Why you should visit the Hervey Bay Whale Festival

Written by: Cameron Ward

Published: 02/21/2020

Reading time: 3 mins

Experience an awe-inspiring, up-close whale watching encounter in Hervey Bay!

There is no better way to see both the blend of coastal towns and ocean wildlife than at Hervey Bay’s annual festival. A town nestled right along the coast, the community recognises the importance of the ocean to the town. Celebrating this unique relationship with a variety of activities designed to connect visitors and locals alike with the marine environment, most particularly with the main attraction of seeing the up-close whales near coastal shore.

About the Whales

The whales seen at this festival are the beloved Humpback Whales, with the name ‘humpback’ coming from the large arched hump the creatures make while coming to the water’s surface before making a deep dive back down. Measuring up to 12 to 16 metres in length, these whales are a similar size to a large school bus. What makes them truly unique is their hauntingly beautiful songs, which contain long howls, moans, and cries in the deep ocean, drifting across 5000 kilometres away.

Why they Migrate

Humpback whales can be found throughout the earth’s oceans, as they are seasonal travellers. Between July and November, the majority of the whales can be found along the ‘humpback highway’- an invisible ocean route which generations of humpbacks have been travelling on for thousands of years. The creatures use this path as a way to get to and from the colder waters of Antarctica. Heading to warmer regions to mate and birth their young, before heading back to feed in the colder regions. During this trek, the whales will stop and spend up to 10 days of resting in the calm, protected waters of Hervey Bay.

About the Festivals

The festival completely surrounds this resting period of the whales, with the festival kicking off on July 27 with a calendar of colourful events. Trek out to outer shoreline on a boat, kayak, or paddleboard to see the magnificent creatures socialising and playing around you! It is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience, as you can get up close and personal with the whales while enjoying the calm grace as of the waters. There is even a sacred Aloha Mai E chant during the event, to honour the nearby whales and their importance to the region. Afterwards, you can head back to the shore to join in on bustling festivities! Seeing live concerts, colourful parades, and plenty of informational presentations. Stroll through the region and taste the local seafood, ride the carnival rides and purchase some of the goodies on offer at the market stall!

Related article: The Coloured Sands of Fraser Island

Cameron Ward
Cameron Ward
Managing Director at Sightseeing Tours Australia

Cameron Ward turned his travel passion into a thriving Australian tourism business. Before he co-founded his own business, Sightseeing Tours Australia, he was enjoying being a Melbourne tour guide. Even now, Cameron delights in helping visitors from all around the world get the most out of their incredible Australian trip. You’ll see Cameron leading tours or writing about his favourite Australian places where he shares his local insights.

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