Our whale watching Hervey Bay cruise was one of the most incredible days out I have ever experienced.
The humpback whales spend the summer in Antarctic waters feeding and then migrate up the east coast of Australia to the tropical waters around the Great Barrier Reef. There the pregnant females give birth and others mate before beginning the migration south back to Antarctic waters, an incredible 5000km round trip.
On route many of the whales “stop off” in the bays around Hervey Bay to rest, play and for the calves to produce the layers of blubber that they will need to survive in the Antarctic waters. Because of this Hervey Bay is the best place in Australia to go on a whale watching cruise.
There are numerous companies offering whale watching Hervey Bay cruises from late July until early November and from August to October they are so confident that you will see humpback whales that they all offer either another trip or your money back if there are no sightings.
There are lots of private visitor and tourist information centres along the esplanade all of which offer a variety of whale watching Hervey Bay cruises. It is difficult to recommend one over the others but we really liked the Hervey Bay Visitor and Tourist Centre which is located in the Torquay area of Hervey Bay. Pam Smith who works there is very friendly and helpful and will help you find the whale watching trip which suits you best.
We went on our Hervey Bay whale watching trip with Wild Life Cruises because we wanted to do a three-quarter day trip and they were one of the few companies that offered this. Most of the others offer half-day morning or afternoon trips.
We were collected from our apartment to be taken to the Urangan Harbour where we boarded the Kasey Lee and departed from there at 10am.
The boat has plenty of space both indoors and outdoors with a large area at the front, at the back and plenty of space all round it to stand and see the whales and two indoor areas if you want to sit there. There is unlimited tea and coffee available throughout the day, cakes and biscuits in the morning and lunch is included in the price.
We were very fortunate the day we went on our Hervey Bay whale watching cruise and saw lots of humpback whales. They are very inquisitive and came to the boat to check us out and entertained us by rolling on their backs, splashing with their fins, bringing their heads out of the water to look at us and generally swimming around playfully. They are absolutely amazing animals. They are huge and beautiful and a lot of fun. The only disappointment in the day was that we didn’t see a breach, a whale jumping fully out of the water, but who can complain after such a fantastic day.
The captain and other two crew members on the trip were very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the whales which really added to the trip. They were able to tell us lots of information about the whales’ behaviour and the general age of the whales that we saw and they were just as excited as the rest of us when one whale came out of the water with its mouth fully opened. They said it was something they were lucky to see once or twice a season.
We got back to the harbour about 3.45pm and were dropped back at our apartment. All in all a fantastic day with an excellent company.
One whale watching Hervey Bay company which has a bit of novelty is Shayla Cruises who take you out to view the whales on a sailing catamaran. Their trip lasts for eight hours as they take longer to get out to where the humpback whales are but they offer small groups of no more than 25 and that you will be very close to the whales.