In 2014 I went on an eight week trip through New South Wales and Queensland with my family. We lived in our caravan, visiting one place after another, it was an amazing adventure. I will always remember one place in particular that we visited because it was home to my “best day ever,” well so far anyway! The place I’m speaking of is Hervey Bay, a town located 287km north of Brisbane. It wasn’t the food, weather or location that I liked the most (they were, of course, all very good as well) but instead the massive animals that were also visiting, just like us, except a little offshore.
I remember the day that I woke up and knew we were going whale watching, I was so pumped. I had been waiting the whole trip for this opportunity and the day had arrived. Once we were out on the water in a fairly big boat we approached the pod of Humpback whales. The boat had three levels, one was below deck with glass viewing windows, the other was the deck just above the water and the third one was the second story with great views across the water. I spent the next couple of hours racing from one deck to the other amazed by massive whales swimming around, surfacing and even breaching on a couple of occasions. You could watch them cruising through the water from the viewing windows which made you feel like you were swimming with them but my favourite way to see them was on the main deck, looking over the side of the boat. My favourite part of the “best day ever” was when I leant over the edge of the boat and tried to touch one of the massive animals. I was less than a meter away from the whale, it was like the world had stopped, the whale then sprayed me with its blow hole and ducked back into the water. At one point there were seven Humpback whales around the boat, just as interested in us as we were in them. That moment made me realise how awesome the world is.
After my previous experience with whales being such a success, I jumped at the opportunity to see more when Mum offered last week. Warrnambool is home to whales between June and September each year with female Southern Right Whales spending time in the bay out from Logans Beach to calve. Humpback whales also visit but aren’t able to be seen as close up because of the distance they are from shore. The difference from Hervey Bay to Warrnambool is that in Warrnambool you whale watch from land, not on a boat, which I don’t think is quite as fun but the whales still come reasonably close to shore, about 100m.
The Whales are a major tourist attraction at this time of year for Warrnambool with cars overflowing out of the carpark (you literally have to get in line for a park and wait for people to leave). Once you eventually reach the manufactured viewing area – which is a very impressive structure – you begin playing your own version of Where’s Wally but with whales. The good bit is it isn’t as hard with many whales in the bay at this time of year. Thankfully, just in case, whale watcher Peter was there with 15 years of experience at Logans Beach in Warrnambool to help spot them and inform you of their location. On the day we visited there were approximately eight Southern Right Whales and eight Humpback whales in the bay.
The whole time we were there we had something to look at with one whale in view while another disappeared for a while. One of the cutest things we saw was when one of the calves breached about six times, it seemed like it was showing off to its Mother. We took binoculars with us which I highly recommend if you’re going to go and appreciate them, as you can then see them close up and get a good look at what breath taking animals they are. I also recommend visiting Warrnambool to see the whales because it’s such a good day trip activity, especially if the weather’s nice. Have a whale of a time!