Whales are majestic creatures, cumbersome yet graceful; obvious yet mysterious to us humans. These gentle giants are worth watching and so from my own experience and from listening to local guides, I have come up with a descending list of 5 top tips for whale watchers.
5. Research Whales
For a more interesting whale watching experience, you could research some interesting quick facts on whales. For instance, are the Humpback whales endangered species? What are their lifecycle and migrating habits? How do whales communicate? Talk to your guide, ask questions or visit the museum to find out more information about the Whales that are sighted along the Australian coastline.
4. Check the Weather Forecast
Humpback whales migrate to the Queensland waters from June, where the majority remain until late September, before heading south again. This is typically a cool wintery season in South East Queensland. Winter in Queensland can bring sunny days and also cool, windy days. If you are out on the boat, a top tip is the lower the wind knots the calmer the boat ride.
In fact, one whale watching cruise that I booked was heavily discounted due to the fact that high wind knots were predicted the following day and yes, there were large swells and a few of the passengers became 'green around the gills'.
The further north you travel, the more predictable the daily weather forecast, just be aware of an increase in the humidity.
3. Be Prepared
Dress for climate, you may want to apply sunscreen, wear a hat and bring along a light jacket if going out on the boat. Other items you will need are binoculars and camera with wide zoom lens, and also prescribed travel/motion sickness medicine. At times, I have experienced motion sickness on a vessel, usually in less than ideal weather conditions and recommend that you also bring along a packet of ginger, as it worked for my tummy.
Queenslanders are spoilt for choice when it comes to great locations to view these monstrous marine creatures, the Humpback, whales, and the Blue whales. Below are some top locations for whale watching in QLD;
In these locations, you will find various tour operators with many itinerary options available. There is also visibility from the land, with sightings along the coastlines. Best to ask a local, for more information on great vantage points.
Don't forget to take a snapshot of the whale's tail and if you are quite the techie, you may even be able to record the tail waving goodbye. I recommend a DTLR camera with a wide lens and also a bit of patience. The whales may disappear for minutes at a time before spontaneously reappearing again, so be ready.
Whether or not you observe any of my top five tips today, I hope you have a whale of a time regardless.