Gentle Giants Holiday In Queensland

Minister for Tourism and Sport The Honourable Michael Healy

The whale watching season in Queensland is now officially open.

  • The humpback highway along Queensland’s coastline sees more than 40,000 whales pass through it, attracting 127,000 domestic visitors.
  • From June to November whale watching will contribute to Queensland’s $5 billion nature-based tourism sector.
  • The whale watching season in Queensland is now officially open with 40,000 gentle giants holidaying on Queensland’s coastline from June to November.

    Queensland’s east coast, also known as the humpback highway, is expected to attract more than 127,000 domestic visitors.

    Queensland has a high association as a destination with world-class nature and wildlife experiences with the nature-based travel market being valued at around $5 billion in 2019.

    Domestic visitors to Queensland who went whale or dolphin watching has grown by 35.9 per cent over the past year according to Tourism Research Australia data.

    These gentle giants have already been spotted off the coast of the Gold Coast, passing Stradbroke and Moreton Islands, the Sunshine and Fraser Coasts before heading further north to Bundaberg, the Whitsundays and Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef.

    Bookings are still available for a whale-watching experience all along Queensland’s coastline, including in Hervey Bay – the world’s whale-watching capital.

    The calm water sheltered by K’gari at Hervey Bay creates the perfect playground for humpback whales. From flipper slaps, blowhole spurts and full-body breaching – the whales put on a show to teach their young, often staying up to 20 days.

    As stated by Member for Hervey Bay Adrian Tantari:

    “It is great to see Hervey Bay again being chosen to kick off the Queensland 2024 Whale Watch season, with one of the best upfront and personal experiences to see these majestic mammals enjoying their migration break in the safe & calm waters of Hervey Bay.

    “We are renowned as the Whale Watch capital of Queensland and are still the best because of the pioneering work done by Brian and Jill Perry over 30 years ago and their legacy is Queensland’s gain.

    “With the whale watching season estimated to be worth more than $40 million to the region alone, and whale watch passengers reaching more than 55,000 in 2023, the industry brings an enormous economic benefit to the region.”

    As stated by Tourism Minister Michael Healy:

    “It’s that wonderful time of year when thousands of humpback whales migrate along the Queensland coast from Coolangatta to Cooktown.

    “We’ve officially kicked off the state’s whale watching season at the world’s first Whale Heritage Site of Hervey Bay.

    “We expect to see 40,000 whales on the humpback highway which is a drawcard for more than 127,000 domestic visitors.

    “You can book a whale watching experience all along Queensland’s coastline.

    “Don’t miss out on seeing this spectacular event.”

    As stated by Tourism and Events Queensland CEO, Patricia O’Callaghan

    “Nature is at the heart of Queensland’s tourism story and has always been a key driver of travel with nature-based tourism worth $5 billion to the state in 2019.

    “Whale and dolphin watching is growing in popularity in Queensland with an increase of 35.9 per cent over the past year and 5.2 million domestic visitors participating in a nature-based activity as part of their holiday to Queensland.

    “The humpback migration past Queensland’s coastline is nothing short of amazing and we have almost 800 deals currently on offer at, with dozens of packages including whale experiences, so book now and don’t miss out on this whale season.”

    As stated by Fraser Coast Tourism & Events CEO, Martin Simons

    “Whale watching has been synonymous with Hervey Bay and the Fraser Coast since Australia’s first commercial tours by boats began in 1989.

    “The region is considered Australia’s Whale Capital because the experience is vastly different, with the whales and boats stationary in the protected, calm waters of K’gari (formerly Fraser Island).

    “Thirty years of scientific study have shown that thousands of humpbacks break their 10,000km return migration journey from the Antarctic to the northern Tropics, by spending up to two weeks in Hervey Bay each year. The region became the first world’s first Whale Heritage Site in 2019, accredited by the London-based World Cetacean Alliance.

    “The industry currently injects about $40 million into the Fraser Coast economy each year.”


    /Public Release. View in full here.