humpback whale migration map

Humpback Whales

Australia’s Annual East Coast HumpBack Whale Migration 

After a summer of feeding on up to 4 tonnes of krill in nutrient-rich chilly Antarctic water habitats, 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, where they mate and give birth. We are able to witrness this incredible spectacle from the beaches of Eastern Australia. It never ceases to amaze! Australia’s Annual East Coast humpback whale migration is one of the longest migratory journeys of any mammal on Earth – up to 10,000 km round trip!


Humpback Habits 

Pods – Humpback whales tend to travel alone or in small groups known as pods. However, they sometimes feed in very large pods!

Order of travel

Young males traveling in groups lead

Adult breeding whales in the middle

Pregnant females (cows) and cows with young calves follow behind – it’s thought they stay longer in the Arctic to eat lots of food in order to produce enough milk for their calves

The East Coast migration is one of the longest migratory journeys of any mammal on Earth – up to 10,000 km round trip!

Breaching & Slapping 

Humpbacks are known for their acrobatic displays. They often shoot up through the water, making a huge splash back down (breaching) or slap the water with their fins and tail. These are thought to be forms of communication over long and short distances.

They may also be warning off potential predators such as sharks who may follow calves, dislodging pesky parasites or just having fun!


Male humpbacks make sound by pushing air around in their heads, then amplifying the sounds through a blob of fat on the top jaw. This ‘singing’ is thought to be a form of communication and may also help them locate food.

You can listen to this juvenile whale sing by downloaded our Humpback Whale online course or Teaching Resources – links below.

Male humpback whale ‘songs’ may be heard 30km away!

humpback whale migration map
Where to See the Humpback Whale Migration on East Coast Australia

Find out when and where to see the annual humpback migration on East Coast Australia

queensland humpback whale migration guide
Queensland Humpback Whale Migration Guide

When and where to watch the humpbacks in Queensland.

Humpback Whale Migration Calendar
East Coast Humpback Whale Migration Calendar

Free calendar so that you don’t miss out on the greatest show on earth!!

humpback whale online kids course
Humpback Whale Online Course

For everyone who wants to get the low down on Australia’s iconic Humpback Whales. It contains awesome videos, infographics, a whale-watching guide, migration calendar, maps, quizzes and more! Complete the course to receive a personalised certificate, awarded by our very own Head of Education, Marine Biologist, Richard Coward! Age 7+. Duration: 1-2 hours. COST: $20

humpback teaching resources
Humpback Whale - Teaching Resources

Our Humpback Whale Resources are designed to assist in teaching curriculum themes such as Human Impact, Habitats, Adaptation, and Classification, using an iconic subject. Resources include downloadable videos, activities, infographics, fact sheets, maps, a calendar, presentation and more! COST: $20