale name: the name comes from their very long pectoral fins and knobby looking head which looks a bit like a hump!
  • Easily tracked as identifiable by the unique markings on their tail fluke – so we can learn lots about them!
  • Humpback whale travel speed: up to 8 km an hour
  • Migration travel speed: humpback average only 1.6km an hour during the migration as they rest and socialise along the way
  • Humpbacks sing songs that may be heard hundreds of kilometres away
  • East Coast Australia’s most famous humpback whale is white and has an Aboriginal name, ‘Migaloo’ which means white fella.

The humpback whale is not the largest whale found in Australian waters but we reckon its’ the most iconic.

Click here for our Eastern Humpback Whales Online Mini Course

Click here for our Humpback Whale Teaching Resources